A Shameful Memory

I’m going to write about something that I did wrongly years ago. I’m sure that it will sound like a minor thing, but I have never forgotten it, and every time I think of it, I’m ashamed of what I did.

I can confidently say that I would not do it today.

I was in my early 20s, and flying into the airport in Oakland. The airline had open seating.  I was late, and running to the gate with my luggage and gear bag.

I boarded the plane and saw an empty seat right in the front, where I like to sit, next to a young man who had to be a teenager or about my age…

…who had a malformed face.

Something was very wrong with his nose. It was very enlarged, red, and bulbous, and the skin was red and bumpy. He also had a cleft palate.

Otherwise, and I remember him clearly, he was well built and well dressed.  White guy in jeans and a button-down striped shirt, brown hair.

We made eye contact.  He saw me looking at the seat.  It was one of two seats left on the airplane.

I recoiled–mentally, but not visibly, I hope.  But, my choice said it all: I ran to the back of the airplane and took the last seat. By the toilet.

I have never forgiven myself for that. This poor guy has been rejected by girls, and probably by society at large, his whole life, and he sees a pretty girl get on the airplane, and she would rather take the last seat by the smelly crapper than sit by him?

He was the only one who sat alone on that flight. I imagine he’s sat alone his whole life. I cannot imagine why he hadn’t had a Recon-Plastics surgeon even partially fix his face. Then again, maybe they had, and it used to be worse. Or maybe he came from some awful country in Europe like Maldova.  Not that our health care system, especially before Obamacare, was stellar.

I would not do the same thing today. I do believe it is instinctual to recoil from deformity, because our brains are hard-wired to be pattern-seekers, and when we see something that is not typical, it shocks us.

Mature, humane people know how to process it and treat the other person with common respect.  Also, how to not be a “savior” and presume they can’t do things by themselves, especially making a big show of it in public. Infantalizing them.

One thing sex work has taught me is how to empathize with people. I’ve had clients in wheelchairs, clients on crutches, amputees, deaf clients, clients on SSI who saved up to see me.  Clients in wheelchairs. Clients who were mentally disabled.

Much worse: clients who were psychopaths.

I cannot forget how I rejected that man in the airplane. I know readers will think this blog post is trivial, but, to me, it’s not.

Men and Their Weird Penis Obsession (My Personal Experience)

I thought long and hard before blogging about him.  I’ve been considering it for years, in fact. It’s a very private matter, and I don’t know if it’s appropriate to write about it online.

But, it’s been years, and there is no way he is reading this blog. Time has moved on.  Also, the story is very funny.

Allow me to preface this: I have never met a man who was not obsessed with his penis. Every man I’ve ever been with has been preoccupied with his cock. At work, I have been paid to humiliate men over their penises (or, alternately, to praise them).  I have been paid to watch men masturbate…FOR AN HOUR.

I myself, in contrast, do not think about my vagina unless I am using it in sex or masturbation or it has a yeast infection or UTI. Contemplation of it takes up very little thought in my brain.

That said, let me tell you the story of a boyfriend who was COMPLETELY NEUROTIC about his junk.

He was (is) otherwise a highly intelligent, accomplished man in a rarefied field. I wish I could tell you how we met, but that would be TMI. Cute–slightly overweight, but cute. Also, only three years older than myself.  I am almost never attracted to men in my age range.

I was still in grad school, and very impressed with how he did his job.

I asked him out via email.  The rest is history.  I can seduce any man who isn’t committed to his significant other. It’s part of my job. Also, men are easy.

He was also a very kind man. He never said a cross word to me, except to express anger at my being late a few times and worry about the fact I could imbibe a swimming pool of cocktails and still function, walking around.

I could have married this man, but we didn’t quite “click.”  Still, I cared about him very much.  He was also newly divorced–only one year out–and he was still in  a lot of pain.

SO, getting back to the moral of the story, I go to use the bathroom early in the relationship, and found Enzyte laying out on top of the toilet tank.

Okay, weird.

My primary concern was that a man with a huge brain who had a top-flight education could believe Enzyte could make his dick larger. If big-dick pills actually worked, every man would be huge. Every rational person knows it’s snake oil, just like big breast cream in the past.

Here’s the thing: there was nothing wrong with this man’s penis.  There was nothing for him to be insecure about. It was bigger than average–not enormous, but bigger than average–and it always worked right. Not that I discriminate against men with ED. I’ve dated them, happily.

