The No Donation Zone

A homeless guy asked me for money, so I flipped open my wallet and gave him the singles I knew I had left. On the next block, I saw a dude playing the drums and he gave me a look like, “Come on man, help me out,”  but I let him know I gave my money to the more conveniently placed homeless man. But at the same damn time–another eager dude started begging me to sign a petition about wolves. I was starting to feel harassed. Until I saw this fiiiine woman. Fine.

So I pivoted wolf-petition-boy to kick game to that fiine shorty, but then I realized, Wait. This is how she feels all the time. I’m her wolf-petition man AND guy asking for money, all in one.

Because if you’re a woman and some dude hits on you with Hey lemme get your number–or you’re a man and someone hits you with Hey, lemme get a dollar–it’s pretty similar because 

part–just part of you–thinks, “Shit! how do I get out of this?”

 And here’s the thing: I give money to people on the street. But I also cross the street when I see those people on the corner with iPads supporting a cause. Good for you, Doctors Without Borders, but try to make money without making me zigzag home like I’m avoiding MS-13.

And we feel that way even if we’re down for their cause: the environment, gay rights, food banks, whatever—it’s still just a little uncomfortable. And that’s because you know the only reason they’re talking to you is to get something out of you.

And, in a weird way, it makes you feel cheap. You feel less like a person and more like a walking resource to be exploited. Like that free Redbull truck. You don’t even care who’s driving it, just gimme the free shit

Women know how it feels, but men–we gotta use our imagination. What if people didn’t just ask you for money in the street? They asked you for it in coffee shops while you were figuring out the tip, they asked you for it in the gym while you were sweating to Sports Center and mastering the stair, they would even ask you for it while you were in Walgreens, in your dirty sweats, by the always-on-sale vitamins.

“Damn! Can I pick out my Dr. Scholl’s in peace!? I don’t know if I want arch support or Tri-Comfort yet! 

You would think but wouldn’t say. 

Because the guy hitting you up doesn’t read social cues. And If he’s going to make that move while you’re in the middle of feeling up inserts, he also doesn’t handle rejection well. So say something nice–but not too nice–and get back to your possibly accredited podiatrist.

And that guy’s not looking for a sole mate. 

I’ll stop.

OK, no I won’t.

People would start meaningful conversations with you and end them by asking for money. Friends you spent years with would reveal to you that they actually wanted money, and when you didn’t give it to them, boom, the friendship was over. They would always say something that came down to: I thought we had something special. I thought you’d be the one to give me money but you put me in the “no donation zone.” 

I don’t owe you anything! 

Again, you would think but wouldn’t say.

You become so good at picking up on when someone wants money from you that you can see them asking with their eyes. You catch people ogling your wallet daily. And then you become numb to it. It happens so much that you stop being friendly with people and stop making eye contact with them. They resent you for it; they’re like, “You don’t have to donate anything, but could you at least smile?”

But five motherfuckers a day have been asking you for money everywhere you go, every day since you were fifteen.  And sometimes, when you tried to turn them down nicely, they’d explode

 “I don’t even want your money! You broke anyway, bitch!”

That’s why you stopped smiling on the street.

So, I didn’t hit on that fiiiine woman or ask her for her number. But I did stop. And look at her, and said, “Hey can I have a dollar?”



Hey, I’m Sammy Anzer and I’m a stand-up comedian that’s appeared on and written for Kevin Hart’s LOL network, the web series “Comedians doing stuff in Denver” by Visit Denver and my IG is @BadboyAnzer. This is my first written essay and I’m glad it’s featured on the daily drunk.

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