A Kinky Difference

Kinky Boots, musicalI didn’t mean to, but I made a grown man cry.

A huge hulking man who wore high-heeled boots.

It all happened on a sunny Sunday in front of a restaurant on a busy Boston cobblestoned street.

I suppose I should start at the beginning. My guy and I treated ourselves to tickets to see the musical Kinky Boots.

The show was funny and sad, mind-opening and edgy, danceable and singable. Based on a true story, Kinky Boots follows a young man who wants to keep his father’s struggling shoe factory alive. When the business almost fails, Lola, a drag queen, comes up with the idea to create ladies’ shoes for men. Soon, the factory is turning out “kinky boots.” The scheme is eccentric and a bit crazy, and these two extremely different men have to work together to turn loss into success.

I think what struck me the most was the agility and talent of the actors, some of themKinky Boots, high-heeled boots, musical extremely large men, dancing in stiletto-heeled boots. A close-to-impossible feat (all pun intended).

The audience got up on their feet at the end of show, stamping and laughing and clapping – the mood was that uplifted and uplifting. As we all exited through the lobby, some of those dancers greeted us with smiles and thanks for attending. One actor must have been about 6 foot 6 inches tall, 250 pounds plus, and yet he stood in stiletto boots giving out high fives and a few dance steps.

backdeckMy guy and I stopped at a local corner restaurant for a quick summer supper, and I couldn’t stop exclaiming about the play. So when we left the restaurant and I spied that same large actor passing by, I did something quite uncharacteristic for me.

I ran up to him and yelled out, “You’re fantastic!”

He turned around, towering over me (in his sneakers) and presented me with a humongous hug.

“You saw the matinee?” he asked.

“Incredible. Did you feel it? Did you feel the love emanating from the audience?” I answered enthusiastically.

And then, not sure why, I blurted out, “You have made a difference to all of us fortunate enough to watch you dance and sing.”

The man burst into tears.

I stood there in the warm late-afternoon Boston sun, flabbergasted. My God, what did I say wrong?

“My mom lives in the west coast and is very ill. All of my siblings are with her. I wanted to come too, but she said to me, ‘You stay with the show. You are making a difference.’ ”

Goosebumps crept up my arms and legs. I just channeled his mom!

The actor thanked me over and over again, and then he left for the theater to prepare for the evening performance.

I bet he made a difference that night, too.

making a difference, dancing, Kinky Boots

101 thoughts on “A Kinky Difference

  1. We all need to be reminded of our impact on one another! There is a reason we do what we do, hard as it is – as easy as it seems, I’m so glad you shared your experience with him, and surely he is as well!

  2. Pamela, I have goosebumps reading this. You made a difference during his troubled times by stopping to talk to him. I’ve seen the film of Kinky Boots and loved it, the reaction of the factory initially is classic but they then embraced their new project. I can just try and imagine how terrific the show must be.

    • I’ll tell you, Jill, that dancing man made me feel special. He beamed like the sun while I talked about the show and how great it was. I guess it made me realize that not that many people come up to actors and dancers and let them know how their performance affects the audience.

  3. It is so nice that you told him how you flet. So many miss those opportunities. I am sure you made a huge difference to him as well. A great story.

    • I’ll never forget how shocked I was as the words shot out of my mouth, Darlene! Believe it or not, generally I’m a pretty shy person. I’m so glad I let ” my inhibitions go free.” 😏

  4. Most of the time you never really know the effect your interaction with a stranger may have on them. How wonderful for him to have spoken to you that day and how wonderful and fortunate for you.

  5. Love this story. I guess that the sometimes the only way for change to take place is one person at a time. I’m pretty sure your big hearted dancer made other people think hard about life. You are to be congratulated for speaking up and blessing the man, who was struggling with his decision to stay.

    • I think we don’t realize what a difference just one person can make. I think we stay quiet sometimes thinking it won’t matter if we speak up. I certainly learned my lesson this day!

  6. Pam, this is utterly magnificent. I am glad you were able to speak out and channel the Universe (or his mom). Tears in this reader’s eyes… By the way, one of my friends has a son who dated one of the fellows in Kinky Boots. No kidding!

    • No kidding! Just another example of how connected we all are within the universe. Much less then 7° of separation. I think you and I are tuned in to the same channel, Kathy. 💞

    • Thanks- it was pretty cool, and there wa a slight ‘tunnel sound’ around us when it happened. I know, you can hear the Twilight music in the background now-do do do do do do do….

  7. Pam, this is such a beautiful story, and yes, I do believe you were channeling his mother. I think I will go see this show the next time there is a touring company in Raleigh or Durham. Bless you!

  8. Another person might have smiled on seeing him and not said anything. You’ve made a big difference to this fellow and helped take away some of the guilt he must feel for not being by his mother’s side. It turned out that your enthusiasm and praise was exactly what he needed – a confirmation that his mother was right in telling him to stay with the show. What a “funny” world. We don’t always know how little things we say and do affect others. I bet you’re glad you spoke up.

    • That’s my new challenge for myself – speak up and give praise where it’s due! Today I was standing in line at the post office and a woman came in, looked at me and exclaimed, ” wow that color looks great on you!” I had no idea who the woman was, but she sure made me feel great the rest of the day.

  9. It is never wrong to use kind and gentle words, especially to people that have touched you. I am sure this actor felt quilty for not being with his mom and your kind words validated his decision not to go.

  10. What a lovely story Pam. Sometimes we forget that actors are actually human too.

    Reminded me of a few years back. Me and a friend went to a quite brilliant play in the Everyman Theatre, Cork. Afterwards, thoroughly mesmerised, we went to a nearby pub for a drink. Next thing the whole cast of four marched in and stood beside us at the bar, ordering up pints just like any other customers. Surreal moment.