Then, a few months into our 6-month romance, he starts to ask me about whether I’ve had lovers with bigger penises, and if I liked the sexual experience better.

“Your dick is bigger than average. If it was larger, it would make me sore,” I said.

“But how many have been larger?”

I became exasperated. “I am not going to catalog all of the penises I have seen. Yours is great. What’s the problem?”

He asked this over and over again.

A month later: “I became paranoid my wife was watching porn, and saw bigger cocks than mine.”

I wanted to bury my head under the pillow.

“If she’s watching porn, all she wants to do is get off in three minutes and turn it off. She’s not comparing your penis. She’s not even thinking of that! Jeez!”

She would not have married you if she found you inadequate!

THEN–here’s the kicker–I was sleeping over at his apartment and he had to wake up early to go to work.  I kept sleeping under the covers.

A few hours later I received a phone call. He asked me to get something important for his work out of a gray bag in the closet, and bring it to him, a few blocks away where he worked.

I obliged, of course. Always happy to help.

I opened his closet, and there were three grey bags.

I swear to God, I was not snooping.

I pulled out the first grey bag and opened …

…a penis pump.  I recognized it because I saw it in this movie:

I am not making fun of him. I never do that, unless a person is a complete asshole. I just didn’t understand.

I put the penis pump back in the bag.  I never said a word. I rummaged in the others until I found the tool he was looking for.

I was still dating the Surgeon, which ultimately caused the demise of the relationship.

My First Teaching Experience

I have the writing bug again, and insomnia.

This post is going to be boring, but the tale must be told.

Let me tell you about the first time I taught. I’ll never forget it.

I was 24 years old, and teaching American History and Culture. I had a scholarship–I’ve always been a scholarship kid–and teaching was my obligation, and my aspiration. My dream job has always been to be a teacher.

I was dirt poor and living in a very tiny studio in a house the neighbors called “The Crack Shack” because it was so run down. I did not have a suit or a blouse and skirt to teach in. I could not afford to buy luxuries. My stipend (which I was very grateful for) was $900 a month.

I had a very conservative black cocktail dress. It came up to my throat and went down to my knees. It was the best I could do.

It was sleeveless, and form-fitting. I was also wearing short heels and a pearl necklace my mother gave me. My hair was in a French Twist.

I cannot tell you how many hours I spent obsessing over the syllabus and my lecture.

When I came into the classroom I had a complete panic attack. Speaking in front of an audience? I thought I was confident, but what the hell?

(I can do it now, no problem, but it was a shocker to me then!)

I started to write my name on the board. Administration had assigned me an old-fashioned classroom with a green board and chalk. No smart classroom for me! Not even a piece of WWII technology like the overhead projector!

This is the funny part: I started trembling. It was precisely how one of my professors said when I consulted her about teaching: once the adrenaline hits your system, you’re done. Nothing you can do but wait it out.

,My handwriting was shaky, bended, and started to shrink. “Instructor Margo Adler” reduced to tiny letters.

I saw two football players giving me the old up-and-down as I stood there, writing. God, I can’t completely blame them because men can’t help themselves, but I felt very exposed and they turned out to be awful students anyway.

It did not help that this was the worst group of students I’ve ever had. I’m not blaming them, but I’m serious. There was one guy in there who happily talked about the material, because he actually read it. The rest were mute.

Well, not totally mute: one gave me a really shitty evaluation at the end of the semester: “Miss Margo is a very poor communicator,” among other poor observations.  She was pissed that I gave her a B-, and I was being generous.  She deserved a C.  “I need to get into law school and this doesn’t look good on my transcript!” Yeah, sorry, your analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper was wrong. In order to be a lawyer, you have to write well.

And I know it’s not just me, because my next class loved my ass (I had two classes, back to back). I stabilized in the Teacher’s Lounge and got some advice from the professors.

What they said boiled down to: “Wait until you stop trembling. They’re not going to bite you. You know what you’re talking about.  You’re the one in charge!”

I went in there with an attitude: These kids are not going to intimidate me!

You have to go in with an aura of loving authority.

This relates to my prodomme work.

Give them credit for participation in class discussion. Discern the shy ones who know the readings from the ones who don’t talk because they didn’t study. Any effort should be rewarded. Not saying someone who doesn’t comprehend the material should get at A, but if they work, they deserve credit.

Slackers can forget it. I have failed several plagiarizers. I go absolutely batshit over plagiarizers. Paraphrase is a fine art. You can’t just steal someone else’s work.

