Fifteen years ago, I’d regularly walk by the 8-foot bride to the right in Harvard Square. There’s normal, and there’s the other end of the spectrum: a silent woman dressed in white with white make-up just standing there with a box looking for money. Each time, I’m sure I made some, less-than-clever joke to my friends like, “If you are looking for a husband, you are doing it wrong!”
Flash-forward to this weekend. Someone in my Twitter feed (sorry I don’t remember who) had posted this Ted talk about the art of asking for money:
I love Ted talks… I always come away a little more knowledgeable than I was 15 minutes before. This was no exception. Give it a watch now… I’ll wait.
This Ted talk is from that 8 foot bride… and she happens to be the lead singer behind The Dresden Dolls. Most likely you’ve never heard of them, but 6 years after I passed her on the street, I fell in love with their uniquely-sounding, song Coin-Operated Boy:
It got a lot of play in Boston, but it never caught on nationally like I thought it should have. Nonetheless, who knew that the freak I made jokes about would go on to make awesome music?
I never understood the whole 8-foot-bride thing until she explained it in the video. It was a trade of cash for acknowledgement. You give the bride a dollar and get a flower and a stare back that says “Thank you, I see you.” For many lonely people, this can brighten up an entire day.
She’s taken this idea and multiplied exponentially in her music career. Palmer and her band will couch surf at fans houses as she builds those connections. I think she knows that she’ll never be Madonna-popular, but she doesn’t want that. She makes a very good living simply connecting with people on stage, after the concert, and through other publicity stunts.
In many ways that is what I do as a blogger. To the amazement of my fellow bloggers, I try to respond to every comment I get. It makes me sad when I see someone leave a comment saying, that they’ve been reading for years, but never left a comment. We can’t share a moment, if I can’t see you. If you have a question for me reach out and contact me… let’s connect.
Amanda Palmer, it may have taken me 15 years, but Thank you, I see you. Readers, every time that you interact with me, share an article on Twitter or Facebook, I just want to say, “Thank you, I see you.”