An Open Letter to The Mathematician

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      The pain of the good memories hurts most of all.  Why did you have to be so compassionate and tender, and do shit like bring me flowers?  I took pictures of all the flowers you bought me.  I showed them to my girlfriends.  

        You held my birds.
   When I was going to get a haircut, I asked you whether you’d like me with that style.  I did that because I always ask the man in my life for his opinion before I alter my appearance in any meaningful way.  

    I took down my online dating profiles.  I turned down dates.  My friend at the Studio, C., passed me the business card of a kinky ad man she said would be a good match for me.  I threw out the card. 

     I wanted to do right by you.  I was so, so careful.  Every decision I made was deliberate.  Nothing manipulative.  No false steps.  I wanted you to know, at the bottom of your heart, that you could trust me with everything, and that I was exactly who I said that I was.  

      I would drift off on the train or at work.  Fantasizing about you. I would fantasize about being your girlfriend.  I would fantasize about making you breakfast and packing you a lunch for work.  The hope that I felt was excruciating.  It was terrifying.  But it felt so good.  I was so scared, but I wanted it.

      You told me about your children, your best friend, people at work.  I would think to myself about how I was going to do my best to make a good impression on them when I met them.  

      I showed your photos to my family when I went home for Christmas.  

      I would fantasize about how I was going to support you.  You made it seem like your ex-wife took advantage of your dutiful personality and then rejected you.  I was going to show you what it was like to be accepted and appreciated.  I was going to make you feel like a hero.  I was going to show you how proud I was of you.  

      I was going to bat for Team Math.  And I was going to play hard.  

       We were going to be a team, I thought.  With a man like you in my corner, I felt like I could accomplish anything in life.  All the advice you gave me.  All the support about teaching.  

      When you bought me an apple and said that you were proud of me, it provoked within me a primal longing that I could not contain.

       When is the last time a man said that he was proud of me, for anything at all?  When is the last time a man saw me for the person I was, and not just for what I could do for him?  

        Why are men so fucking selfish, Mathematician?  Can you tell me why men are so entitled, Doctor?  You have a Ph.D., you must have a few thoughts on the subject.  Elaborate on the ideas you have in your excellent mind.  

       You brought over your cockatoo so that we could have a bird playdate and I could help you groom him.  Your cockatoo really loved me.  Next, you said, I’d meet your dog.  

        Next, I hoped, I’d meet your children. 

        When you confirmed that we were boyfriend and girlfriend, I was going to suggest that we go to the doctor and get tested.  Then I would get back on birth control and we could have sex without condoms.  

        When you put your cock into me, it felt so good that I’d actually go limp for a few seconds before I started moving.  Like you had injected me with a narcotic.  I guess in a way, you were.

        I would have given you anything sexually.  Anything.  I was planning on it.  To say that I was going to expand your horizons is an understatement.  Because with me, there are no limits.  When I love a man, nothing is forbidden.  Sex is one way that I express love, and I never tire of it.  I do it all.  I do it well.  And I will never tell you no. 

        There is no experience on earth like the feeling of being desired by Margo Adler.  My desire is a force of nature.  Why do you think that the Surgeon was so obsessed with me for so long?  

         I’d like to sic the Surgeon on you now, Mathematician.  I really would.  He would annihilate you.  He would drop by your office after work.  

         The only reason I don’t do it is that I know that after he was done killing you, he’d come to my apartment and kill me next.  I know how he’d do it, too.  

       Death might be an improvement in my state of mind and emotional well-being, however.  Because I feel pretty fucking awful, Mathematician.  You made me cry a lot, and I don’t think that it’s over by a longshot.

       But what, where was I…?  Sorry.  I was being morbid and got distracted.  

        Remember when you told me back in November–you were laying on my bed, in my home, “Please don’t think of me as a client?”  Exactly what the hell was going on in your mind, Dr. Responsibility?  

        You didn’t have to do this, you know.  You could have been a friend and a good client.  If it’s business, I really don’t care if you’re married.  I would have seen you on an ongoing basis until I got a real boyfriend and had to knock this professional BDSM shit off. 

      But nooooo, you had to have your stupid, selfish fantasy.  Because that’s what this was all about for you, wasn’t it?  You were having fun pretending that we were developing something real.  It made your boring, sexless life more interesting, didn’t it?  The constant text messages, emails.  Contacting me before class to wish me good luck.  Talking to me about books.  Updates on the score of your squash matches.  Telling me what you were going to do to me the next time you saw me.  

