Private Conversations

I find it rude when people have speakerphone conversations in public places. I realize there’s technically no difference between someone talking to a friend via speakerphone at a coffee shop versus two friends sitting at said coffee shop and conversing across a table, but we can all agree they’re two distinct experiences—the speakerphone conversations always feel overly projected, and showy in a way in-person discussions don’t. Typically, public speakerphone conversations irritate me (yes, public Facetiming is far more egregious), but every now and then, they’re a wild, wild gift. 

I was recently at an undisclosed Asheville coffee shop trying to get some writing done when a woman at the table next to me decided to have an extremely loud speakerphone conversation. The first part of this conversation was very irritating and very Asheville. The friend on the other end of the phone had tried her hand, and failed, at making kombucha that morning—she was planning to model homemade feather earrings for an artisan friend’s website later that day. 

Then, the friend on broadcast started talking about her sugar daddies. Yup, plural.  

Her current sugar daddy was weird and not much of a talker, but Venmoed her $20.00 like clockwork every time they met (which seems…cheap?). An old sugar daddy, one she hadn’t heard from since “that internship,” had recently tried to reconnect. She was “clearly” hesitant, but he bought her several items off her Amazon wishlist, including “that bag I love” to show his sincerity, which seemed to be turning her. The friend being broadcast on speakerphone identified two additional sugar daddy candidates, but she didn’t go into enough detail for me to differentiate either from the first two.

I was no longer irritated. I was titillated. 

Maybe being titillated by this sugar daddy conversation is a bit immature, maybe even unsophisticated, especially since there’s something very honest about this young woman’s sugar-daddy endeavors—we like to look down on people that admit to taking material items for sex or companionship, but there’s a very real barter-like component to many “legitimate” relationships. Still, there are, unfortunately, very different connotations between, say, someone marrying a much wealthier partner and someone who’ll openly admit to transactional relationships. Titillation turned into respect for the girl next to me for not being ashamed or embarrassed for her friend, for her progressive acceptance. 

However, it seemed she was ashamed. Not for her friend, per se. She was a cool customer while her friend aired her well-sugared laundry for the masses but didn’t want anyone to know her own. Once the second her friend said, “well, how’s your daddy treating you?” the girl next to me realized it was rude to talk via speakerphone in public and switched the conversation to her earbuds, which she ended quickly in a very hushed, very private tone.

Editor’s Note: I wrote this a while back but then forgot to post it (whoops). The accompanying photo is a shot from my favorite coffee shop taken yesterday, but not necessarily the coffee shop where this incident occurred. #TheMoreYouKnow

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