Only Dolly Parton could turn a story about getting attacked in the street and evicted from her apartment into a quirky tale of country girl goes to the big city. In an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Parton told her story about how New York City scared her off for many years when she and her friend were confused for prostitutes in the city’s red-light district in the late 60s.
The pair had just arrived in the city and went for a stroll on 42nd Street. “That’s where all the prostitutes run and they run in pairs ‘cause it was for safety,” Parton said. “And we looked like we might be them… ‘cause I still had the big hair, lookin’ trashy like I do. [Audience interrupts with laughter] No, I’m serious; it’s a true story. But this guy kept puttin’, you know, he’s trying to put the make on me and he’s just pushing me up against the wall and my friend was laughing because she’d never seen me mad and I was cussin’ him and everything… And so he wasn’t taking us serious and at that time we were just country girls and our daddies had given us both a gun when we left home. So I had a gun and I was so scared and I just threatened him. I said, ‘Look if you touch me one more time I’m gonna shoot you.’”
So they survived the attack in the street only to find that they were locked out of their apartment on suspicion of prostitution. Parton and her friend immediately left the city and understandably didn’t return for quite a while.
“I don’t have a gun now,” she added, “just have bodyguards.”