Almost a Woman

There was a teenage girl there–in rehab.  She was sixteen.  Skinny,  pretty, save some acne. I recognized this chick immediately, even though she had all of the other women eating out of her hand almost at once.

All of the other women had children.  They were in rehab to get them back. The addiction is very strong, but the maternal instinct is also strong.  I think about half of them have a good shot at it. You should hear the sobs I heard at night while they looked at pictures of their kids.

(Coincidentally, there was a gambling addict there who reminded me a lot like my father, Franz.  He was an Ad Man in NYC for 27 years. The guy was friggin meticulous. Button-down shirt, trousers, bright blue socks.  He had perfect posture.  And he was smart…highly intelligent. I’m a sapiosexual)

“No offence, sir. I actually like you a lot.  However, I don’t take any risk with gamblers,” I said.

“IT’S GAMING!” he yelled.  No, guy.  My father was a gambling addict, from whence I inherited this addict gene. The fact that you use an euphamism to cover up this factiod–“gaming”–like it’s a playsport–speaks tons. I don’t touch gamblers. That shit is poison. It ruins lives.  Ask me how I know.

Anyway, getting back to the girl…

She was manipulative as heck.  And I didn’t really dislike her. I put on my professor hat almost at once: I’d respect her and give her space, but I never trusted her.

She was smart. She was not a a good liar, however.  Not yet.

She came off as “shy.”  There was nothing shy about her.  The shyness was a real head-scratcher.

She consulted me constantly about legalese. I hate to be a snob about it, but I was the most educated person in the room.  This kid ain’t no fool.

“Is it legal that my Mom sent me here?” she asked, coming into my doorway.

“Well, yes.  I’m not familiar with minor jurisprudence in this state, but I am pretty sure that until you’re 18, your Mom has legal custody of you.  You are her ward. Basically, you are her slave, unless you can prove you’re being abused. I wish that wasn’t so, because I do believe children have rights, but that’s how it is.

You get drunk at school and your Mom keeps a wine closet in the house.  This is exactly where you need to be.  Back out now while you can.  Trust me.  I’ve done the research.  I’ve been struggling with this most of my adult life.  You’re smart. Too smart to be an asshat.  Stop lying.  Go to college.  You know most of my students were almost your age, right?”

Know what she did…?

She ran out the front door 15 minutes later.  All of the alarms went off.

I want to protect her.  All of the other women were swarming around her the entire time she was there, because they felt guilty. They did not see what I saw.

I still have hope.

 

 

 

False Positive

I had to take a 5-panel urine test before I checked out of the inpatient rehab.

I wasn’t worried.  AT ALL.

I tested positive for Benzos.

“I’m on 10 mg of Lexapro and a multivitamin. I take both in the morning in front of the tech. Besides food, that is all I eat.”

“Don’t get upset and freak out,” she said.

“I’m not upset and I’m not freaking out.  There has to be a perfectly logical reason for this false positive.  You watch me when I take a leak. I am completely compliant and you know it. You shook down my luggage and all my clothes and I don’t know anyone in this town and I don’t have my phone and I’m certainly not ordering drugs. You know where I am, 24/7.”

I was chill.  I was serious as a heart attack.

Turns out, it was the Librium they gave me when I was admitted. It has a very long half-life.

Life Sucks. Back to the Loony Bin.

Well, readers, I’m not going to sugar-coat anything: I had a relapse in Thailand and couldn’t pull myself out of it. It was exactly how they told me a real relapse would be in rehab: you can control your drinking for a few weeks, and then it snowballs and everything goes to shit and you end up exactly where you bottomed out…or even lower.

I started sneaking booze out of the bar while he was at work. Part of me hates to  be drunk because I can’t do anything or think critically while I’m drunk.  At the same time, it kills all the feelings and seems to make life bearable until the shitstorm from the unavoidable consequences rains down. I’ve struggled with this so many years now that I should have known what would happen.

Actually, I knew.  The sense of impending doom.