    • A surreal moment and I bet it felt pretty special too. I do think sometimes we put actors either on a pedestal or on a different planet, forgetting that they are just like us. ( Except they’re exceptionally talented in the arts!)

    • Sometimes when walking down a busy street, I look at each person and wonder what they’re going through, what’s going on in their lives. Interesting how just a kind word can open up the dam.

  11. I am fairly liberal with the written word, able to spill exactly what I’m feeling at any given moment with ease. However, I am more reserved with my spoken voice. Those thoughts shared with another person face to face don’t always escape from my lips. And this story reminds me in a very poignant, yet enlightening way, how incredibly powerful words are, both written and spoken.

    I’ve thought so many positive things inside and have chosen at times not to vocalize them, thinking that they would be insignificant and wouldn’t make a difference. Your story, Pamela, has inspired me to change those ways. Write (and speak) what you feel inside. It could make all the difference in someone’s world, and I’m so appreciative that you did the same. Thank you 🙂

    • I’m so glad that my ‘Kinky’ experience inspired you, Dave. It inspired me too! I agree, we’re kind of taught to keep happy and joyful thoughts to ourselves. Isn’t that strange?

  12. I love this, Pam. I think every act of kindness makes a difference. Sometimes it’s small and sometimes it’s huge. Sometimes we see it and sometimes we don’t. I’m so glad you followed your enthusiasm and made a difference. And you’re right that what you did will ripple outward to others you don’t even know. Wonderful 😀

  13. Beautiful, Pam. Absolutely share your sentiments. I remember seeing this show on one of the marquees downtown, but I missed it. Will catch it next time for sure! 🙂

  14. This is soooo beautiful Pam – heart warming and soul stirring. Yet another reminder that fun, the arts, performance etc…all these ‘luxuries’ and ‘frivolities’…they matter, they make a difference. LOVE this post, and love that you went for it and channeled that man’s mum 😉 No doubt you made his day, nay – his year! Love and hugs, Harula xxx

  15. Great story! You just never know how your words can inspire and touch the heart of others. So glad you both had that experience. BTW…saw it on Broadway and it was a fun show.

  16. okay, now I have to see the play. not only did you channel is mom, but you channeled your own intuitive self turning you into one humongous love bug. Would that the factions in the nations could be as kind and generous and loving. way to go Pam.

    • I want to follow my own example more often! I’m usually pretty shy around people I don’t know – perhaps we all need to open up more. Once we do, we’ll find out that no one is really a ‘stranger.’ xo

  17. So often we hesitate to say what we feel. Often out of shyness or not wanting to bother someone. Your story reminds us that expressing ourselves can so often make a big difference in someone’s day. Beautiful and touching!

    • How do we know if we’re invading someone’s “space” by approaching him or her, or if we’re saying something that they need/want to hear? Always a dilemma, but I’m learning that it’s better to speak out.💚

  18. So delightful that you obeyed the urge to do something uncharacteristic before you could stop and think it through. I bet many people don’t approach actors because they don’t want to be a nuisance, well, anyway, that would be my line of reasoning. Thanks for setting an inspiring example!

  19. What a gift you gave him (and he gave you)! I think all of us ever really wants to do with our lives is to feel as if what we’ve done matters to someone. You sure made a difference in his life!

    • This is so true, Lorna. We need to know as human beings and human spirits that we connect with each other and make a difference in the lives of others. Isn’t it neat that this is something we all need?

      • At our core, we are social creatures and we crave connections. That’s why I am so frustrated with all this violence and hatred. We are fundamentally alike–we all want and need the same things, so why are we always fearing each other?

  20. Oh my, I just got over here to read this and it’s a fantastic story. At first, I thought it was short fiction, because it was almost too good to be true! I’m not a shy person, but I’ve rarely approached someone like that when I’ve seen them in person. I just don’t know what to say, but it sounds like the Universe knew exactly what it wanted you to say that day. I’m so glad you took the opportunity to thank him. This is a wonderfully moving story. Thanks for sharing it.

  21. Aahh…..that was a very touching life giving moment Pamela!! It just goes to show we should all ‘say’ more of what we think to others especially when it comes to compliments. It’s shocking how much of those complimentary thoughts we keep to ourselves. Honestly, the world would be a different place if all did that everyday! You made his day, and possibly his year…well done for stepping out and being different! 🙂
    Good to hear you enjoyed that musical too. I’ve only ever seen the film – I found it fascinating and very funny too. It’s visited the theatre in the city where I live more than once as a musical, but I never thought to go and see it. I shall have to keep and eye out for it’s return! 🙂

  22. I loved the way you told this, Pamela! It was amazing how you spoke up and helped him to know his impact on those watching. I am happy you were the open conduit of his mother’s message. That story made my night. Hugs for your having the impulse. . . ❤ You made a difference too.
    By the way, I still recommend the movie, the acting is superb. It is based on a true story of a real company, just in case others dropping by didn't know. 🙂 xo

  23. Love, love, love this! I missed reading it last week when I was out of town. Thank goodness I saw it today. We are hard-wired for connection, and these small outbursts of kindness and love can forge a connection beyond our wildest dreams. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  24. OH WOW!! What a sweet thing you did Pamela!!! We should NEVER..EVER let an opportunity to say an encouraging word to someone go by! I’m so happy you said something to him because it was a confirmation he obviously needed. Thank you for being sensitive to that and just letting the wonderful words fly from your lips!! YOU ROCK!~ ❤

    • You know what? I still get goosebumps when I remember how much he needed to hear those words. I was just a conduit, somehow, and am totally grateful for that opportunity. xo

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