        I was so impressed by how well-trained your dog is.  It takes a lot of discipline and patience to train a dog like that.  I really admired it.  I admired everything about you.

       I wanted to belong to you, like your dog.  I would have taught you how to be my master.  You could have owned me.

        I used to fantasize about our future, and all the ways that I would make you happy.  

       And you let me do it.  

        You ought to hear all of this, because you deserve to know the consequences of your actions and the extent of my pain (and by the way, #1 Dad, how would you like it if someone treated your teenaged daughter this way?).  You deserve to know so that you never do this to another woman ever again.

        But I’m not going to tell you, because after Thursday night, you get NOTHING from me.

        I come from a death penalty state.  It’s a hard, hard fucking state and I grew up in a tough fucking town.  My father supported the death penalty, and he was a cruel, pitiless man.  You tried to lay a hand on him and he’d rip your goddamned arm off.  If he was here, I know exactly what he’d say.

         You’re not going to hear from me, Mathematician, because after Thursday night, I am the judge, jury, and executioner–and I am administering the proverbial lethal needle that you, and our relationship, so richly deserve.  

The Valentine that I bought for you that you WON’T be getting


Why Doesn’t He Have a Girlfriend?

     Monday, October 22:

  I’ve had some interesting conversations with my analyst recently.  

       I was telling her about the Mathematician.

       “He’s a really good guy.  Educated, hard worker, handsome, responsible, loves his kids.  He’s very transparent.  Gentle.  Makes money, too! I don’t know why he doesn’t have a girlfriend,” I said.

      “Yes.  Why doesn’t he have a girlfriend?” 

      Beats of silence.  Excellent question.

      “You know, I really don’t know.  He says he’s too busy with work and kids.”  

       “He doesn’t want to be with someone because he’s too busy?  He’d rather be alone because he has children?  That sounds like an excuse.  And you’ve seen him every week and spent the night with him twice, and he hasn’t tried to have sex with you?  For a normal man, that would be very difficult.” 

      The Mathematician doesn’t have a girlfriend because he’s married.

      How could I have been so shockingly gullible…?

               *                   *                        *                        * 

       I feel like I’m frozen.  For two hours, I have been staring out the window at the falling snow.  

        Then something happens inside and I make an awful crying noise, like a dying animal, and my eyes start to leak.  The front of the camisole I’m wearing is wet.  I’m going to throw it out.  

       How could he do it to me.

       I clamp my hand over my mouth.  I always do that when I’m freaked out.  

         I let him in to my home.  I let him in to my life.  

            *                      *                       *                          * 

        Last night he stayed in the city because he had a presentation. I went to Victoria’s Secret and bought a lacy new bra and underpants.  I bought it in blue because blue is his favorite color.  

        Met him at his hotel room.  We talked about my class and his presentation and goofed around. Everything was happy.  Then we had sex.  For two hours.

       I went to bat for that man.  

       Then we were cuddling in bed.  I screwed up my courage and said, “I really care about you.  How do you feel about our relationship?”

        I really care about you too this relationship makes me very happy

      “Well I want you to know that I’m not with anyone else right now and I’m not looking for anyone else while I’m with you,” I said.  “I’d like to be your girlfriend.  How do you feel about that?”

       I already think of you as my girlfriend and have thought that for some time and you are so smart and beautiful and blah blah blah

      I squirmed around in a frenzy of joy and anxiety.  Then I picked up a pillow and hit him with it.  

      “WHY DID YOU NOT TELL ME THAT SOONER?  I was feeling all insecure!”  I laughed

      “I’m sorry!  I haven’t been in that many relationships!” he said.

       Then we cuddled some more.

       “Is there anything you would like to change about our relationship?  Anything that I can do differently?” I asked.  “How do you feel about me working at the Studio?  I get the impression that it makes you uncomfortable.” 

       “I don’t like it but it’s how I met you, so what can I say without being a hypocrite?  If you work there because you have needs for that, I wish you’d let me fulfill them for you.”

       Perfect answer for me.  We snuggled some more.  I felt so happy.  I felt like my future was so open.  I was proud of myself, that I’d managed to achieve this with a man.  I haven’t had a real, loving relationship in years.

        “This means that we’re boyfriend and girlfriend now, right?” I asked again.

        “Right,” he said.