I tried to quit drinking at least four hours before he came home, so I was always sober around him, but all of my physical symptoms came back almost immediately.  Hand tremors, nausea, insomnia.  Difficulty swallowing at the dinner table.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging.  I can’t write when I drink. I’ve been able to work and fly back and forth, but containing it so that I can have a degree of professionalism at work takes all my strength. I can’t even read, which is, like, my only solace in life besides my parrot.  All I can do it tweet stupid shit and schedule everything so that I’m not drunk around other people but also don’t go into withdrawal.  What a life.

The Collector noticed and I didn’t (couldn’t) deny it. I’m going back to rehab. Probably for 30 days.  Maybe longer.

I’m so tired of struggling with this. Rationally, I know that drinking distorts my thought process and makes me behave erratically. But I still do it, and when I’m in it, I can’t get out, especially when NOT doing it makes me violently ill.

On that note, it about 12 hours I expect to be ralphing foam (because there’s nothing in my GI tract) into a trash bin while a staff tech comes in to check my vitals.

Don’t let this happen to you, kids.  Don’t drink.  Don’t pick up.  I’m so ashamed of myself.

Abe is safe with an Avian vet boarder.  I made sure he will be okay.

 

Corner Time and Follow-Up to the Eye-Punch Confrontation

I’m sure my eight readers would much rather read stories about my job and the kinky clients I run in to at work, but my relationship with The Collector is so bizarre that I felt compelled to write about it again.

Sometimes I’m paranoid about whether he’s reading this.  He would recognize himself immediately.  I tell myself that he would confront me about it right away…but then I remind myself that he’s a crafty individual. A bit of a schemer, in fact, and the blog provides a way for him to spy on me and what I think about him and our relationship, especially things that I might not be sharing with him, or things that I might be doing when I’m working away from him.  If he’s reading it, and that is the way he feels, it is in his best interest to pretend he doesn’t know about it so that I keep writing it…or, at least, about him.

I was supposed to go to hypnotherapy that day and I was a little angry about it.  As you recall, we had a huge, ugly confrontation about this issue previously.

Know what that fight accomplished…?  Absolutely nothing.  The only difference is that now when I’m cranky about anything, he laughs and asks if he’s going to have to wear an eyepatch to work tomorrow.

“Frankly, I feel like a lot of what you’re asking me to do is drudge up bad memories I’ve forgotten about so that you can use them to manipulate me,” I said. “I think maybe I need a little time off.  This is getting intense.”

“You can’t take time off until you’re an expert with it, like any other skill.  You’ll lose momentum.”

“I don’t want to go today.”

He lowered his newspaper to look at me.

“You don’t pay for it.  This is an investment that I make in you.  Go stand in the corner and ruminate on your ungrateful attitude.”

Well, this is a new one, I thought to myself.

“I don’t want to go stand in the corner, either.”

“Fine.  Go kneel in the corner and stay there for a while.  You may use a cushion.”

“Collector, I’m not going to the corner!  It’s humiliating!”

“Of course it is.  That is the point,” he said,  from behind his paper.

“You are a fucking asshole,” I whispered (and, for the record, he often is, by any objective standard.  Doms often are.  What can I say?  That’s just the way the cookie crumbles in my life).

That finally got his attention.  The New York Times was lowered again.

“Are you sure?

“That’s the way you’re acting when I have a perfectly legitimate complaint, yes!”  However, I was already starting to get nervous.

“I guess I need to prove it, then.”  He folded the paper, put it down, and started to get up.  “And I have not even finished my morning coffee.”

Uh-oh, I thought, as he started to nonchalantly remove his belt.  In the right circumstances I find this simple masculine gesture very arousing, but this was not the right circumstance.

“Go bend over the table or your bed and don’t struggle.  It affects my aim.  Your arm looks so much better and I would hate to mark it up again before Friday.”  (We have An Event to go to on Friday and about a week ago I fell down wearing handcuffs and got a YUGE bruise on the inside of my elbow.  I’ve been telling people I fell down while cross-country skiing and hit a rock.)