Half the teenage scholars I flunked would have gotten a pass if they just put quotation marks around what they stole.  That and a citation, and you’re golden.  I have written hundreds of essays, and when I was lazy and under a deadline, I would jack a whole paragraph just to take up page space. Very poor scholarship, but at least it was honest and true.

That is my first teaching experience.

 

About Hobbyists

Let’s talk about “Hobbyists.”

Hobbyists, for those who don’t know, are men who frequent sex workers and then review and gossip about them online.

They usually hang out on a website called The Erotic Review, but there are other sites–I think one is called ECCIE.

Unfortunately, I have reviews of The Erotic Review. The reviews are all positive, except for one guy who was pissed that I fired him (I’ll get to that in a moment).

The bad news is that the reviews make the Hobbyists know about me and make a booking.

I have NEVER met a Hobbyist who was not a douchebag. Sad, but true. Every one has bargained with me, tried to get free time, tried to get me to dine for free with them at mediocre restaurants, bragged about their reviews (a veiled threat that they would post a bad review about me), etc…

The worst of the lot was a man in NYC whom I saw when I was working as a proSub.  He is one of the reasons I do not work as a proSub today (that, and the Collector would kill me).

I was brand new to working as an independent, meaning working outside of a dungeon, which is why I put up with him for five sessions. Today, I would fire him after one.

First, he complained that I asked for the money up front.  I absolutely deplore having to ask for the money.  An honest client leaves it on a counter without saying a word the minute he walks in, or you visit him.

“It ruins the romance!” he said.  Yes, this is so romantic.  Did I mention he was fat, old, bald, and plain?

Second session: brags that he’s written “almost 100 reviews” on The Erotic Review, and wants to write one about me. Is angry when I tell him I have a no-review policy.

Third session: wants me to dine with him for free at a cheap Korean BBQ place. I really needed the money from the session, so I agreed, and endured two hours of dinner. At least, to his credit, he bought me two cocktails.

(I will eat with a client for free if they are an established regular who supports me.  I will eat a burger with a guy who helps pay my rent. I will also eat for free with a client who wants to take me to a super fine-dining restaurant like Per Se.  Today, I will NOT eat for free with an internet rando who wants to get a pizza. Or cheap Korean BBQ.  Sorry, not sorry, my social date rates apply!  $100 for dinner!)

Later that night, while I was nude except for a thong and tied to the coffee table, he said, “This no-penetration thing isn’t going to work for me.”

I said in my ads–I was very explicit–“No sex. Fetish, fantasy, roleplay only.  I do not get fully nude.”  I posted these ads in BDSM and FETISH categories of the sex worker ad malls, NOT the escorting sections. I was very clear.  

“Uhh…I said no sex,” I said, trying not to freak out, in my tied up vulnerable state.

“How about a dildo or butt plug?”

Oh my God, I thought.

“NO!  Don’t make me scream!”

He backed off.

I cannot believe I went back to that guy.  $350, I needed it.

Next session, incredibly, I allowed him to blindfold me.  Then I got freaked out and asked him to take the blindfold off when I felt something silky and warm on my cheek.

He took it off and, what do you know, there is his penis in my face, begging for a blowjob.

Henceforth, with my dungeon friends (better believe I was telling them all about him) he was known as “Mr. Wang-on-the-face.”

“I said no sex!”

“A blowjob isn’t sex!” he reasoned. Like he was Bill Clinton or something.

Everyone knows the vast majority of fetish workers don’t offer sex. Maybe a few give handjobs.  You can find fetish-friendly escorts, but that’s another category of sex work.

“Don’t touch me with that!”

He zipped it up.

The final, last time, I just couldn’t take it, and I was mildly drunk when I got there. I endured another mediocre dinner for free, and, of course, had to make conversation and flirt.  I got to the room and unpacked some of my session gear.  Then I panicked and made an excuse to run to the bathroom.

There, I took out an airplane-sized bottle of flavored vodka from my handbag and sucked it down.

I started to undress, and then changed my mind.

I bolted from the bathroom, picked up my gear bag, and ran out.  The only thing I said was, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this.  I can’t trust you.”

The next day I realized I’d left approximately $300 worth of fetish gear in his hotel room.

I emailed him to ask for it back.  He said he’d return it if I came to his hotel room so that “we could talk about what happened.”

I politely asked if he would just put it into a box or a bag and leave it at the front desk for Margo to collect.

I did not want to talk to him ever again (I did not say that).

He said no, he would return it if he could see me.