                      *                        *                 *                  * 

        Then this morning, around 5 PM, I woke up and used the restroom.  

          Then I stared at his profile like a psycho.  Because I was in love.

       Then he woke up and said, “Good morning, girlfriend!” 

        We were hugging.  This motherfucker actually let me give him a big hug and put my leg over his body.

       Then he started talking.

       I don’t remember the start of the narrative, because it was the crack of dawn (before dawn, actually) and I was still half asleep.

       “…the very first time I saw you at the Studio I told you that I didn’t do this often because my wife….”

        My body didn’t move at all, but everything changed inside.  I felt like I was going numb.

       “Wait, wait.  Are you telling me that you’re married?  Not divorced, but married?”

       Divorced.  And re-married.

       I rolled over on my back and stared at the ceiling like a clubbed fish.  My face felt made of wood.  A clubbed fucking fish.  I cannot describe the sensation, or lack of sensation.  It was awful.  It was breathtaking.  

         He was babbling about being married for health insurance and how his wife was basically a roommate and they didn’t have sex and he knew it was wrong to let me think that he was not married and blah blah blah blah blah blah

          I just laid there, staring at the ceiling.  Stunned.  Clubbed fucking fish.

          Then he started hugging me. ” I understand if you never want to see me again but I hope you don’t go everything I told you was the truth I put all my cards on the table now.”

         He wants me to absolve him and tell him that he wasn’t so wrong and that everything is okay.  Now he passed the responsibility to make him feel better on to me, I realized.  That was the first flash of emotion, breaking through the ice.  The emotion was anger.  

        Just like my father.  Just like my fucking father: I broke your heart, but love me anyway.  I can’t help it.  You didn’t stop it from happening.  Fix it. You owe me. Don’t be angry with me.  Yeah, that’s my father, Franz Adler.  Franz Adler–alternately a degenerate junkie or a pitiless killer.  Always, always a black hole of entitlement. 

         “I have to process this.  It may take a while,” I said.  My voice sounded dead to my own ears. 

         “Okay,” he said, concerned, trying to spoon me.

         “Why did you lie to me?” I asked.  I couldn’t think of anything else.

           “I was selfish and didn’t want it to end.” 

          I nodded. I got up and went to the bathroom.  I unwrapped the bath soap and took a hot shower.  I scrubbed all over.  I scrubbed everywhere twice.

          Then I dried myself and put on lotion.  I touched the bathroom door handle and took my hand away.  Touched again.  Took my hand away.  I thought: You will not cry in front of him.  WILL NOT WILL NOT

          I strode out and turned on a bedside lamp.  Then I got dressed: socks (and he laughed at my socks the night before, because they were bright electric blue), underpants, skinny jeans, camisole.  My boots.

        He was sitting up in bed.  He didn’t say anything.  I didn’t look at him.

       I gathered my stuff, piece by piece, and put it in my bag.  I omitted the things he’d bought for us last week at Purple Passion, and the new blue lingerie I’d purchased at Victoria’s Secret.  I left the condoms and the lube in the drawer.  

        I put on my coat and my scarf.  I stared out the window at the snow. 

         “In your future life, I heartily advise you to never do this to another girl.  It’s awful.  And in the future, if you want to come to the Studio, you call first and see if I’m working that day.  If I’m working, I don’t want you to come in.  I never want to see you there.  Will you do this for me?”  Dead voice.  I wouldn’t look at him.

         “Of course,” he said.  He was sitting on the edge of the bed.  He’d put his boxers on. 

      I picked up my bags and went for the door.  When I got here, he came up behind me and hugged me. 

       I dropped my bags.  I let him hug me.  I was a statue.  So far away.

       “I’m sorry that you’re unhappy,” I said, and yes, I actually said that.  I didn’t really FEEL sorry, but I went through the motions.  What a fucking masochistic codependent I am.  Take advantage of me and then I feel sorry for the pain you feel when I leave you, asshole.  

       “I don’t want to lose you,” he said.  “I’ll always be there for you.”

        Miss Margo finally revived enough to feel a little emotion again.  I didn’t tell him what he deserved to hear–not really–but at least I told him something:

       “I won’t be with a married man.  You ought to fix it or leave it. Don’t ever do this to a girl in the future.  I really, really liked you.  I need a partner.  A life partner.”