“Don’t hit me with that!  I’m not ready!”

“What, is it going to eyepatch time?  Fine, go get ready for your hypnotherapy appointment like a good girl and you can stand in the corner while I eat dinner tonight so I can enjoy the view.  You are lucky I don’t do it now and get out the rice.”

And that, my friends, is exactly the way it went down.

I did fool him about one thing, though: since he told me in advance (what a screwup on his part) I was going to bed without supper, I stopped at the deli on the way home and wolfed down a sandwich.  I wasn’t very hungry at all that night.

Corner time, though, was as demoralizing as I’d feared it would be.

Seafood Pasta II

The Collector let me cry for a minute, and then retrieved me and led me by the hand to the sofa.  He left me there and came back with some Valium and a cup of milk.

I drank them down, even though I know I shouldn’t be screwing around with benzos, and then he held me for half an hour until they took effect.

“I took the protein off the fire.  It will not be as good, but it will still be good enough. I’ll boil new pasta so it will be fresh,” he said.

This made me feel guilty, like I ruined dinner, but also oddly grateful.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said.

“We can do anything.  Trust me.”

Let me tell you something I know from years in the sex industry and living life in general as a heterosexual female: any guy who tells you to trust him is probably a scammer.

But I got up, slightly drugged and significantly calmer, and returned to the table.

He served me a plate of seafood pasta in scampi sauce, lit the candles, and then had a seat on my right, at the head of the table.

We pretended as if it was ten years ago.  He asked me questions about my thesis and we talked politics, and he told me how wonderful and exciting it was going to be in New York, and how much he loved it there.

I can’t describe what I felt. I was under a mild Valium haze (God, I love that drug.  Anything that shuts down the emotions is right by me. If I could have my emotions removed like an appendix, I’d have that shit taken out surgically tomorrow).  It felt like my brain was being molested.

The food was delicious, but I didn’t have much of an appetite.

Then I started to get into the role, and perked up.

Hope, my friends, is the cruelest and most dangerous emotion.

I started to speak excitedly about my plans, and how this school was giving me a full-ride scholarship, and how confident that made me feel, and how much I wanted to contribute to society.

He reached out and grasped my hand.

“I am proud of you, and I give you my blessing.”

This is the way that it should have been, except that, obviously, it wasn’t.  My own father was too selfish to be happy about my success, minor as it was.  He only wanted to keep me to him in order to exploit me like some natural resource, like oil or coal.

I wonder to myself if he ever loved me, even though it doesn’t matter now.  He didn’t love me as I understand the meaning of the word.  One of the greatest lies in our society is that all parents love their children.  Newsflash: many don’t. However, children have a primordial psychological need to believe their parents love them, and I find it amazing that my devotion to him stood for so many years against all physical evidence that I was a toy, a meal ticket, a means to torture my mother, or an extension of himself.  I mean, what can you say about a sadist who abandoned his first daughter (my sister) in Germany and wouldn’t even cut a check for child support?

You want it to be true, so you make it true.

Now we are at dinner, as it should have been.  It’s a do-over. And I cannot decide whether it nurtured me or re-traumatized me.

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Seafood Pasta

I finally remembered the last meal I shared with my father.  That shit wasn’t easy to remember.  It was ten years ago and I buried it because it, like my father himself, was hurtful and repulsive.  My hypnotherapist and I had to do some serious excavating.

But we found it.

My father loved seafood, especially bouillabaisse.  Odd, for an inlander–nobody else in my family will eat a bite of fish or anything from the water–but his palate was comparatively cultivated.

I could not cook bouillabaisse, but I knew how to cook a seafood pasta dish.  The ingredients cost me $40 at a time when I was about to move across the continent and had less than a hundred bucks in my checking account.

I spent it because I wanted to make our meal together special.  Because I was going Away.

My father was furious with me for leaving him.  You know why: I was his meal ticket.

He pushed the plate aside and said that it was inedible, even though I’d cooked it just fine and it was the exact same dish he’d eaten with relish on previous occasions.  This is something about Franz Adler: he would find a way to insult every gift or kind gesture or sacrifice you made to him…it was never enough or there was always something wrong.

