On a sunny afternoon, the Wurst had a chance to interview that guy — no, not that one, the other one — who hangs out on Rue de Strasbourg and stares at you.
Tell us a little about what you do.
Basically, I hang out on Rue de Strasbourg and stare at women all day. If it’s cold, sometimes I’ll go into a dark bar and watch women through the window, but when the weather is nice I prefer to be outside. Sometimes I’ll walk over to the Gare and stand near the entrance and do my staring there, but I avoid that place if I can. Too many strange people! The same for Avenue de la Gare.
How long have you been doing this?
Oh, between 10 to 15 years. It’s hard to say. Being a guy who spends his entire day standing on a sidewalk, drinking beer, and looking at women is not something you get into overnight. Most of us start slowly, only doing it in the evenings and then gradually working our way up to full-time.
What do you like about your job?
I feel that I add a lot of character to the neighborhood. If you go to Cents or Belair, you basically see no men hanging out on the street and looking at women. Women can just walk around and be totally ignored. It must be very boring for them. Who’s going to tell them to smile? How are they supposed to know if they have a nice butt?
What’s hard about your job?
It can be really boring, from around nine in the morning till 11, for instance. Sometimes the only women who cross my path are old grandmothers going out to buy potatoes or get their hair done. Still, I make an effort to stare at them. It’s not polite to only stare at younger women.
Tell us something funny that happened to you while you were staring at women.
One time I told a woman that she had great legs. “Please don’t touch me,” she said. I was like, uh, why would I touch you? I’m not a pervert.
What do you do when you’re not on the street making women feel uncomfortable?
Sometimes I’ll hang out in the foyer of my apartment building and stare at women who come or go. Or I’ll stare at women in the beer aisle at the supermarket. Basically I’m happy to stare at women anywhere. I also like reading poetry. At the moment I’m really into Rilke. I feel we have a lot in common. He liked looking at words, and I like looking at women.
Do women ever stare back at you?
Not often, but one time there was a woman who looked right into my eyes. It made me feel very threatened, to be honest. I almost called the police. I felt totally violated.
What would you tell someone who wants to get into this line of work?
It’s not always fun, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes, after 10 or 12 beers, you can barely stand, let alone whisper vulgarities as a 25-year-old woman walks by, clutching a rosary and praying that you won’t bite her ankles. If you get called into this line of work, you’ve got to be dedicated. Also, it doesn’t pay well. Well, actually it doesn’t pay at all.