Thanks for not returning MY STUFF that I PURCHASED that is important for MY BUSINESS to me, asshole!

I abandoned my property rather than see him again.

Then, of course, the review, which said, to paraphrase: “Beautiful but very unprofessional.  She left the session without an explanation.  Buyer beware.”

Oh, did I mention I hadn’t been paid?  It’s not like I ran out with his money! 

Buyer beware?  What am I, a faulty coffee maker? Nobody BUYS me. They buy my service and expertise.

Yeah, Mr. Wang-in-the-face, enjoy my $80 vibrator, leather cuffs, bondage rope, and metal-handled turquoise suede flogger that matched my corset, which I can’t replace.

Sadly, this man is typical of guys hanging out of Hobbyists.  Many sex workers concur.  I’ve never had one treat me well.

 

When They Won’t Let You Up (BDSM Nightmares)

Let us discuss one of the worst things that can happen to you when you’re being submissive:

You’re tied up and the guy won’t let you go when you safe out and ask for it.

It’s happened to me twice.  Which, given my significant experience with about two dozen tops, says a lot.

Both times were terrifying.

The first, and by far the worst, was with my restraining-order Ex, John. It was December in Lake Tahoe and there was a foot of new snow on the ground; more coming down every minute. It was the middle of the night. I could not have gotten out of that house without snowshoes.  Even if I called the cops, they would not have been able to come. There was no auto traffic that night.

He started being a rude, abusive jerk, ignoring my limits, during the session. I was dressed in a fishnet body stocking with my arms locked behind me.

I safed out and asked him to let me go. I wasn’t a shrieking basket case, either (not that it would matter if I WAS a shrieking basket case). I called it off and expressed myself in very clear words.

The guy would. not. let me go.

“Why did you agree to do (this thing) and then renege?”

I kept repeating, “Let me up. Let me up.”

I kept thinking, I am going to get raped and I cannot get away from this man, even on foot. This is going to happen.

He kept asking me why I “reneged.”

He tortured me for about an hour.  I was terrified, but holding my composure. Eventually, he did release me.

I ran to one of the spare bedrooms and locked the door behind me.  He proceeded to pound on it, yelling that he never should have let me up until I was “broken.”  Yeah, I’m not making that up.

He broke the door down.

The next morning, I had to endure shoveling the driveway with him in order to get a ride home.  He had snow tires.

I broke up with him once I was in my apartment. We stayed broken up for 5 months.

Eventually, due to his relentless efforts, I took him back.  And I stayed.

I stayed for five more years.

My Horrific Fast Food Experience (Communist Revolution Now)

My Twitter tweet:

“Should I write a blog post about working at Long John Silver’s for a year and a half for $5.15/hour? The worst job I’ve ever had in my life? My gratitude for not working there ever again? #Thanksgiving”

Well, the response from my 8 readers was positive, so I’ll do my best.

I got hired at Long John Silver’s after a 3-month job search. I was 16, and expected to earn my keep. Old enough to work, you’ve got to work.

So, of course, I applied to all the retail places at the mall. Then it was fast food. Fast food is bottom of the labor hierarchy. Let’s not kid ourselves.

Jack in the Box did not hire me. I had no labor experience. Neither did Burger King. A man who had a huge crush on me when I was in High School, who later went on to serve as a tank crewman in Iraq and came home to be an air-conditioner machine repair man, who eventually committed Selvmord, said “I work at Long John Silver’s. I can help you get a job there.”

I went in for the interview. They made me watch multiple videos telling me I would be fired and prosecuted for anything if I stole anything from them.  As if Long John Silver’s had anything to steal, besides, maybe, the purse of money at the end of the night. It really says something when your employer openly says he expects you to be a thief.

It was $5.15/hour.  I considered myself lucky, because at that time it was $4.25/hour.

Let me tell you, good reader, what I had to do: I had to constantly stock ice, clean the dining room, empty garbage that weighs 30 lbs, scrub everything down, clean pubes out of the male toilet, restock the freezer with “key lime pies,” deal with an aggressive Mexican fry-cook who wanted to “date” me, and, again, deal with a person on the drive-thru.

For $40 a day after taxes.

I remember, vividly, coming home and collapsing in bed. My healthy teenaged body would ache. My clothes would reek like oil.  My feet would hurt. My back would hurt.

I will suck dick for money before I go back to that. As long as the guy isn’t a scary piece of shit, it’s not remotely comparable.

