About Franz Adler, and What He Required

I have largely avoided writing about my father, Franz Adler, either on this blog or in the writing I keep for myself.  I’ve shared the occasional story about him, and from these even a casual reader can derive an idea of his character and personality.  The stories speak for themselves,but beyond anecdotes I have never tried to address him as a subject in his own right.

I avoid writing about him because contemplation is painful, even at this late date, and because it is a type of pain that feels unwise to share with strangers, but even these reasons are secondary: the real reason I don’t write about him is because I simply don’t know how.  It feels like trying to describe a cataclysmic natural disaster, decades after it happened, to people who were on the other side of the world.  How do you describe the tornado that destroyed your home?  “A big black wind storm blew it down while we cowered in the cellar?”  Even this metaphoric device is poor: he was not an awesome and unprecedented act of the Almighty, but a garden-variety addict and a sociopath, whose modest claim to evil in this life is that he alienated and exploited everyone unfortunate enough to be in his orbit.  Thankfully, he was too dysfunctional and undisciplined to achieve a significant sphere of influence in life, which limited his destructive potential.   The wheels started to come off when he was about the age I am now, and he became increasingly incapable of pursuing average adult life interests (job, family, gratifying hobbies, the basics).  He also seemed to grow increasingly unwilling to make the effort necessary to pass himself off as anything other than what he really is.   If he’d managed to hold his shit together until his middle age, he could have had made another family to terrorize and another job and colleagues to steal from.  Franz Adler only lasted one, maybe one-and-a-half rounds of adulthood before he started to succumb to his genetic destiny.  He started to take the path of least resistance when he was fairly young in his life, mid 30s.  He stopped fighting himself, if, indeed, that is what he’d been doing up until that point, and  had allowed him to achieve his previous successes.

I was about twelve years old when he started to devolve significantly–he was getting worse before that, and making some very reckless decisions with his life, but he still had most of his shit together: job with benefits, academic ambitions, part-time custody of his child (me), Peace Corps and Army buddies, toys that he liked to buy–you know, basic normal adult shit.  He was an addict by then, but he functioned.

Twelve when he “got sick,” as he called it later in life.  There are probably several reasons why Franz Adler decided to drop out of life.  Perhaps I’ll speculate on them in a later post.  But, for whatever reason, he decided that he was not going to do anything that he did not feel like doing.  Ever again.   Pay the IRS?  Register the car?  Resist the urge to torch your neighbor’s car for playing his obnoxious Mexican music too loudly?  Go grocery shopping for the kid?   What?

It took him about four years to lose everything.  Some of that time was actually pretty peaceful for me, because he was off in other parts of the country, bleeding the last of his relatives and family friends dry.  I think he might have also had legal or court problems–it would explain some absences, the very nomadic lifestyle, and the reason why people he’d been close enough to call on for help, or stay in their houses, turned their backs on him utterly and completely.  I think he was stealing or embezzling from them and then running for it.

What did he do with the monies from his 401k, the house, his property, whatever he borrowed or stole?  He gambled it.  It was gone.  He certainly didn’t give it back to any of people he got it from.

By the time I was sixteen, he was almost out of resources, both human and monetary.  He was almost trapped, and he got very, very ugly.   You do not want to see a person like him when he is cornered.  Unfortunately, I had front row tickets, because I was his last and final hostage.

If I had been just a few years younger, I think that I could have escaped some of it, because I would have been too young to be of practical use to him, other than to use me as a bargaining chip to exploit my mother or get some sort of government benefits.  What use is a 10-year-old?  On the other hand, if I was younger, I think that he might have murdered me when he had me in his possession.  I think he would have stabbed me to death or killed me with carbon monoxide while I slept (I think that he almost did that, anyway, actually).  He would have done that to hurt my mother.

But, I was 16.

Old enough to drive.  Old enough to work.

And, incredibly, he still had legal custody of me.

Children are basically little slaves.  They have almost no legal rights.  They are disenfranchised.  They have more rights than animals, but not many.  Most people don’t know this.

What is the use of a slave?  Why did anyone want to have one, in the bad old days of most of human history?

You take away their autonomy, and you steal the value of their labor.

Now ask yourself: if you were in Franz Adler’s situation, what would you do with Margo?

You probably can’t think of anything, because you’re a halfway decent human being with morals.  If you were unemployed, and your life was in a bad spot right now, kinda chaotic, you’d probably leave your teenager with her mother until you got your shit figured out.   Or maybe, since you’re a junkie, you’d ask your teenager for money, or use her to sign up for welfare benefits, or something.   Tell her to steal money out of her Mom’s purse, maybe?  What else is there?

Still can’t think of anything…?

Now imagine that you have no morals and very little fear of consequences.  You are under a  tremendous amount of financial stress, which is as close as you get to experiencing fear.  There are no limitations on your behavior, self-imposed or otherwise.  You just spent four years burning your life down.  You are full of hatred.  You have no house, no job, no relatives to take you in, and no plans for the future.  Shit’s looking pretty fucking bleak.