I told The Collector this memory, after I uncovered it.

“We will do it again.  Do you have any clothing from that period of your life?”

I considered.  “I have the same suit I wore to defend my thesis.  It was my best suit, my very best clothes.”

“Does it still fit you?”

“It does.”  It’s a size 4.  The pants are flare-leg, so it’s out of fashion now, but it really is a great suit.  Navy blue with pinstripes, English-style, satin lined, little pockets everywhere, excellent tailoring. It cost $600 at Macy’s in Union Square, San Francisco. I wore it with a nice translucent blouse with French cuffs and cufflinks.  I looked (and felt) like a boss.

“Wear it to dinner,” the Collector said. “I’ll call for you at 8 (pm).”

I took my best suit out of its plastic container and put it on, and then I sat on my bed and cried, thinking of how much time has gone by and how I never expected to be this way and what happened to me….?

I gathered myself up and refreshed my makeup so it didn’t look like I’d been crying and then walked out to the kitchen (adjacent to the dining room).

He had a pot boiling pasta and a steamer-skillet on the stove.  Delicious cooking smells in the air.  He was making mussels, clams, and prawns.

“Have a seat at the table, Margo! Dinner is almost ready. We are going to have a feast to celebrate your accomplishment.  I am so proud that you are going to get your doctorate.”

I sat down at the table, telling myself It’s okay it’s okay it’s just a game this is just a fantasy game

Then I started to cry.  Right there.  In my suit, at the table.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Puberty and Bra Shopping (shoot me now)

Content Warning: I know this is an extremely personal post and it deals with puberty and women’s menstruation, and if that offends you, don’t read it.  I had to write about it to purge the pain.

*                    *                               *                 *

One thing I will never understand about my mother is how angry she became when I entered puberty.

If I ever have a daughter, I will take her out to her favorite restaurant and buy her a brand-new outfit when she gets her period, and we’ll go bra-shopping together.  She’ll get ones for children and I’ll buy one for adult ladies, but she can see me in them, and know, from seeing me, that this is how adult women look, and how she will eventually look.  I will tell her how beautiful she is.

My mother was tight-lipped and furious when I started growing breasts, and I don’t know why.  Even my father, who was, by far, the worst parent, just accepted it and said “We can’t have naps together anymore. It is not appropriate.” Okay, I was sad, but I knew, on some level, that what he was saying was right.

She took me to Target and I felt so ashamed, like there was something wrong with me. Then she asked the retail lady to put some training bras on me.  The retail lady was more gentle with me than my mother.  She put on some soft cotton white bras without underwire.

Then, when I got my period a year later, I had to confess it to my mother, because I was stealing her sanitary napkins. I had to! I was 14!  I couldn’t buy my own! I didn’t get an allowance, I didn’t get anything!

She said exactly two things:

“I hope you haven’t been flushing them down the toilet.”

also

“This means you can get pregnant now.  I want you to know that I am not interested in raising another baby.”

I didn’t have a boyfriend! I never even kissed a boy! At that age, I was not even interested in boys!  I developed late! I was not out being boy-crazy and giving my parents problems about it!

Even my dad, Franz Adler, said, “Well, I bet those cramps suck. I know it hurts, Liebchen.  Let me go buy some Midol.  This is just a fact of life.”

It really says something when your sociopath gambling addict of a father goes to bat for you before your own mother, especially when this is a woman’s issue that should be taken care of by women in the family.

 

 

Rehab (II): Why Don’t You have a Child?

I can tell you one thing that got me into a ton of trouble when I was in rehab: arguing why I didn’t have a family.

Everyone there–and the group had approximately 25-30 people, always coming and going–had kids.  The only one who didn’t was a 17-year-old, and he had a baby on the way.

We’re all sitting in a circle in group therapy and it was my turn to talk and I started to cry a little bit, saying that I was concerned I might never have a child.