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

 

Don’t Play Priest With My Little Pony (II)

(Continued from Part I)

The priest–let’s call him “Father John”–is the only priest I’ve ever met in my life whom I wouldn’t want to hit in the face with a brick.  Only the most conservative Tridantine Mass Catholics hated him.  He was generally adored by the community, and even the Irish nuns, who were considerably more conservative (and less educated) thought of him as some Ultimate Authority.  Because isn’t that what a priest is…?

Father John was an Irish-American from back East…let’s say, Boston. He was a functioning alcoholic and a chain-smoker.  Blue-eyed, stocky, tall, always red-faced, hair probably strawberry blond in his youth.  He had three spaniel dogs he loved, and took them into our classes and hung photos of them on his office wall.  It was well known (though never formally acknowledged) that he had a decades-long relationship with his housekeeper (he had a private residence, unlike the nuns).  I walked in on them, whilst running errands, watching TV together or dining at the table together several times.  Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, then or now.  People need love and he was a grown man with needs that must be met.  I just hope he kept paying her for her cleaning services and didn’t take her for granted–and he was such a good guy, I’m sure he did, and more.  Her kid from a previous relationship got into the school on a “scholarship.”  I think that’s great.  If he can’t marry her or publicly acknowledge her, at least he can support her and give her kid free education, right?

Father John was a total Vatican II guy and sympathetic to Liberation Theology.  He read lots of books and TIME magazine before TIME became the lowbrow piece of shit that it is today.  He was educated.  Compared to the nuns he supervised, this man was a tenured prof at MIT.

He was the only priest in town who would give my mother confession and the Eucharist.  Technically, it’s forbidden, because she is divorced, and also had unapproved marriages with non-Catholics. The Church was very, very hard on divorce when I was a young child (and before that).  But if you can’t confess and get the Eucharist, you can’t get into heaven (let that sink in for a moment).  If a priest doesn’t give it to you, you go to hell.  Another reason why I hate these assholes.

Father John would take her confession and give her penance and say it was up to God to judge her when the time came.

Father John also fired (“transferred”) a priest who was arrested for aggressively protesting outside of a clinic that provided abortions. The Church was batshit-insane over the abortion issue when I was growing up.  The priest was arrested, after several protests, for putting his hands on a woman walking in.  He spent the night in jail. It was on the news. The Catholic zealots thought he was a hero.  Father John gave him his walking papers at once and forbade the nuns to discuss abortion with us.  Being a head priest of a parish, he was BIG AUTHORITY DAD, so the nuns did whatever he said.

I had my first Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) with him when I was in 2nd grade.  He could not have been more gentle.  He had his white collar and black priest clothes on, and photos of the Pope and his spaniels all over the wall, and he was smoking, as always.   He sat behind his desk, far away, and even though I was nervous, he didn’t terrorize me at all.

The nuns had trained us to do this Sacrament for months.  I knew the words: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession. I accuse myself of the following sins.”

“Go on, when you are ready,” he said.

I confessed to saying swear words (not a sin unless you say the Lord’s name in vain), being mean to my little brother when we fought over a toy, and being angry and resentful at my mother.  I also confessed that I “stole food” from my father’s pantry.  He jealously guarded the food and I was not allowed to eat without his permission.   It was Alberto Beef Jerky from a can.

“You took food from the pantry? Did you take it at night? Were you hungry?”  He sat up straight, cigarette forgotten.

“I’m not allowed to steal food.  It is the family food, and not mine,” I said.

He started smoking again.  I think he was ruminating on it.

Then, it was time for the Act of Contrition.

I said, “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend thee, my Lord, who art all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasions of sin.”

He blessed me and gave me ‘ABSOLUTION” for my petty child’s “sins.”  So now I was pure again, and could take my first communion.

He gave me a candy bar before I left.  He had a big bag, like the type you buy for Halloween, full of mixed candy.  He told me to take one I liked.

I left feeling very happy.  It was not as scary as I’d feared it to be.

Father John called someone (who, I do not know) about my father, and a shrink started visiting the school to see me.  His name was Dr. Arthur (I don’t mind telling you his name, because it’s a common and and he HAS to be dead now–he was about a million years old when I knew him).

One of the only times a man’s stood up for me in my life.  Even my mother didn’t do it.

Well, the smoking and boozing eventually started to take their toll.  He had to have heart surgery, like a triple bypass.  Then he kicked the proverbial bucket.  Everyone was sad.  Huge funeral.

His replacement was a complete piece of shit who plagued the parish–and my Mother–for 15 years.  Check this out: he was a widower with grown children who joined the Clergy in late middle age.  So, he had a family.

