Friday, April 23, 2010

The Scarlet Letter, New York Style

I saw this dude standing in front of Madison Square Park today, wearing a giant handwritten sign that said, "I WAS VERBALLY ABUSIVE. I'M SORRY, MEGAN." He was a total Wall Street suit, about 30 years old, probably Ivy League educated, and had a grim look on his face.

I'm totally kicking myself for not snapping a picture of him with my camera phone. In fact, half a block later I had already reconstructed the conversation I would have had if I had pulled out my camera.

"No, bitch, you can't take my picture."

"You were verbally abusive. You don't get to choose."

"Don't take my picture."

"Whatever, douchebag. Say cheese!"

Instead, I tried not to make eye contact and kept walking. This Hispanic dude walking in front of me turned to his female companion and was like, "Hahahahaha! That guy's a fucking pussy!"

I told my friend about the suit with the sign, and she said, "I sort of like his girlfriend."

Then she thought about it and said, "His girlfriend sounds abusive too, for making him stand there with that sign."

Who can say how that numbnut ended up there on a Friday evening wearing that giant sign? Maybe his girlfriend forced him to do it. Maybe he decided to do it as a surprise for her, to prove how sorry he really is.

I've been in abusive relationships. Standing in Madison Square Park like Hester Prynne doesn't cure an abuser of his abusive behavior. It's just part of the cycle of violence.

He was probably like, "**!#$$!! YOU #!!**$$ MOTHER#@$$!@#@!! IF YOU EVER #@@$!!!** I'LL @#$@!!! YOUR $##@$$!***#@ #@**!! LIKE !@**#@@@#!! SO DON'T YOU EVER @@*&#&$%%!! AGAIN @!**#@@%#$!"

And in the next breath, after she stormed out and slammed the door, he probably pulled out the permanent market and poster board and started hatching a plan to win her back and prove that this time he's really sorry.

For a few seconds I felt embarrassed for him, that he was willing to humiliate himself to win back this Megan person. Then I hated him, for being so ignorant and lazy that he thought he all it took was a shallow stunt.

Changing abusive behaviors is a lifelong commitment to self-awareness, humility and personal improvement. Most people fail.

Certainly in my lifetime I will never stop being a hopeless procrastinator. And that is so much less complicated than the terror, insecurity and desperate need to control others that abusers contend with.

I hope Megan knows better. I hope Megan dumps his retarded ass. Even in New York, there are better men out there.

No comments: