Hanging out with the girls. It was 2 AM, so you know we weren’t discussing international politics.
My friend was discussing the impending awkward Christmas dinner with her boyfriend’s conservative family members. I expressed my sympathy.
“Would you knowingly have sex with a Republican?” she asked.
“I’m so lonely and frustrated these days I’d probably fuck any man to the Left of Joseph Goebbels if he sent me a text promising to be at my apartment in 10 minutes. But seriously? Probably not. I found out that the Surgeon gave thousands of dollars to John McCain and almost had a rage-stroke. It was gross.”
And that reminds me of a funny story!
A few years ago I attended an academic conference–the biggest annual conference in my discipline. Everyone in the field was there.
Now, I don’t want to give it away…but my field is old liberal white dudes. It just is. The reading list for my comprehensive exams had exactly one book by a female author on it. It’s starting to change–my programs had plenty of female students–but the field is dominated by men. Liberal men. Democrats.
Well, after a long day of attending research presentations and panel discussions, I got together with my colleagues and we did what grad students often do: we got smashed (there was a moment of sheer terror when I was approached by my Dean at the hotel bar while I was drunk. I hated the man, but I also worked for him, and he controlled the purse strings and my fellowship assistance. I did not want to be drunk around him. Speak as little as possible, I told myself, just shut the fuck up! I got through it okay).
Then I did what I often did when I was a kool Swingle (swinging single, get it?) and not the sexually frustrated old lady I am today: I picked up a man at the hotel bar.
A young man, about 30. Handsome for an academic. Especially an academic in my field. That is actually what I thought when I met him: this guy is handsome, for being one of us. Because people in my field are generally ugly motherfuckers. We just are. We are not as ugly as the poor jerks in the Philosophy department, but we are ugly, and we are dorks. Ph.D. programs are never known for being populated by kool kats–it’s never been cool to be smart–but my field are bigtime nerds.
So…cute guy…let’s call him “Liam.” He said that he was a freshly minted Ph.D. and on the tenure track at Penn State. Penn State is a good school in my field. I was impressed. Quite a Young Turk here, I thought.
We launched into conversation easily (I wasn’t too drunk to be able to have a good discussion. The fact that I can remember it all so clearly is testament to that. You may not get it if you’re not in the habit of drinking yourself into obliteration). We must have talked shop for a few hours, and I noticed something else about him: he was a bit smooth. Not slick like my main squeeze the Surgeon–Liam wasn’t going to pull off giving a phone interview to the New York Times while getting his dick sucked by yours truly (hard to tell who gave the bigger blowjob: the reporter or me)–but, you know, he was a little smooth.
A little smooth for an academic. Especially an academic in my field. Nerds are not smooth.
He knew a lot of stuff in the field. Like I said, we were talking shop for hours. He knew (of) the profs in my Department. He inquired about them. He knew all about the profs at Penn State.
It was almost midnight. I checked out with my colleagues, one of whom, my Canadian Friend who often leaves comments on this blog, were monitoring my progress across the bar.
Time to seal the deal.
“Want to show me your most recent publication?” I asked.
Oh yeah. Talk nerdy to me, baby.
He immediately settled up with the barkeep and we took the elevator up to his hotel room, in which he had the hard copy of the scholarly journal in which he’d recently published a piece of peer-reviewed research and also joined the staff as an assistant guest editor.
I did not get around to critiquing his analyses. Or even reading it. I did see it, however.
Liam was kinky as hell. He was a masochist. I’m not going to get too explicit, but I will report that I ended up beating him with the power cord to the hotel clothing iron and tying his dick up with the phone cord. It was an academic conference, so I didn’t have any of my gear, you know?
We finished up and made a date to get together again the following evening, after we finished attending our meetings and research presentations….
I went back to my hotel room and crashed.
The next morning, I fired up the Internet and decided to do a little research on Liam. It wasn’t a Google-stalk…nothing inappropriate. I was actually just going to look up his CV on his Department’s website so that I could learn more about his research interests and be better prepared to discuss them with him over dinner. I was also going to read one of his articles and check out his quant skills.
I went to his Department’s website at Penn State…
(can you see where I’m going with this…?)
…..I couldn’t find him.
A tenure-tracked professor, not listed by name anywhere on the Department webpage?
Weird. Very weird. And the website was good and looked freshly-updated, as well.
His CV and mini-bio should be there.
Weird. So fucking weird.
I started to dig.
I couldn’t find hide nor hair of this guy. No trace.
Then I remembered: the name of the peer-reviewed journal I’d seen in his hotel room last night!
I went to its website and searched for an article by “Liam.”
No article. What the fuck?
I could access the entire journal through my university’s database. I opened up first few pages and found a statement by the Editor in Chief…an introduction.
In the introduction, the Editor in Chief welcomed the new assistant guest editor “Mike Fascist CheatingMcLiarPants.”
I Googled this stranger, Mike Fascist CheatingMcLiarPants.
And you KNOW what came up. You KNOW what came up. Gentle reader, I know that you know what I found.
His name was not Liam. It was Mike. And like most competent liars, he mixed lies with the truth: he really was at Penn State…but not in the Department he told me that he was in.
He was at the Law School. Which explains the fact that he didn’t seem like an academic supernerd. There are plenty of smart kids in law schools, but they are not like the Ph.D. kids. They are a breed apart, like the med students.
Fascinated, I continued to Google.
He was married. With a tiny kid.
Google. Google google. I have to tell you, I was not even mad. I had no emotional investment in this person. It wasn’t like with the Mathematician. I was actually giggling and texting my friend all the updates as I learned more about Mike. I wasn’t upset…I just felt like I was the victim of an epic practical joke. And it seemed weird to me. Weird, but funny. Like something out of a movie. I wasn’t angry. Besides lying to me, Liam/Mike’s treatment of me was perfectly decent.
Google. Google google.
I found a video of him. An interview that he gave on his local television station.
I clicked it.
It was an interview in which he defended Extraordinary Rendition and the invasion of Iraq and waterboarding AND GITMO.
My arms broke out in gooseflesh. I called my colleague down the hall and told him the Awful Truth.
“I basically just fucked Alberto Gonzales!” I wailed.
Oh, the shame. I don’t think that I’ll ever get over it.
I found the man’s politics much, much more troubling than his marital status (and for the record, he did NOT wear a ring or mention his family in any way). I’m not sure what that suggests about my moral character.
I cancelled our date, even though he wasn’t half bad in the sack. I just couldn’t do it. He voted for Bush. Twice. Gitmo? Gitmo? Really? Do you know what a shithole that place is? Even the soldiers can’t stand it there!
And that is the story of my hookup with Mike, aka Alberto Gonzales Jr.