He would not give divorced people absolution.  He said it was against the rules.

I don’t give a FUCK about the rules, but, if you’re a believer–like my mother–this is incredibly stigmatizing. And the hypocrisy!  I guess GOD wants people to be alone and loveless all their lives.   When my mother told me that he rejected her, I blew up: “Since when has the Church ever been a friend to women?  We have no authority and they used to burn us.  If you insist, check out another parish.  Or, even better, the Unitarians”–the only church I could sit through without feeling my IQ drop 5 points every minute I was there.

He also treated the congregation like they were morons or little children.  He did condescending shit like bring in a huge toy paper butterfly emerging from a cocoon to go up to heaven, and when he lectured about Noah and the Ark, he’d play storm music on a boombox.  Nice sound effects, bro.

I know most people are not exactly geniuses (saying that as the chick who almost burned her apartment down), but common people–illiterate people–have understood the concept of an afterlife for several thousand years, at least.  And Catholics don’t need a paper butterfly to grasp Resurrection. If you want to explain something really pointless and moronic to the “flock,” priest, try explaining the Trinity.

Anyway, I’m getting totally off point.

The point is: what happened when I was playing priest with My Little Pony.

Father John was sitting at his desk, huffing down his 100th Marlboro Lite cigarette of the day.   This was before computers, so he had a shitload of paper files on his desk and a word processor (remember that blast from the past?).

“Tell him what you did!” the nun ordered, and shoved me forward.

“I pretended I was a priest with my horse dolls,” I said, looking at the floor.

“You may leave me to speak with this child alone, Sister Philip (she’s dead too, reader).  I thank you for your concern,” he said.

She left.

He asked to see my toy ponies, so I took them out of my rucksack and handed them to him.  He lined them up and pretended to make them run.

“You know, when I was a boy, I wanted to be a jockey.  I grew too big and heavy, through.  You have to be small to be a jockey.

Do you want to be a priest?”

“No.  I was just pretending.”

“Women do a lot of good in the Church.  It’s a bit like social work. There is work in the Church for all types of people.  Not all nuns are like Sister Philip.  She worked in the Magdalene Laundries. Do you know what that means?”

“No.”  I was too young to know.

He picked up one of my My Little Ponies, a pink one, and said, “This is the cutest one.  What’s her name?”

“Sparkle,” I said.

He bent over his desk and said, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Please don’t tell my parents,” I said.

“What could I possibly tell them?”  He gathered up my toys and handed them back to me.  “If you are summoned to the vocation, you’re summoned.  If she asks, tell Sister Philip that I taught you your lesson.  That’s the truth.  It’s not a lie.”

I put the Ponies back in my bag.

“Be careful of what you say out loud, my dear.  The teachers here do not come from our culture.  I didn’t become a priest to punish people.  God decides that in the end; I try to help, but I can’t tell if anyone is true of heart.  But do remember: there are two types of people in the world…the type that eat their humble pie, and the type who go to hell.  When you sin–and we are all sinners–eat your pie.  But you did nothing wrong here.”

Then he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out the candy bag, and offered me a treat.

What a good man.

Don’t Play Priest with My Little Pony (1)

(Content note: this one might offend practicing Catholics and people that find atheism objectionable.  It’s not a rant, but I do talk about these issues here, and if you don’t wanna read about it, don’t read about it.)

This is one for Memory Lane.

Readers will know that I am an atheist.  I was reared Roman Catholic (by my mother, at least), but I stopped believing in the religion quite naturally once I reached the age of reason at about 12 years old.  It was not a violent rejection on my part, or due to anything traumatic.  I simply realized that what was being taught in my religion classes was not jiving with what was being taught in my other classes, and that a lot of things I was reading in the Bible were historically inaccurate and impossible.  I’m not an angry atheist.  I realize a lot of people get something out of religion. I don’t get it, but, hey, I know I’m the outlier here.

(I stopped believing in God…but I never stopped believing in the Church.  The Church is a political institution, and I understand politics very well.  The Church is completely real, even if the theology is fictive.  And if you don’t think that most of the Cardinals in Vatican City don’t think exactly the same way, you’re wrong.  It’s like that old gladiator movie with Kirk Douglas–the scene when Gracchus buys a bird (pigeon or dove) to sacrifice to the Gods, and Caesar says “I thought you had reservations about the Gods.”  Gracchus replied, “Privately I believe in none of them–neither do you.  Publicly, I believe in them all.“)

It’s all about power and control.  That’s the definition of politics: deciding who gets what, and how much.

