Update May 04 7 AM
Let me wrap up what happened yesterday.
I couldn’t get personal with him on the phone because I was feeling sort of stunned that this was actually happening, and because I had no privacy–there were probably a half-dozen other people around, including Frau Farbissina.
The conversation was very brief. I got zero useful information out of him. He acted very friendly, like nothing was the matter. I wanted to ask: what the hell do you think you’re doing, tracking me down here…? Cause you know, I never told him I was working at the Studio.
But then I got confused and second-guessed myself. Well, you are at work. When you are at work, people pay you to provide services. He wants to pay you for your work. That is perfectly normal. Perfectly normal!
The other part of my brain shrieks: there is nothing normal about this situation.
Confused part: is it possible that I misjudged this man and the emotional tone of our previous interaction? Because it felt really personal. You knew he was fascinated. You knew he wanted to have a personal relationship with you. Were you wrong? Did you make that up? Maybe you were all wrong, and it wasn’t personal at all for him. Maybe all of that was a projection. Maybe he just wants to hire a pro for a service, just to kick out the jams. Like trying a new hairdresser!
Other part of my brain: Margo, you ain’t no hairdresser and this behavior is dangerous and inappropriate.
Confused part: men get crushes on you! Happens all the time! Students! Their dads! Random guys you meet in here!
Other part of my brain: Yes, but that doesn’t freak you out.
I retreated to the locker room, concentrating furiously. Confused! Confused!
I have to get out of this. How? Frau Farbissina will skin me alive.
Well, wait–fuck it. I do not owe her, or the studio, an explanation. I’m not on a salary. I make them money and cost them nothing. In fact, if you count the random chores I do, and all of the training I give new girls, they benefit from my presence even when business is dead.
What’ll you tell him? Something brief, face-saving, and impersonal: I’m retiring. If pressed, proffer the fictive boyfriend.
* * * *
This morning I went to the gym and then to my favorite agnostic AA meeting. I couldn’t go out to lunch with the others afterward because I had to run uptown to cover the day shift at the Studio.
I was in back drawing on the liquid eyeliner when the manager called for me. I thought I was going to get yelled at because she SOMEHOW failed to read that I changed my schedule today (I cut my shifts by more than 50% and the management doesn’t like it), but she wanted to tell me that some new guy booked a three-hour appointment with me. Outside.
“Three hours?” Three hours is a long time. I’ve been hired for two hours before, and one time a person wanted me to attend the opera with him, but three hours outside is pretty unusual. I’ve heard of inebriated rich men coming in at 1 AM who stay until the sun comes up, but I’ve had very little personal experience with them–only the most acute financial distress can compel me to work nights. “What does he want to do for three hours? Did he say?”
“He asked for you specifically. He wants you for a masochist. I confirmed that you do that.”
“Oh wait, hold on,” I said, alarmed. Why was I volunteered to do God-Knows-What for God-Knows-Who? What did this entail? “You know that I am very, very selective about doing that professionally. We don’t even know this guy. I haven’t interviewed him. I haven’t said that I’d do anything.”
Frau Farbissina appeared in the doorway. “What you theenk? You theenk you gonna cost zees place six hundred bucks? After you cut all your hours? People calling for you, I say you hardly coming in. Makes me look like asshole!”
“But I haven’t even talked to him yet. I don’t even know what he wants. Where the hell does he want me to go, anyway?”
“Ask heem! He on the phone right now!”
“He’s on the phone right now?“
“I didn’t theenk you dumb blonde! Yes, he iz on phone! Go talk!”
I picked up the phone. “Hello, this is Miss Margo.”
“At last! You know, you’re a very difficult woman to get ahold of. I hope that everything is all right with you.”
“Uhh, who am I speaking with?” But I knew, gentle reader. I remembered the voice. I knew, but I was still surprised. Taken aback, actually. I’ve been prepared for the Surgeon to pull a stunt like this–he’s done it before–but at least he was, like, my quasi-boyfriend (because that makes inappropriate and harassing boundaries violations okay, right?).
“You don’t remember? I thought I left more of an impression on you.”
Oh, yes. He left an impression on me, all right. All sorts of impressions.
(Will finish this later; I gotta run)