        THEN I looked at him.  THEN I made eye contact for the first time since he’d dropped the bomb on me an hour ago.  He looked miserable, but so what.  WHATEVS! 

          You will not cry you will not cry you will not cry I told myself. 

         “I was in love with you, Mathematician,” I said.  He needed to know.  He needed to know the consequences of this bullshit.  He needed to know what he cost me. 

        “I’m in love with you.  The feeling is mutual,” he said.

        I picked up my bags and walked to the elevator.  Got a cab–the cabbie was talkative and cheerful the entire way, when I just wanted to be quiet.

       I took another shower and fed my animals and stared out the window for two hours.  
      Then I wrote this.

Shopping with the Mathematician (and Bruise Debacle concluded)

      Well, Monster Bruise was not the end of the world.  

      Ultimately, I took the advice given to me by a thoughtful reader and decided to be nonchalant about it.  The important thing was not to make it a bigger deal than it was by rushing to explain and apologize for it, as if it were some sort of huge scarlet letter.

      I didn’t bring it up.  When he saw it–as, inevitably, he had to–he winced.  Yeah, I saw the face.  There was a mix of emotion there.  I couldn’t tell if he was feeling sorry for my pain, or revulsion, or getting a little reality check about what I do for a living, or what.  

     “Wow.  Someone really got you there,” he said.

      “Yup!  Don’t worry about it.  It looks a lot worse than it feels.  It was just some girls at the Studio.  We were practicing on each other.”

        Yeah, I lied.  I admit it (to you anyway, gentle reader).  I didn’t want him thinking about a man doing that to me.  Even an affable, absurd English barrister I was not sexually attracted to.  

       Then I changed the subject: “What’d you bring in your bag?”

        Nothing like sex to distract a man!  Or Miss Margo, for that matter.  

        The Mathematician was holding a bag from The Apple Store.  Inside of that bag was a bag from J. Crew.  Inside of that bag was plain black plastic bag from Purple Passion DV8, purveyor of fine fetish attire, bondage hardware, sex toys and implements of torture.

     It was his idea to go there, not mine.  He’s really taken to bondage for sex, which is perfectly fine by me–as far as I’m concerned, there is no sexual activity which cannot be instantaneously and significantly enhanced if one partner is tied up. 

       We’ve been using rope.  A lot of rope.  Being a sailor, he has a shit ton of it lying around his house.  

        Now, I like rope as much as the next degenerate sex maniac.  But there’s so much more! 

       “What else is there?” he asked.

      “I’ll pick up some cuffs and stuff next time I’m in Chelsea.” I have a shit ton of that stuff in suitcases underneath my bed, but I am not going to use the stuff I used with the Surgeon and I sure as hell am not going to use the stuff I use on clients, even if it’s good quality. Maybe some people can use their sex gear with everyone, but I’ve never been able to.  It seems rude and icky to me.  Like having sex with a guy for the first time and finding a half-empty bottle of in his nightstand (guys: buy new lube when you get a new girl).  

      “Can’t you get it online?” he asked.

       “Yes, but I prefer to buy my gear in person if possible.  It’s hard to get a feel for the quality online.”

       “Okay.  Can I go with you?”


       Now, if left to my own devices, I’d just as soon get most of my things from The Leather Man on Christopher Street.  But there is no way that I’m taking the Mathematician aka “Dr. Dork #1 Dad” to a hardcore gay sex shop where the staff are tattooed mos wearing leather pants and t-shirts that say “Nasty Pig” on the front.  Especially if they recognize me and start chatting me up….”Miss Margo!  How’s that electro anal plug working out for you?”  Uh-uh, not a good idea…

      Babeland just ain’t gonna cut it for me and I hate those sleazy adult bookstores (though I guess “sleazy” is in the eye of the beholder) with cheap “adult novelties” and rubber dongs all over the wall.  Gross.

      That leaves Purple Passion.  Kind of a freaky establishment, but they have good stuff, and thought that I could take the Mathematician there without scarring him for life. 

       We went on his lunch break.  First we had lunch at an Italian place down the street.  He was there when I arrived and he stood up when he saw me approach the table.  It made my heart do a little flip.  He looked so handsome in his nice work clothes.  He’s so well-mannered.  Any woman would be proud to be meeting him for lunch.

       We shared the tuna ravioli.  I’d come from class and told him a stuffy story about how I’d walked into the wrong classroom and it was EMPTY and I thought that every student had dropped the class because they hated me.  

