Romanian beggar on track to become a great entrepreneur

Riding the New York subway, one tends to become somewhat inured to human misery. On any given day, the average subway rider will be subjected to several loud requests for money, complaints about social services, veiled threats of violence, and tear-filled cries for mercy. While I am not a naturally hard-hearted man, I soon had to learn to put on my stone face when I dealt with beggars. To put it bluntly, even if I only gave each one a quarter, I would soon be bankrupt. Beyond that, I started getting a little irritated. After all, I was working for eight hours a day, so why couldn't they?

On the other hand, there is one group that I will always give money to: the buskers. Many days, my train ride is punctuated with Mariachi music, stand-up comedy, magic acts, feats of gymnastic skill, homeless doo-wop groups, and other entertainments that make the trip a lot shorter. My wife and I have developed a basic rule: if a beggar makes our ride home a little more enjoyable, he or she gets whatever we can spare. In the end, this seems like a fair trade.
With this in mind, I was particularly interested in the story of a busker in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The beggar, who has been described as "a well-dressed, attractive, student-like young woman," performs a strip tease and pole dance act on commuter trains. Her music of choice is Tom Jones' "You Can Leave Your Hat On," which she plays on a portable boom box. The Bucharest police have announced their plans to charge her with indecent exposure and begging, but have been unable to capture her, as she only performs on trains that aren't equipped with cameras or guards.

I'm sure that some people could use this situation as a springboard for a complex analysis of the downtrodden role of women in western society, but I have to admit that I'm pretty impressed. This young woman has figured out a way to carve a decent living for herself in a tough market. I'd gladly follow her lead, but I'm pretty sure that people would pay me to put my clothes back on!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He worked as an artist's model for a few years. Some blindness was subsequently reported.
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