This Mexican guy sitting across from me raised his hand and asked, “But what if it just happened, and you got pregnant?  I mean, sometimes that happens.  It could be an accident.  That’s what happened with my kids, and I love them.”

I blew my nose into a tissue and exploded.

“I’d get an abortion!  I’d get an abortion so fast it would make your head spin!  Look at me!  I’m in rehab for alcoholism!  Do you think there is any room in my life now for an ‘ooops’ pregnancy?  I wouldn’t bring a child into this world unless I could give it a certain standard of living!”

I swear to God, every woman in the room cringed and looked down at her desk, and half the guys got upset, too.

The therapist, who was actually one of the more competent ones, said “Some people have very strong feelings about abortion.”

I was FUCKING FURIOUS.  I slammed my hand down on my desk.

“A third of the women in your life have had at least one, whether you know it or not. I haven’t needed one yet because of my religious use of birth control and Plan B. I admit I had blackout sex several times, but I always got Plan B and was tested for STIs. Do you think I would have a child without the means to give it a stable life, with the opportunity for a father?!”

The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  As Chekhov said, An angel of silence flew over the room.

None of the women talked to me that night in the dorm.  It really frustrated me and made me feel alienated and rejected.  I didn’t mean to be hurtful! Yeah, sorry I was responsible about procreating.  Sorry I never had a baby with a scumbag.  Sorry I coughed up $30/month for the Pill at Planned Parenthood and insisted on condoms when I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship.

I’m telling you: all of these women had kids, and most of them had at least one abortion. Two of them had four abortions (and she voted for Trump. Smooth move). I know because we discussed these things late at night before we went to bed.  I trust that they were being honest.

Do you know why…?  Part of it is, of course, the biological imperative.  The other part is psychological immaturity and the fact that addicts resort to desperate means to fuel their addictions, and, in the case of women, that means trading sex for drugs.  I’ve always been able to afford my booze, but that’s the cheapest drug out there unless you have good insurance and a Dr. Feelgood.

The cold was glacial, even though I wasn’t blaming anyone personally.  I mean, we’re all in this fucked-up rehab boat together.

 

 

 

 

 

I Chucked a High Heel

I wish to report that I hurled a shoe.

The morning started out great (is it just me, or does it seem like every blog post starts out the same way these days?).  The Collector was in an excellent mood, and when he’s in a good mood, he’s wonderful company.  He can be very funny and affectionate.  We were having a fun, sexy morning, frolicking around in his bedroom and laughing.

He told me to go put on my new satin negligee because he wanted to see me in it.  It’s very pretty, a cream color with beading and lace around the bustline and the hem.  I guess it’s a nightgown, but it’s also lingerie.

Every boyfriend I’ve ever had likes to play dress-up with me.  On one hand it’s objectifying, but on the other hand, if it’s done it the right context, it’s very validating and makes me feel beautiful.

He was lying on the bed watching me while I giggled and preened.  When he turns the full force of his attention on you, it’s like standing in the sunshine (or a storm, I guess, if it’s disapproving).

“Put on your heels.  I want to see how your legs look when you wear them,” he said.

I only had two pairs in the bedroom.  “Red or nude?”

“Nude.”

I stepped into them.  For the record–and you’d never believe it, because of my job–I am not so very good at The Heels.  After 3″ I get very clumsy, and, unless shoes are important to a client’s session, I prefer to be barefooted or in flat boots, because I have to move quickly and nothing says “domme fail” like a face-plant.  I’m a huge fan of Dansko lesbian heels, and I don’t care if men don’t like it.

So there I am teetering around.  Things are happy.  Everything is good.

“Go get us some water and fruit out of the refrigerator and come back,” he said.  “I want to have a little fashion show.”

I left the bedroom and sauntered down the hallway, laughing, with a little spring in my step.  I was going to get tied up and laid and he was being adorable.

Well, the hallway opens up into the dining room, and, beyond that, the kitchen.

Guess who was in the dining room?!?!

His kids! Both of them!