What you do have is legal custodianship of a 16-year-old girl.  She is terrified of you, and for you, but she is your property and she will do whatever you say in the end.  Her health and well-being play no part in your decision-making process, nor do her personal preferences or opinions.  If anything, your attitude is: she owes you.

She still loves you, so you won’t have to twist her arm too hard.

These are the circumstances of my life at that time.   In many ways it was worse than being held by him when I was a young child.  When I was a child, all he could demand of me were the things that a child has to give: obedience, love, loyalty, admiration, my imagination, fear.

When I was older, he required more from me.

(7) On Drunk Driving

     In AA and the group therapy for recovering addicts I go to once a week, I meet a lot of people with DUI/DWI (in New York, it wasn’t nearly as common because most New Yorkers don’t have cars).  Some of them have two DUIs, and now they have to breath into a breathalizer in order to start their cars once they finally get their license reinstated after a year’s suspension.  And some of these incorrigible recalcitrant assholes have three DUIs and spent nine months in jail, and now they’re either on foot or having their long-suffering relatives drive them around.  

        Yeah, I’m not there to judge the other junkies.  Yeah, I shouldn’t “take someone else’s inventory,” as they say in the rooms.  I know, I know, I know. 

       I’m going to do it anyway: If you drive drunk, you are an asshole.  And 3-time losers need to somehow be kept off the road until they sober up and keep their shit together for a long time, like 5 years.  

           Unfortunately, I can’t think of any solutions.  Incarceration is the only way the State can prevent a person who wants to drive from driving.  Unless you want to start chopping off hands or punishing their family members, which isn’t going to fly under American jurisprudence.   

           Honestly: what can be done?   The penalties for drunk driving are already severe.  The only way to make them more draconian would be increased jail time.   Jail is a very expensive way to deal with a stupid alcoholic. But what are the lives of the more than 10,000 people who die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes worth?  A trained insurance agent can quantify the value of an individual.  The suffering caused by a person’s maiming or untimely death is considerably harder to measure (although the courts try).  

         I was arrested for driving drunk.  Actually, it was Minor in Possession, because I was only 20 at the time, and my blood alcohol level was below the legal limit, but under state law, the penalties were the same.  I drove a few hours out of town to watch some illegal boxing matches, had five or six drinks, and then started to drive back.  I was pulled over in the middle of nowhere by a Highway Patrolman.  For a busted tail-light!  He arrested me and I spent the night in jail.  I wish I could post a picture of the jail and the town (if you can call it a town)–you’d die.  It was an awful experience.   When I posted bail the next day, I asked the bondsman why it was so fucking expensive, given that I had no prior offenses.  

              “The judge doesn’t think it’s a minor offense.  That’s why.  He knows that by the time a person actually gets caught driving drunk, they’ve probably done it twenty, thirty, forty times,” said the bondsman.  

             And he was right. 

             It wasn’t the first time I drove drunk.  I’d done it probably 10 or 12 times.  That’s the truth.  

             It was, however, the last time I drove drunk.  90-day suspension, jumping through hoops for the court, $500 in fines, the cost of the lawyer…getting my car out of impound…paying for the tow truck…I’d say that mistake cost me about $2500.  Plus all of the humiliation and inconvenience, of course.  

           What really convinced me to never drink and get behind the wheel, though, was the Victim Impact Awareness Panel I had to attend as part of my sentencing.  Five or six people stood in front of the room and told us what drunk drivers had cost them.   One was the mother of a teenaged boy who’d just been accepted to Notre Dame.  He was killed by a drunk driver with two prior convictions.  Another speaker was a guy who drove drunk and suffered massive brain damage from the impact when he wrapped his car around a telephone pole.  He was in a motorized wheelchair and couldn’t speak clearly.  

             I leaked tears through the whole thing, which is unusual for me, and that was it: I instituted a 1-drink policy.  I never had more than one and drove afterward.  I got a ride, or took cabs, or walked.  I was done.  It was not acceptable to me to risk bringing that pain and grief into other people’s lives. 

           Drunk driving is almost never an accident.  Habitual offenders display deep selfishness and callous disregard.  I feel very strongly about this.  

           I don’t know what else to say.  This essay is not very good.  I wrote it because I have to write and post something before midnight, and I was thinking about all the drunk drivers in AA on my way home.

Christmas Clown

      When I was a little girl, my father gave me a clown doll for Christmas.

       This is interesting, because my father seldom gave me toys and he certainly never gave me dolls.  He gave me gifts for my birthday and Christmas, but they were almost invariably practical: a new pair of shoes, books I needed to read, a winter coat.  The closest thing to a toy he ever gave me was a huge set of tin soldiers so that I could re-create Civil War battle strategies following diagrams in his military science books.  Oh, an a chemistry set (the chemistry set was fun).  

        So, the clown doll was atypical.  

        I don’t remember how old I was, but this was before he was terminated at work for being hostile and contemptuous, so I was probably about nine.  He said that someone from work had brought in the clown doll to give it away, because his kid didn’t like it anymore, and it was still like new.

        It was hideous, it was ghastly, and I hated it on sight the second I saw it sitting underneath the Christmas tree in a drift of dry brown pine needles, which had fallen off because my father could never be bothered to water the poor thing.  

         The clown was a fabric doll with a firm, squat, barrel-shaped torso.  Its arms were very long and skinny, like fat pencils, and it had white gloves on its hands and pointy-toed elf shoes on its feet.  It wore a vest with red buttons on its chest, pinned with a silk carnation.  The head was oblong-shaped and it had a mane of red yarn hair that stuck out from underneath a conical dunce-cap-looking hat, and it had a long pointed nose and a huge-mouthed bloody-red smile and shiny metallic black buttons for eyes.  Held upright, it was almost as tall as my chest, and it cast hideous shadows on the wall.  

        I became intimately familiar with the clown’s shadows because my father parked that ugly motherfucker in a wooden chair directly opposite the headboard of my bed, and at night, whenever a car drove by, the light from its headlamps would stream through the blinds and throw the doll’s shadow on the wall.  The shadows would change and move depending on the direction the car was travelling and the color and quality of its headlights.

        At first, I merely disliked the doll and found that its appearance ugly, but, at time wore on and my imagination began to work, I came to fear it.  It looked like it was moving at night, when the cars drove past.  When I came back from school, it looked like it had changed positions.  A few times, when it was new and I could still bring myself to touch it, I threw it into my closet and covered it with a towel, but Dad always took it out and put it back in the chair.

        It got to the point at night where I would get ready for bed, turn off the light, and then launch myself into bed and cover my head with the blankets so that I wouldn’t have to look at it.  

       I’d never been afraid of dolls before, and I was fast approaching an age where imaginary things would cease to terrify me.  Prior to the clown, my only make-believe terror was boa constrictors–I’d seen a Nature special about them and how they could eat entire antelope in one sitting, which I found morbidly fascinating, and I had been afraid one would somehow get into the house and swallow me up.

      Anyway, after a month or two I started avoiding my room, even in the daytime, and keeping the door shut from the hideous clown.  

      I told my brother about the clown one day, who went and tattled to our mother, who then called my father on the phone to complain about the clown doll. 

      “But she never said anything about it to me!” he protested.  As if I would complain about anything under his roof to his face, ever. 

       Dad took the clown back to work.  Some other unlucky kid got it next.  It was a perfectly good toy and there was no reason for it to go to waste, he said.  
      

A Thousand and One Pieces of Margo: The Best & Favorites, Cont’d

       This is the continuation of the previous post…

       Hunters, written a year ago in a fit of melancholy and homesickness.  

       Political Theater: Tales from a Submissive Intern  When I was a very young woman, I won (through merit) an internship with the office of a well-known politician, a homely and ill-tempered fellow who loves power and intimidation.  My experience here–my emotional reaction and sexual response to the politician’s cruelty–is interesting, because it augers what I will gravitate toward in later adulthood. 

      Boots as Inspiration, About my weird attraction to boots.  I really like this blog post: part memoir, part theory, a few very well-written lines, and some provocative art.  It’s a nice little Margo-capsule.  I also like it because most of the stuff I’ve read about boot fetishism on the internet comes from the  the gay male demographic.  Het sub males write a little, too.  I don’t find much from women. 

     A Map of the Pain   NSFW.  Not pornographic but careful where you view it!  Written in 2011 almost immediately after the Surgeon visited me in my apartment and we had a pretty intense sex/corporal session.  I was newly sober, about 80 days clean, for the first time since I started drinking alcoholically.  I was high off the sex and the beating and the meeting.  I remember taking the photos very well.   Good times.  
   
   No Rest for the Wicked  Penniless and desperately seeking to replace a stolen jar of salsa, I contact a random sad old white guy on Craigslist and ride my bike across town to sell him my worn-out ballet flats.  My first home-town outcall session.  Everything about this story is completely ridiculous.   

        Mind-Fucking  It’s not a popular post, but I like it.  It’s…contemplative.  

        Failing the Geography Exam  Meet Franz Alder: the secret to my academic success, and why I ate two Antabuse this evening.

        The Adler Family Menorah   My German Catholic mother buys a hugeass honkin silver Menorah at a garage sale.  It now dominates the dining-room table.  

         The Surgeon at War  My Ex has a decades-long, mysterious, highly personal vendetta against another physician.  He’s sued the guy several times, humiliated his proteges at conferences, had my seduce the guy in a bar….it goes on and on.   Successfully headhunting one of his enemy’s staff was the Coup of 2012.  I had great sex for months.  

A Thousand Pieces of Margo: The Best & Personal Favorites

       This will be the 679 post published on this blog.  I have 321 in the drafts folder which are redacted, unfinished, axed, or otherwise unpublished, for one reason or another.  

        A thousand posts, in all.  

        At this time, these are my favorite posts, either because I think they contain some of my best writing, or because I just like them.   New readers without the inclination to dig through three years of posts for the good stuff will find a decent sample of my work below.