      “It was like a nightmare!  I screamed!  I really did!”

       “Oh my God!  What happened?”

      “I walked in to the wrong classroom!

      You have to admit, that is pretty hilarious.  

      Lunch was pleasant but still slightly tense.  He’d told me that he’d never been to a sex store with a woman before.  And for me, well…yeah, I was having some insecurity.

        Hey retard!  my mind shrieked.  Why don’t you just throw it in his face again that you’re a dominatrix?  Babeland!  What was wrong with Babeland?  Vibrators and hot pink bondage tape!  Fuzzy handcuffs!  Perky hipster lesbian staff!  You’re taking this guy to a fetish store where THEY GIVE YOU A PROFESSIONAL DISCOUNT! 

       I excused myself to go use the restroom.  While I was in there, I remembered that I had barfed in that bathroom on multiple occassions back when my eating disorder was at its worst.  

      This did not help with my anxiety. 

      (I can vouch that I did not barf up my tuna ravioli this time.  He would have been able to tell.)

      I looked at myself in the mirror and put a gentle smile on my face.  

       He’s paid the bill while I was in the bathroom.  I thanked him for the meal.  

       Then we were off.

       (to be continued…) 

Un-Printers, Douche Canoe Colleagues, and Unacceptable Fantasies

      Allow me to pose a question to the universe:

      Is there such a thing as a printer that actually works?  That actually, you know, prints papers?  Or is this invention a myth–a sort of mechanical unicorn?  

      Tangentially: how can printer manufacturers stay in business selling us these useless machines?  No other industry can get away with making products which don’t work.  If Samsung made a television that wouldn’t turn on when you wanted it to, people would be upset.  Why do the printer manufacturers get away with their not-printers?  Their un-printers?

       I’m in the office making copies of excerpts from The Federalist Papers to hand out in class, and the damn printer is breaking my balls!  

      Who programs these things?  Why are the messages they display when they malfunction so strange and unhelpful?  Like: ERROR 404 or BLOCKAGE TRAY TABLE 2

        I got to school super early because I knew something bad would happen (it always does), so I had plenty of time, but I was still stressed out!  I was debating eating one of my end-of-the-world emergency valium, but I decided that I couldn’t risk brain fog.  

       My irritation bloomed into robust homicidal impulse when some douche canoe with tenure one of my esteemed colleagues came over and reminded me that adjuncts are not allowed to make copies. We’re supposed to use the one in the library.  Yeah, the one you have to pay for.  

        Sorry, tenured douche canoe!  If I subtracted the amount of money that I’d need to make copies of The Federalist Papers for my bright young minds from the princely sum paid to me by this august institution of higher learning, I would have enough money left over to buy…a Happy Meal.  Maybe I should run this by the Mathmatician.  Maybe he could show me a new way to crunch the numbers.  

         Speaking of which, after he gets off work, he’s taking me out to celebrate.  I dunno.  I feel like it might be time to talk about feelings, but I could be wrong, and I don’t want to blow it.  

       I think that he wants me to quit at the Studio…but unless he’s my boyfriend, he doesn’t really have the right to ask me to do that.  If he’s not my boyfriend, it’s none of his business how I make my living.  

        On the other hand, maybe he’s unwilling to move forward with the relationship as long as I keep working at the Studio.  Cause he keeps hinting at it.  He does more than hint at it, actually.  Yeah: “So, Margo, when’s your last day?”  That is more than a hint, I guess.  

        But if he’s not my boyfriend, it’s none of his business when I quit, or what I do.  

         Yesterday he noticed a lump on the back of my head.  He winced.  “How’d you get that?”

         I paused, considering.  It actually took me a while to remember.  

        Then it came to me: I’d recently seen Mr. Wolf.  Mr. Wolf doesn’t hurt me much, but he is partial to yanking on my hair to move me around.  I don’t mind at all, but yeah, sometimes it makes a knot on my head.  

        “I guess I must have got it at the Studio,” I said.  I guess that was a quasi-lie, but not a bad one.  Keep the answer vague.  I do not want the Mathematician picturing, in his mind, me getting dragged around Mr. Wolf’s luxury condo by a motocross jacket wearing, whip-wielding party animal.  Uhh, no.  I do not think that would be good for him to think about.  

         Better that he thinks of me, say, fighting with the stupid un-printer.  Or the tenured douche canoe.  Something normal and non-threatening.  Better he thinks of me doing nice normal things.

