Location - 17th and M, National Geographic side
Weather - 90 degrees/90% humidity
Characters - gentleman in his early-60s/myself
Costuming - his: Savile Row quality navy pinstripe suit, French cuffed, spread-collared light blue dress shirt, matte silk burgundy with gold and navy fleur-de-lis patterned tie, solid silk burgundy pocket square and seamless chestnut wingtips; mine: high-waisted black pencil skirt, wide black belt, tucked-in sleeveless silk-jersey v-neck shell with deep scoopneck back and gunmetal matte-satin peeptoes.
(tap on the shoulder from behind)
(turning to my left and slipping off my headphones) "Yes?"
"Miss, you're perspiring."
"Excu...what?" I asked, genuinely unsure of what he had said due to the fact I still had my music - "Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani - at full-volume.
(pulling out his pocket square) "You're perspiring -- on your back, you're perspiring."
Taking my half-bemused half-shocked open-mouthed expression as sure-go-ahead permission, the man, who looked like a cross between a character out of a Guy Richie film and JR from "Dallas," took his kerchief and proceeded to gently whisk away the beads of sweat off my exposed back and shoulders. There was no awkwardness or glint of I-know-I'm-crossing-the-line guilt in his blue-gray eyes. He wiped me down as if the gesture were as commonplace as a mother wiping dried ice cream crust of her child's chin. When he completed his task, he simply replaced the cloth to his suit, assured me the rest of me looked "just fine," nonchalantly crossed 17th St., turned left and entered AEI.
No creepy post-wipe sniff, no initiated flirtatious banter (the "fine" he used was clearly the ambivalent kind of "fine," not the you-lookin'-fine "fine") , no feeble attempt to exchange cards, no over-the-shoulder lookback -- no nothing.
And I just stood there, let an entirely new 24 second countdown expire, and wondered to myself if I'd just encountered the last truly chivalrous man in DC or perhaps the most lecherous.