          In (mostly) chronological order, but in no particular order of favorite: 

          The SkyMall Catalog is Decadent and Depraved.   Exactly one reader, John, has had the good taste to enjoy my send-up of the Skymall catalog.  I have no idea why other people don’t find Skymall as weird as I do.

         Love Letter  I identify primarily as a submissive masochist, but I do have an authentic sadistic streak.  This is what I feel like when I go there.  It’s very personal–I wrote it for my only personal sub, No. 29.  My analyst loved this one.  She kept it for herself.   

        The Surgeon Takes Control  The summer of 2012 was a difficult one for me.  My landlord refused to renew my lease unless I could come up with 3 months’ rent in advance.  Business at the Studio was dead, my tutoring jobs were out for summer, and I didn’t know yet how to hustle independently.  In sheer desperation, completely terrified, I went and got a job at a strip club.  My first night there, I broke down…and called the Surgeon for financial help.  I’d left him months ago and rebuffed his attempts at reconciliation.  His reaction to my call was…interesting.  Very intense blog post.  I’m sweating just remembering it. 

        Signed, Sealed & Delivered  The Surgeon delivers the cash and saves my ass.  An entire summer of sleepless nights and crushing anxiety, and the man made the problem disappear as casually as if he ate a corn chip.  Of course, the money came with strings.  

       CollarMe Hell: Dudes Love Their Wheels  I loved the CollarMe Hell series.  I wish I could have continued it, but I just couldn’t bear to be on CollarMe anymore.  I think that CollarMe is the worst place on the internet.   

        Good Girls Get Gifts  Probably the first strong piece of writing on this blog.  My boyfriend buys me a gift from Bloomingdale’s.  Boy, does this one take me back.  The Surgeon’s a freak, but we had chemistry. 

           Black Market Cipro   Your humble correspondent gets a UTI and voyages deep into the Bronx to buy black market antibiotics.  Pharmacist blogger DrugMonkey helps me through this one.  

          Why Doesn’t He Have a Girlfriend?  Written the morning the Mathematician told me that he was married.  I don’t like to re-read it, but I’ve received lots of personal comments about it.

           An Open Letter to the Mathematician   Rawest piece of writing on the blog.  I don’t re-read this one, either.

         April Fool 1 and April Fool 2   I know it’s cruel, but this was fucking hilarious.  Mistress C and I play an April Fool’s joke on her douchebag ex-boyfriend, Alec.  

          Covered in Ants: What Could Go Wrong?   One of the most memorable session requests of my career.  Must be read to be believed. 

          Dining in Copenhagen  Meeting my favorite client, Fortinbras, the King of Denmark.  I was very attracted to this guy, and came very close to becoming infatuated with him.  Completely my type, impressed the hell out of me, stomped the disco boogie all over my Daddy issues.  Fortunately, bitter experience, my analyst, and a few concerned readers saved me from making the same mistake a third time (fourth time, if you count the Attorney): I kept my wits about me, and he became stayed a very enjoyed and well-respected clients. 

          Scenes from My Drunkalogue: In the Eye of the Beholder  A very tight piece of writing.  One of the best on the blog in terms of style, I believe.  Going through with a session I really do not want to take. 

        The Blowjob Wars  Everything you wanted to know about Miss Margo and blowjobs. 

       Beluga Eats a Dog Turd   Another memorable session.  Well-written and received a ton of comments (well, for this unread blog).  
           
       There are another ten best….I’ll post them in the next installment!

          

How to Clean a Bathtub

      Things in this household run on time.  If my mother was a man and went into the Army, I would have been the daughter of a drill sergeant.  

       Like her predecessor, Henri Fayol, she believes there is one best way of doing things.  Cleaning the bathtub, for instance.

       The bathtubs and sinks in the house have to be replaced about every seven years.  

        Because of the way they are cleaned.

        This is the way that it goes:

        After you bathe, you dry yourself off in the shower so that you don’t track water everywhere.

          Then you take the squeegee thing and squeegee the moisture off of the inside of the shower doors and the tiles.  Moisture creates mildew.

              Then you take the soap out of the dish and put it back in its cardboard container, to be placed outside of the shower beside the towel rack.  If the soap is left in water, it will leave gummy soap deposits in the soap dish.

          Get the special soap rag.  Clean the soap dish with the rag.  Rag goes back under the sink.

          Fetch the bleach.  Spray down the inside of the bathtub with bleach solution.  Let it sit for a minute.  

          (Be sure to crack the window first, too.  The fumes get a little intense.) 

          Turn on the hot water and scrub the bathtub with the brush.  Then rinse all the bleach out.

           Return bleach and brush under the sink.

           Check.  Make sure there is no hair in bathtub.

           Put toiletries back in place.  Put the cap back on the safety razor.  

           Wipe the chrome with a soft cloth so that it is shiny and there are no water spots.  Put the cloth away.

             Hang up the bath mat.  Must be hung lengthwise and it must be perfectly even.

             Hang up bath towel.  Ditto.

             Now you can leave the bathroom.  Leave the door open so that the mirror unfogs and you can use it to apply your makeup or put in your contact lenses or whatever.  You can’t use a towel to wipe off the fog because it leaves streaks. 

              This is done every time you take a shower.  You have to ration your time correctly, because it must be done, even if you’re in a hurry to leave the house.

              The good news is, once you get the system down, you can execute this chore in about five minutes.  

              The bad news is: it’s….well, do I really need to tell you why it’s bad…?

           I one bad memory about this from my childhood.   I think I was about eleven, and my brother was eight (he remembers this one too, by the way).

            Bathtime was after dinner, before bed.  Sometimes he’d go first, sometimes I would.  Anyway, we took our baths and went to our rooms and everything was normal until I heard Mom shouting at us to come to the bathroom.

            Someone had left a wet towel on the floor, and she wanted to know who had left it.

          She was pissed.  I remember her standing there and pointing at it, like a cop pointing at a murder weapon and telling the accused that he might as well confess. 

          Well, I wasn’t taking the blame for that one.  Nope.  No siree.

         My brother denied it also. 

          Mom told us that we could just wait there in the bathroom until someone took the blame and then hung up the towel. 

          Oh boy.  

           We both settled down to wait.  She went to take her bath and get ready for bed.  

          My brother and I bickered back and forth a little over whose fault it was.  I continued to insist it was not mine, but here it is, The Awful Truth: I was lying.  I was the one who left the towel.  I’d just forgotten it…but I sure as hell wasn’t going to admit it.  Not when I’d get into trouble.

          This is also The Awful Truth: I was older and stronger, and I knew he’d break first. 

         And he did.  It probably took an hour and a half, judging from the sounds on the television. 

          He started crying and said that he did it, and then Mom let him hang up the towel and go to bed. 

          Many years later, I was drinking at my brother’s house, and I told him that I knew he wasn’t the one who left the towel.

          “Oh, I know,” he said.  “Believe me, I know.”

          I apologized.  He accepted. 

         I told my shrink about that one.  She thought that my mother overreacted.  It was just a towel, she said.

        The bathtubs are replaced because all that bleach destroys the enamel.   Privately, I think this is sort of funny.  We had to destroy the bathtub in order to clean it! 

Reader Mailbag: “How Old Were You When You Knew…?”

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“How old were you when you when you knew you were a ‘sadomasochist’ (to use your very old-fashioned term)?  I can trace a lot of my kinks back to childhood and a lot of kinksters I’ve talked to remember acting it out in games.”
                                                     –Random Internet Stranger

         The word is old-fashioned but accurate, at least for me. 

         I knew that my sexuality was weird years before I became sexually self-actualized and many years before I learned that BDSM was a thing with a name that people did.  I knew that I was weird because I didn’t have the fascination with normal sexy crap that most people think is arousing.  I wasn’t interested in nudity, I didn’t compare myself to the grown women in Playboy like most of the girl I knew, and the sexy scene in the mystery and thriller-suspense books I was sneaking out of the library didn’t do much for me.  Nor do I recall being attracted to any of my male peers.  I didn’t fantasize about sex much at all.

         What I did fantasize about was violence and interactions with imaginary men who were some sort of awful deplorable authority figures.  The fantasies were seldom sexually explicit, but they were very exciting to me and they are not radically dissimilar to the fantasies I have today.  I’m just more experienced and desensitized now, and I no longer have the embarrassment for my needs that I once felt.  I guess most girls were paging through romance novels trying to get to the sexy parts, but I was sneaking out detective/police novels because they were invariably full of violence and men acting like dickheads.  The interesting thing is that I’m a fairly sensitive person and I find violence politically repulsive and I am not exactly a big fan of the patriarchy.  But nobody can help who or what they are sexually attracted to.  I do believe that.

            I spent most of my childhood being afraid of my exploitive and very controlling father, who is (was?) a strange and awful person.  I can think of a few good things about him, but not many.  He’d do some really weird things that I still do not understand, and I also think that he came close to killing me a few times.  I also got a Teutonic cultural heritage and years of formal Catholic education.  Roman Catholicism is the perfect religion for any proud, upstanding sadomasochist.  The history is full of the most appalling, violent shit you can imagine and the art is both sensual and gruesome.  

Bernini The Ecstasy of St. Teresa c. 1652

Execution victim hanging on the wall.

      Then you get a mindfuck when the clergy turns around and tells you that it’s really all about love.  What it’s really about, of course, is power and politics, which, as fortune would have it, became the focus of much of my academic attention. 

       I moved out when I was 19 and secured my first Top within months.  I was doing eroticized violence before I had intercourse, which really says something.  

        I lucked out: he was good.  I met him on the internet, of course, the same way I meet most of these guys.  Yahoo! personals, back when it was still popular and free.  His name was Gregg.  He was married, late 30s, and he had a job coordinating the sale of parts for corporate jet airplanes.  I thought he was very handsome, in an austere, hard sort of way.  He looked a lot like Lance Armstrong.  He was very friendly, except when he wasn’t, and he always respected my boundaries and didn’t try to have sex with me.  I never saw the man naked.  Now that I have over a decade of experience with scores of various male sadists, I can tell you that Gregg was worth his weight in gold.  

