Chick Wit: Judge Doorman
Manhattan doormen are famous for being completely discreet and non-judgmental.
Somebody just needs to tell mine that.
My doorman is totally judgmental. He's the most opinionated man I've ever met, and he never holds fire. He's a macho Dominican man who can throw drag queen levels of shade.
And I love him.
You know how everyone needs that friend who tells it to you straight? He's mine.
My girlfriends don't tell me the truth—they flatter me and build me up, and I love that about them. Female friendship is based upon voicing your fears and insecurities and having someone to go, "SHUT. UP. You are so perfect."
My doorman provides balance. He works the day shift, so he sees me first thing in the morning when I walk my dog. If I get less than eight hours of sleep or skip the mascara, I hear:
"You look tired, Princess."
And yes, he calls me 'Princess.' And 'mi corazón.' And 'my dear.'
These pet names help soften the blow when he says something brutally true like, "My dear, I don't see you in your gym clothes any more."
"I'm going at night!" I lied.
But the next morning, I got my butt to the gym. He keeps me accountable. And he was a great cheerleader last year when I was trying to shape up.
He also gives unsolicited fashion advice:
"I don't like that coat."
"I just bought this coat!" It was a camel-colored wrap-coat that I had splurged on after obsessing for a month, trying on six different versions of it in various stores, and texting dressing-room selfies to my mom and best friend.
He shrugged. "It's too big for you."
"It's oversized and slouchy, that's the look."
"You don't need to hide in a big coat. You lost weight since the summer."
Guilting me about the gym had paid off.
I still think my coat is chic and have defiantly worn it all autumn. But I'd be lying if I said I don't tie it a little tighter at the waist.
Sometimes I seek out his opinion. Last month, I bought a watch online for my best guy friend's thirtieth birthday. I was so excited when my doorman told me it had arrived, I opened it up right there in the lobby to show him.
"What do you think, pretty nice, huh?"
"Gold?" He furrowed his brow.
"Yeah, well, in color."
"I think silver is more masculine. But if he likes gold..."
I snatched it back. Luckily, when I presented the watch to my friend, he liked the gold. At least, I think he was telling me the truth.
When it comes to my love life, my doorman is the wise-cracking, over-protective father I never had. He sizes up every guy I bring by, and although my doorman is as inscrutable as the Sphinx to their faces, behind their backs, he gets catty.
When I dated a European: "Can he take you out in those tight pants?"
When I dated a quiet guy: "Does he talk?"
When I dated a short guy: "Pick on someone your own size!"
Despite my doorman's expertise in snap-judgment, he's surprisingly perceptive when it comes to the heavy stuff. When my last long-term relationship started to sour, he noticed it almost before I did.
"You alright? You don't seem happy. Make sure he makes you happy."
The morning after we broke up, when my eyes were puffy from crying, he glanced at me and shook his head. "Say the word, Princess, I'll kick his butt."
It made me laugh.
Because whether I agree with him all the time or not, it's nice to know that someone has your back.
My mom and my doorman are best buds—they're both funny, warm, and no-nonsense when it comes to keeping me safe. I often relay his one-liners to her over the phone.
When she came to visit shortly after my breakup, she had a private chat with him.
"You know," my mom said, leaning over the front desk, "I didn't think that last boyfriend was right for her, either."
She told me he replied only, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. I don't comment on the personal lives of our tenants."
© Francesca Serritella 2015