I had no idea they were there!  Nobody told me they were coming!  Their flight arrived in the middle of the night when I was asleep!  I found out later that Mantis (short for Preying Mantis) came in to do a college tour of a local university. The TV was not on; there was no music playing.  They were not talking; there were no voices. I had no idea they were there!  Their bedrooms are on the other side of the house!

They were sitting at the table eating some leftovers and playing on their phones.  Including Mantis, eating the steak I was saving, that little jerkola.

I froze in my tracks and we just stood there, staring at each other.

What do you do…?  What do you do in that situation…?

There was no way in hell I was going to walk by them to get to the fridge!  Forget it!  Not okay!

“I’m sorry,” I squeaked. “I didn’t know you were here.”

Then I turned around and beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom.

“Where’s the water?” he asked when I stormed in.

I took off my high heel and chucked it at him.  I have never chucked a shoe, reader.  I have never chucked a shoe in my life.

“You did that ON PURPOSE!” I yelled.

He held up his arm to defend himself against the high-heeled projectory and started laughing.

“Relax!  I’m sure they did not mind!  You look beautiful!”

“Of course they mind!  It’s gross!’

He rolled out of bed and landed on his feet, all one smooth maneuver.  He did gymnastics in college.

“Do I need to give you a spanking to put you back in your place?” he asked, still smiling.

“Mood is dead!  Sorry, but you killed it!”  I said.  What I didn’t say was Want to see me change?  I’ll change INTO SOME JEANS!

That is exactly what I did.

The Collector found the entire thing hilarious and asked me to go on the campus tour with them, but I figured it was Mantis’s special day and he didn’t need me to intrude, so it wouldn’t be right to attend without his specific invitation.

Neither boy said anything to be about the incident, but I still felt very self-conscious and ashamed about the fact that they saw me in my underwear.

Why would The Collector do that…?  I guess he was bragging.

Valentine’s Day: The First Date

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! (I actually hate this stupid holiday, but if it inspires guys to give you flowers and candy–which it never has in MY personal experience–maybe it’s not so bad.)

It was a year ago today that I had the first non-professional date with the Collector, and my first Valentine’s Day date in YEARS…for some reason, I am always single during this stupid holiday.

He called me the day before and said that he was in Los Angeles for business, and he’d like to visit me before he flew back to NYC.

I said, “Sure, let me know when your flight gets in, and I’ll run down to the airport and pick you up and we can visit.”

This put me under pressure, because now I had a houseguest coming at practically the last minute, and I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to entertain unless my apartment is spotless.  I’m not the cleanest person, but I’d rate myself a 7/10 and I hire a professional cleaner to take care of the grunge I can’t be bothered with once a week.  In any event, I can’t be comfortable with a guest if my hamper is out of the closet and there’s even dirty dishes in the sink or Abe debris on the floor!

So, the next morning, I’m waiting for the Collector’s call, scrubbing the dishes, and I hear a knock on the door!

I thought for sure it was UPS with a package from Amazon.  I ran downstairs to answer it.

Well, you know who it was, readers: it was the Collector.  He was carrying shopping bags and a bunch of roses.

I was mortified. I was sweating and my hair was a mess and I was wearing yellow rubber cleaning gloves.

(He had my address because he’d sent me presents in the mail before.  He just took a plane in and got a taxi to get to my apartment, without telling me.)

I was taken aback by being ambushed like that, and apologized for my disheveled appearance.

He assured me that it was fine.  “Finish your chore,” he said.

I returned to my dishes while he walked around my apartment.  My apartment has a window in the wall that allows me to see into my bedroom from the kitchen.

I saw him open up my closet and touch my clothes. I saw him bend over and peek underneath my bed, and look in my jewelry box.

I didn’t say anything, just like I didn’t say anything with the Surgeon would go through my handbag or makeup bags.

I know what the Collector was looking for: evidence of a man and/or cohabitation.

Fortunately–or unfortunately, depending on your perspective–I was completely single in my personal life.  Heinrich dumped my ass over the sex work issue.