          He had a good deal with me.  He’s swing by my apartment once a week (his sports car looked very weird parked in front of my dilapidated building) for a progress report and a beating.  I’d get the hand if I was doing well and the belt if I wasn’t.  His aim was true and he knew what he was doing.   

          (And, in case you’re wondering, his wife knew what he was doing with me.  I met her several times and even ate dinner with them.  She was a knockout and I actually found her a little attractive, which almost never happens to me with women.  I’m pretty sure that she had some sort of open relationship agreement with Gregg, but I never asked because it didn’t seem like it was my business.)  

          I saw Gregg for about six months.  Then he received a promotion and moved to San Diego.   I got a boyfriend and we lost touch, though I did keep sending him Christmas cards for a few years.

          Good memories, though.  My grades were excellent that year, too. 

Jewelry Box

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     It’s past midnight and I can’t sleep.  I’m also too tired to write anything substantial. 

     I went through my jewelry today, which I haven’t done in a few years.  I made an inventory, cleaned all the good stuff, polished the silver, and gave away the pieces I do not or will not wear.  

      These are some of the things from my jewelry box:

      Buffalo nickles that I’ve had since I was a child.  I don’t care about coins, but I like these:

Buffalo Nickles

         This lovely silver spoon was inexplicably given to me as I was leaving his apartment by my former client, Mr. Crush, aka Sad Divorced Dad, our favorite follower of postmodern poetry and fan of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (you can read about Mr. Crush here1, here2, and here3).  Probably the most lonely and emotionally needy client I had in the last year.  Three sessions was all I could handle.  Too bad, because he has a very prestigious job in publishing and he repeatedly offered his assistance.  Alas, it came with too many strings.  Fucking him and being a fun date once a week would have been fine, but the guy was a hurt, needy black hole with boundaries issues. 

          He gave me the spoon on a whim, for no apparent reason.   I was standing at the door with my gear bag over my shoulder when he ran into his kitchen and came out with the spoon.  He said it was family silverware.  It has his initials on the back of the handle.

         “Uh, are you sure you want to break up a set?” I asked, confused.

         He cocked his head to the side: “Well, it’s not the only set, of course.”

          Okay, well.  

          I kept it because it’s pretty, but I don’t know what to do with it.  I guess I could eat with it, but it seems too fancy to eat with.

Mr. Crush’s spoon
        
          My best pair of earrings.  The photo doesn’t do em justice.  The sapphires are a carat each.  I have the opportunity to wear them maybe three times a year.  I almost sold them for cash when I was in danger of losing my lease two summers ago (the summer where I ended up in the strip club, remember that?), but jewelry has very low resell value, so I kept them, and I’m glad that I did.

          Last time I wore them was when Fortinbras took me to Lincoln Center.  I expect that they’ll be sitting in my jewelry box for a very, very long spell. 

Sapphire Earrings
       I got these in Telluride, Colorado.  Love the mountains.  These are very small, so I can wear them with everything.

Telluride Earrings
      
         Detail of the bracelet the Surgeon gave me.   The more visible and conventional partner of the tattoo he put on my ass. The clasp was soldered and I had to go to a goldmith repair place to get it cut off my wrist.  I wore this thing for years.  

Don’t Forget
        This is a picture of the nice black kitty cat who lived in the Deli across the street from my East Village apartment.  His name is Timmy.   Timmy always napped by the newspaper rack, or even on top of the papers.  

 

I miss Timmy.


      This is the money I made on my last shift at the Studio.  I went out with a bang. 

Take it and run.

My Story of Teenaged Sexual Horror

      I ran into my highschool boyfriend at the grocery store.  I could barely recognize him.  He had a very distinctive look to him, a look that you come across all too often in this part of the country:

         He looked like a tweaker.  Meth zombies all look the same.  

         Not to be too judgmental, as I’m a fine, upstanding alcoholic and a serial relapser who has definitely fucked up my adulthood, but crystal meth is the worst drug on the planet and the only one that I consider too terrifying to even consider using.  I’ve seen a lot of it around my home town.  The damage that it causes to families is incalculable.  It’s a hideous drug and tweakers are hideous people. Give me a crackhead or a heroin junkie any day of the week.  

        It’s too bad about Scott, because he was really a handsome man.  Looked a lot like a very young Tom Cruise.   Beautiful smile.  I mean, he could have sold toothpaste on TV.

         Scott was my first boyfriend.  We started dating when I was 17 and he was 19.  We worked together at a fast food restaurant.  His family were Mormons.  They were always nice to me, but there’s something I’ve noticed about Mormons: you can be friends with them, and they’ll take you into their home and eat dinner with you, but unless you’re a member of their faith, they become impenetrable at a certain point.  

           Scott did not like Mormonism, but he had to go to church because his Dad was a Bishop.  