Which brings us to the point, the little story we find on this walk down Memory Lane.

I attended Catholic school as a young child, and before I reached the age of reason I believed practically everything a teacher told to me, of course.  My teachers were Irish nuns.  Actual IRISH NUNS, half of whom still wore the veil…and the habit, on special occasions.  Most of them had masculine names they took when they took their vows.

Most of my experiences with them were positive.  Most of them honestly loved children, and I can understand, because they could never have children of their own.  However, their education was, shall we say, rather medieval.  For example, my 8th-grade teacher, who was the principal of the school, told us that there were four (4) elements in the world.  This is right out of Aristotle, people.  And I love me some Aristotle, but I’d just been taking a science class and was learning the Table of Elements. It occurred to me that this shit she was saying didn’t jive with reality (no fault on Aristotle).  I think I was 12.  What really galls me is that my mother was trying to give me “the best” education she could, and spent practically all of her discretionary income to send her children to Catholic School…she really sacrificed.  So that her daughter could be taught medieval Catholic “science.”  Thank God I had a brain in my head and a father who had critical thinking skills and a little book-learnin’ , awful as he was.

Catholics are the “intellectuals” of Christendom.  Let that sink in for a while.  Think about it.

Anyway, when I was a little kid, I still believed.  Why wouldn’t I…? Well, I sometimes carried toys in my backpack, and when I was in 2nd grade, I was a big fan of My Little Pony toys/dolls.

My Little Pony

 

Whoever thought this toy up was a genius. I loved these things, waaaay more than Barbie or dolls.  My Dad would only give me “intellectual” toys, like puzzles and crafts and brain-teasers, but my Mom would buy me kid toys, so at Christmas and on my birthday I’d get a My Little Pony.

I had four or five of them, and brought them to school one day just because I felt like it.  I was in 2nd grade…maybe 3rd, can’t recall.

During recess, I went to a secluded shady area by the church and took them out of my bag and played pretend with them.  I lined them all up in a row.

For some reason, I played pretend that I was the priest and we were in Mass.  By that age, I knew the entire Mass by heart (I still know it by heart).

I was pretending to consecrate the Eucharist (always the most–and only–fascinating part of the regular Mass for me), saying all the priest’s words, when a nun walked up behind me and grabbed me by the shoulder.

She’d heard what I was saying, and she was fucking furious.

I was a little kid playing with dolls, emulating behavior I saw (the Mass) at least three times a week.  That was all. I didn’t even have unleavened bread or a cracker in my hand.  It was all imaginary.

She shook me hard and said, “How dare you!  That is only for priests!”  She looked shocked, appalled, as if I’d done something morally unspeakable.  It was an actual affront to her.

Now that I’m older and have perspective, I see possible motivations for her rage (this is all speculative; can’t read her mind): what I did threatened her because it was against the very strictly hierarchical Church.  And, perhaps on a subconscious level, it reminded her that nuns/women will never have the power of priests. Nuns serve in the trenches of the Church–the charities, the elementary schools, hospices in the 3rd world, as unofficial social workers to convicts on death row.  They have zero authority in the Church, even if she’s an Abbess or a Ph.D.  No privileges, el zilcho, and they give up more than the average priest in some hole of a parish.  When I went to Catholic school, girls couldn’t even serve on the Alter except to ring a bell to remind the congregation to get off their knees (I held that mighty privilege twice).  Only boys could be alter boys.  When the Pope said girls could serve as alter girls, it was such a huge deal that all classes were interrupted for it as the school principle made a very solemn, yet joyous, announcement.  It was that big of a deal.  Girl-children allowed on the Alter to help the priest, and be near the tabernacle when it was open, wow wow wow, what a leap forward in the liberation of women!

It’s misogynistic bigotry, pure and simple.  There is no purpose than to impose authority and power on the more vulnerable.

Anyway, back to our story, nun is furious and actually put her hands on me.  She grabbed me by the arm and marched me straight to the priest’s office in the church.

She knocked and he admitted us.

She marched me right up to his desk (he was smoking, as usual, and seemed to be working on paperwork, as usual) and hissed at me: “Tell him what you did!”