I finished the dishes and said that I needed to jump in the shower.

“If you want to go to your hotel, I can pack an overnight bag with my BDSM gear and be there in about an hour,” I said.

“I don’t have a hotel.”

“Well, I can recommend a few.  They’re not anything as fancy as you can find in New York, but some of them are modern and pretty comfortable.”

“I was hoping I would just spend the night at your home, here.”

Well, okay.  Wasn’t expecting that, but okay.

It did put additional pressure on me, however: now I had to entertain an overnight guest as a hostess, and I’d made no plans to do so.

I took a shower and saw him rifling through my medicine cabinet. Later, we had to talk about the Naltrexone and Antabuse.

I got dressed and put on makeup while I schemed about where to take him in my little crappy city.

I decided to take him out to the desert.  He’s traveled the world, but never really seen a desert.

I drove him out about an hour and a half in my Camry and then pulled over and took my guns (open and unloaded, of course) out from the backseat, along with hearing protection.

I taught him how to shoot.  He’s a European; had never handled a gun in his life.  The only thing he knew about it was from watching old cowboy movies, where you place the barrel over your forearm to steady it while you shoot!

We used my .22 bolt-action rifle and my .32 S&W revolver.  That’s all you need, really.  I enjoy shooting, but I’m not a gun nut, and, in my opinion, if you can’t hit something in six shots, you don’t deserve to have the fucking firearm.

We had fun and he was enjoying himself (he wasn’t half bad for a novice, either) and I suggested we go back to an indoor shooting range in town.

“Just telling you: you’re going to get some looks,” I said.

“How do you mean?”

“The way you’re dressed…and you do not look like the people from here.  The people at the gun range do not look like you.”

Which is true.  Most of the white people in this area are Northern European/Scots-Irish mutts, but they do not look or speak like the Collector.  In New York, he’s not particularly exotic.  In my home town, it’s different.

We went to the indoor range and rented a few different guns to try out.  And, yes, he got some looks.  I saw one guy spit on the floor when he knew I was looking.  Let me tell you something about dating older men: it pisses a lot of people off, for reasons I cannot discern because it’s been the historical standard for thousands of years.

(I told my old analyst about this date in our last phone session together.  She told me, “Margo, get those guns out of the house you share with him as soon as possible.”)

Then I asked him what he’d like to eat for dinner.  I was nervous because he has a very cultivated palate and my town has mostly shitty food.  I mean, there are a few notable exceptions, but fine dining is basically considered to be The Olive Garden.

“Do you have a butcher?  I can make dinner,” he said.

We do, indeed, have excellent butchers.  People around here hunt and kill a lot of game.

I drove us to the butcher and he purchased some excellent steaks, and then we went to Whole Foods for some expensive vegetables and cooking supplies.

“You only have one cooking pan?!

“It’s all I need!” I responded.

Back at my apartment, he cooked us dinner, commenting that he could not believe how I managed to cook meals in such a tiny space. Probably why I live on Special-K and meal-replacement shakes and the odd pizza. His kitchen is ginormous.

(For the record, he did not make me feel the slightest bit judged or uncomfortable for living in an attic apartment in an old Victorian house.  Believe me: a lot of rich people would have.)

“Open your presents!” he said, before dinner was served.

It was a cocktail dress and a bunch of super-pretty pink lacy lingerie. I hadn’t had a man buy me lingerie in a long time, so it felt special to get to play dress-up in my private life and not just for clients (which doesn’t count).   I ate dinner, which was, of course, delicious, in a pale pink corset and matching thigh-highs.   While I was wearing handcuffs…which was a bit of a trick (they were clasped in front).  I just have a little wooden table with two chairs, because I don’t have guests very often.

Then he fucked me so energetically that he broke my flimsy Ikea bed.  After it collapsed, we had to move the mattress onto my floor and re-assemble the bedframe later, which was a humorous but loving joke; a way to round out the evening.

He left me some money on my desk before he left in the morning.  I didn’t ask for it.  It was a gift.  But, of course, I did appreciate it.