          I wish that every young woman could have a formative relationship like the one I had with Scott.   A lot of teen girls really get taken advantage of by dickheads in high school because the guys run the show and the girls don’t yet realize that females are the ones with all the sexual power.   I hate jockish teenage meathead boys.  Little do they know that their days of enjoying unreciprocated oral sex are numbered and by the time they’re 25 they’ll be jumping hurdles and spending tons of cash in order to even get a chance at a blowjob.  

         But I digress…

        Why would I want my daughter to have an initial relationship like the one that I had with Scott…?  

          I’ll tell you why: I fucking controlled it.  

          He was my guinea pig boyfriend.   Two years in a relationship, and I refused to have sex with him.  A few years later–say, college age–and a guy would stop dating a girl if she didn’t sleep with him after, I dunno, a month at most?  But, Scott was a virgin, too, and didn’t know what he was doing.  

          Readers might wonder why an enthusiastic and unrepentant slut like myself refused to give up the cookie.  After all, I’ve had sex with lots of ugly, inappropriate men just because I felt like it.  Scott was a sweet, handsome fella who actually treated me pretty well.

         You see, it was the principle of the thing: Scott was the last one of his guy friends who was still a virgin, and they teased him about it constantly.   He felt very self-conscious about it.

          Even as a teenager, I was totally unsentimental about sex, but tell you what: I wasn’t going to put out just so that his friends would get off his back.  I didn’t have great expectations for my first time, but I did want it to be at least a little more significant, in the guy’s eyes, than a vehicle to end his childhood.  

          So, I dug my heels in, and that was that.

          Don’t feel too badly for the guy.  We fooled around a lot.   He got a lot of orgasms out of the deal, which is more than I got (I couldn’t come until I was 20).  What I got was experience, familiarity with the male body, and a lot of self-confidence. 

           Teenage dating is so ridiculous.  It’s a wonder that anyone survives it.  We’d do stuff like get fast Chinese food and park at…well, a park, and then make out in the back seat.   Having sexytimes in an automobile is so lame.  I’ve done my share of it–the Surgeon, in particular, found it exciting for some reason–but I don’t care if I never do it again.  A limousine is somewhat acceptable because at least you can move around and fantasize that you’re in a hip-hop music video (you wouldn’t believe how much head I’ve given in idling limos outside of Lincoln Center), but the drivers always make me self-conscious.  

         Anyway, let me wrap up this meandering blog post with a blast from the past: a tale of Teenage Sexual Horror.   This is the tale I always tell at cringe festivals, where you’re sitting around with friends and sharing stories about something humiliating or cringe-worthy that happened to you (it’s a terrific, and usually hilarious, bonding experience).  

          Scott and I were fooling around in the backseat of his father’s Ford Taurus.  It was late autumn and very dark outside.  We were parked at a park we often went to because it was isolated and sometimes on the weekends there’d be drag races on a street nearby.  

           There was a lot of groping involved.  My pants were down around my knees.  My shirt and bra were pushed up. The windows were fogged up and fortune-cookie wrappers littered the front seat.  A little grunge rock on the stereo.  Probably Pearl Jam.  

           Above me, Scott froze.  He stopped kissing me (sort of a relief.  I hate to be disloyal, but the guy was a terrible kisser.  It felt like he was trying to eat my head.  I thought that I hated kissing because I had no basis of comparison).  

           “Uh, Margo…?  Are you okay?”

           “Huh?  What?” I asked, confused.   

            He reached up and turned on the overhead light.

            And screamed.

           There. Was. Blood. Everywhere.   I mean, it looked like a fucking scene from a horror movie or CSI.   Blood all over his hands.   Blood on my hands.  Blood on my jeans.   Blood on the seat beneath me.  There was a big bloody handprint on the back of the driver’s seat.  

           It wasn’t my period.  I’d broken my hymen.  Or he had, with his hand (the only good thing about this story: I’d been worried that it would hurt when it finally happened, but I didn’t even feel it rupture).  

           Blood.  

           All over the dove-gray fabric of his father’s car.  His father, the conservative Mormon Bishop. 

          Scott looked like he was being electrocuted.  The expression on his face was memorable.  To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man look so scared.  

          I have to say: I’m really proud of how I handled the situation.

          I reached into the front seat and grabbed some napkins left over from our meal.  I shoved them between my thighs and pulled my underwear up, and then my pants.  Then I told Scott to go to the restroom in the park to wash his hands. I needed to get him out of the car so that I could assess the damage. 

           He went, and then I got up and stood outside of the car so that I could see how bad it really was.

             It was bad.  I’d had no idea that a ruptured hymen could bleed that much.  I was amazed that I hadn’t felt it happen, because the amount of blood spilled looked like it could have come from a stab wound.

          Scott came back with clean hands.  There was blood on his shirt, which he’d tried to rinse out.

           “My parents are going to kill me.  It might be better to just burn the car,” he said.

            “It will be okay.  We need to act fast, though, before the blood dries.  We need cold water, soap, and towels.”