 

TO BE CONTINUED

P.S.:  At least it has a happy ending

Such Was My Recklessness

When I decided to seek help about my drinking problem, I went to the campus counseling center and started meetings with a counselor there.   I didn’t see her for more than a few months, because I made the mistake of confiding to her that I was working weekends at my first dungeon (what can I say?  My secret job, and its attendant issues, seemed germane to my drinking), and that revelation had an immediate chilling effect on our relationship.  To my complete surprise, she judged me about it, in a very harsh and unprofessional (to my mind) fashion, and thereafter I felt her disapproval and suspicion in our conversations.  I felt uncomfortable with her (or, more accurately, I was acutely aware of her discomfort with me), and eventually decided to stop our sessions.

Which was fine.  I was no longer getting the full benefit of her expertise, and I wasn’t impressed with what perspective I was getting.  I felt that she was making a lot of assumptions about my personality and motivations that were not just unflattering but downright wrong.  For example, she told me that I was working at the dungeon because I wanted attention and validation from men.

She did give me one insight into my character that had previously eluded me and that I never would have come up with on my own, however.  I’ve never forgotten it.

I was talking about my drinking, and I said that the reckless drinking was really out of character for me, because in most other aspects of my life I was cautious, thoughtful, and risk-adverse.  Really!  I’m the opposite of impulsive.  I don’t act quickly or rashly.  I’m the sort of person who always wears a helmet, buckles up, drives the speed limit at all times, and doesn’t eat food that’s been left at room temperature for more than an hour.  I don’t often try new things, or make a trip to a new place, be it across town or out of the country, without detailed travel instructions or an itinerary.

“Margo,” she said, dead serious, looking at me over the tops of her glasses, “you are absolutely not risk-adverse.  At all.

I was incredulous: had I really done reckless things?  Moi?  Madame, surely you jest!

But after careful contemplation, I must admit that the record will show that I have taken risks, and put myself in situations, that were not just unnecessary, but dangerous and even potentially fatal.  I even mentioned it in the copy of one of my proSub ads–I cribbed a quote from de Sade, in which he asserted, as reason for his libertinism and depravity, that a man’s humanity is incomplete until he has had every experience.

And so I have pursued every experience.  My adult life has been characterized by the deliberate and relentless exploration of my sadomasochism, a journey of personal discovery that I ultimately prioritized in my life.  It is a serious business to me, and I approached it with the earnestness of a devoted scholar.  To see how far down the rabbit hole goes.

Because isn’t that what it all boils down to, really?  Isn’t that what I was doing there, in all those dangerous places, with all those (potentially or overtly) dangerous people?  Isn’t that what I was doing when I went back, when I stayed, when I went deeper and still yet deeper?  Over and over again?  I started prodomming when I was desperate, vulnerable, and very isolated–it really was survival sex work–but why that, among the handful of desperate options (why did I perceive it as an option at all?)?   I did it for the (potentially) fast money and because the flexibility of the job fit my grad-student needs and lifestyle, but really, really, I did it because I was fascinated and I wanted to know, to explore that part of myself.   My clients were my teachers.  Even when I did not want them to be.   My lovers were also my teachers, including the dangerous one with the scalpel whom I loved best, and who cut my heart for five years.

I pursued every experience.  I sought them out online, on Fetlife, on Craigslist, in the dark corners of the internet, and I put up ads so that they could find me.  I took trains to meet strangers in parts of the country I’d never been to before.  I took airplanes.   I went to their houses, their dorm rooms and brownstones and walkup apartments, and a million hotel rooms in cities on three continents.   I got into their cars and climbed aboard their boats.  And they came to me, both in my home and in the fantastical rooms of the Studio and the other dungeons in which I worked.   They have needs and compulsions, too.

I gave a man the key to my house so that he could enter at the time of his choosing and take me God knows where, with God knows who.  I rode on the back of motorcycles drunk.  My boyfriend gave me drugs and I let him without knowing what they were or what they would do to me.   I let people lock me in cages, closets, hoods, and, (nearly) a barn.  I let them bind me with rope and suspend me from ceilings.  I let them put metal police restraints on me, cover me with a blanket, and take me for a car ride.  I let him throttle me with his hands, his leather belt, the terrycloth belt of a bathrobe.  I let strangers beat me with everything you could imagine, sometimes for money and sometimes for free.  I let a psychopath come to my house and put me in traction.  Such was my recklessness in pursuit of myself.

Such was my recklessness.

I still haven’t had every experience.  My humanity remains incomplete. I have come to understand that the rabbit hole is bottomless.   The obsessions cannot be quenched or exhausted.   Like a dying star, they change, grow, and expand outward, incinerating and enveloping you in their orbit.

If there is no end to it, do I stop?

What else is there?