             I went to the bathroom to wash my hands.  Then we drove to WalMart and bought gallons of bottled water and rags and detergent.  We scrubbed the upholstery for an hour, over and over again.  The stain was resilient.  People stared at us as they walked by.  We looked like criminals getting rid of evidence.  We felt like criminals.  

             “If worst comes to worst, I’ll say that I got my period,” I said.

              “But in the back seat?  Why would you be riding in the back seat?”

               “Well, maybe we should spill something red back there, like a cherry slurpee.  I’ll take responsibility for it and offer to pay to have it professionally cleaned.”

               We got out most of the stains.  It took a long time, because we kept finding blood in new places.  Then we sat in the car with the heater on full-blast to dry the fabric.  

                He dropped me off at my house and went home to meet his face.  Poor Scott.  He looked taumatized.  I probably did, too, and I had to sneak past my mother wearing bloody jeans.

             The next morning–Sunday morning–I called Scott every twenty minutes to see if his family had spotted any stains in the back seat.  

             Nobody noticed, and nobody said anything.  We pulled it off.

             I’ve had my share of awkward sexual moments, but I don’t think that anything compares to that.  It’s sort of funny in retrospect, but at the time it was terrifying. 

             I dated Scott for another year.  We went to prom.  Prom was okay.  We went to Ichiban for dinner.  When I was 17, I thought Ichiban was the fanciest place in the world. 

             That’s the story.  I haven’t thought of Scott in years, until I ran into him at the grocery store.  

         

John’s Annual Background Check

     Many times, I’ve thought about whether to tell the story about my relationship with John, my restraining-order Ex, on this blog.  I’ve written bits and pieces along the way, mostly about his stalking me after I left him.  Eventually, I’ll write about him, but I still haven’t got the emotional fortitude.  

       I do, however, have a SHORT John story that’s worth sharing.  I’m sharing it because I think it’s funny, and also as a warning to nice, normal, mostly-well-adjusted people that there are people like this out there.

       Over the weekend, I paid for a background check on John.  I do this every year (and the first five years after the relationship ended, I did it TWICE per year).  I don’t do the background check to be creepy or invasive–I don’t give a shit what he’s up to, and I certainly don’t try to contact him in any way. I do it so that I know where he is.  I would not feel safe knowing that he lived in the same city as myself.  

        I started out with the Google.  The first thing that came up when I Googled his name is that he is living in a $20 million condo on Central Park West, here in Manhattan.

         Huh, I thought.  That’s weird.  His family had some money–I was with him when he folks died, and they left him a gorgeous condo that had to be sold to share with his brother, and about $1.5 million in inheritance.   That’s a lot of money by any objective standard, but it’s not Central Park West.

         Maybe he got married, I thought.  Maybe he married a really rich woman. I supposed it was possible, even though any woman with that sort of money ought to know how to protect it from a scam artist like John, unlike naive 20-year-old Margo here (I was 20 when I met John). 

         I continued to Google.  I found an online resume John had posted on a professional social-networking site. 

         His official job title…?  “President and CEO.”

          Oh, this is going to be good, I thought to myself, and whipped out the credit card, because it was time for the paid background check.  

         The one that tells you the truth

        The one that I should’ve run the minute I started to get serious with him, because it would have saved me years in an absolutely hellish relationship with a narcissistic con artist who makes the Surgeon look like Boyfriend of the Year and Outstanding Humanitarian.  The one I didn’t run until my lawyer did it for me, when I was selling all my shit and moving to a secure, undisclosed location because I was worried John was going to blow my fucking head off.  The background check that showed that John had lied about many things in his past, including where he had worked, where he went to school, and whether his ex-wife had a restraining order against him.

          The background check is a little pricey, but I recommend it.  I will run it on every man I get serious with in the future.  I learned how important it was the hard way.

        Annnnd…..two days later, the results came back.

        John does not live on Central Park West, and he is President and CEO of nothing.

         He is unemployed, or self-employed (doing what? he can’t practice law in California!), and living in a very modest tract house in Truckee, California.  He is a ski bum who sponges off his relatives. 

         Now…nice, normal, mostly well-adjusted readers will be asking themselves: Why would he lie?  Why is there fictitious, self-aggrandizing information about him on the internet?

       Because he’s sick.  Because he’s pathetic.  Because he’s trying to control appearances.   Because he’s meeting women out there in Truckee, and telling them that the house he’s living in is a rental (which it is! HA HA!), and he actually has a $30 million condo on Central Park West, in New York.

       And they will believe him, because it’s on the internet, and he’s got business cards, and correspondence with law firm letterheads on it, and he obviously grew up in New York.  I mean, until it happens to you, you just don’t expect people to fabricate huge parts of their personal history out of thin air.  

         You don’t expect someone to look you in the face and lie to you.  Especially when you mean them no harm, and are being honest with them.

         Learn from my mistake, Ladies.   The background check is your friend.  Men like this are out there (and, to be fair, I’m sure there are women running these cons, too).   

        Don’t let a man like John happen to you.

       P.S.  This is petty, but I admit it: I derive tremendous satisfaction knowing that he is broke, because I’m sure that he finds that humiliating.  WHAT A LOSER.