      He really enjoys having sex with me, which is good.  We have good chemistry and I’m very attracted to him.  I think that he’s been a little sheltered sexually…but shit, compared to me, the fucking Marquis de Sade was probably sexually sheltered.  Aside from sex with girls (and, obviously, animals)…well, I’ve done a lot.  A lot

       When you’re a woman, you have to be careful how much of this to disclose in a relationship.  Because a lot of guys are thrilled with having a sexually experienced girl…at first.  Then they get intimidated and insecure.  The more sexist or immature men just flat-out can’t handle it….I’ve had this conversation with a lot of women, and they all say the same thing.  

       This one guy I used to date–and I’ve talked about him on this blog but I’m not going to name him now, because I don’t want to humiliate him if he ever read this–became really concerned and neurotic about his penis.  He was upset and worried that I had been with a man with a larger penis.  It was really, really weird.  It was actually a little bit nuts, to tell you the truth, and I got really fucking tired of holding his hand through it.  I mean, I felt badly for him because he was torturing himself for no reason, but for heaven’s sake, I got tired of reassuring the guy that his penis was just fine.  

       Wait, where was I going with that…?  I got off on a tangent. 

      Sex and the Mathematician.  So far, so good, but I know it’s gonna eventally get dicey, because I am a deviant sex maniac.  I’m trying not to worry about it–it’s too soon in the relationship, and I already have enough to worry about because I’m not used to navigating an early relationship with a nice normal guy who is not a psycho.  

        If we stay together, this is going to come up.  Eventually, it will.

      The other day we were chatting in bed and he asked me, “What are some of the things you fantasize about?”

      Now, I know that he was just being honestly curious and trying to get to know me better.  But I had a hard time answering that question.  Know why?

       Because every fantasy that I have would probably make him run, screaming, in the opposite direction.  The sexual part of my head is black as a mineshaft.  I’m pretty comfortable with most of it, but there are times when I still manage to shock myself.  I’m serious.  If you found a videotape of some of my sessions with the Surgeon, you would not be able to watch it.  I probably wouldn’t be able to watch it, and I did it. 

       “I don’t want to corrupt you,” I said, trying to make a joke out of it.

        “I like it when you corrupt me!” he said.  “Corrupt away!”

       Dude has no idea what he’s getting into, I thought.  

       So it’s a dance.  What do you expose him to that won’t threaten him, offend him, or scare him away?  I’ve done this dance with other partners in the past, and I think I’m pretty good at it, but it’s still tricky.  If you misread the other person….or handle something insensitively…the repercussions for blowing it can be severe.  You want them to think “This is fun!” not “This person is a sick, damaged motherfucker!”  

        We started small.  Can’t go wrong with rope and vet wrap.  

       A delightful surprise: this dude is a whiz with the stuff.  He grew up sailing, so he knows all those nautical knots.  He can do them fast, too.  In fact, he’s teaching me!  

         He’ll be here in two hours–I have to jump in the shower and start getting ready.  

         Should I talk about the fee-fees?  I don’t know.  


…Thy Days Would Not Be Long.

One kiss, one kiss of your lily white lips
one kiss is all that I crave…
One kiss, one kiss of your lily white lips
and return back to your grave…

My lips they are as cold as my clay,
My breath is heavy and strong.
If thou was to kiss my lily white lips
Thy days would not be long.

Oh don’t you remember the garden grove
where we used to walk…? 
Pluck the finest flower of them all,
‘Twill whither to a stalk…

          I had two nightmares about the Surgeon this week.

      In the first dream, the Mathematician went to him to have surgery done.  The Surgeon knew who the Mathematician was, but the Mathematician had no idea that the Surgeon knew me.  The Surgeon did the surgery wrong on purpose.  The Surgeon disfigured the Mathematician and made him paralyzed on purpose.  

     Then the Surgeon sent me a bouquet of red roses, with a note attached: That’s what you get.

     I’ve had this dream before, with another man I was dating…

   In the second dream, I rode the subway to watch the Mathematician play a match of squash against a random opponent.  

     I climbed up the stairs of the gym and approached the squash courts.  I saw the Mathematician there immediately, even though his back was to me.  He was playing against another man…someone smaller, wiry, fairer-haired. 
     His opponent.

     I thought to myself, That guy looks awfully familiar! Who is that?

     And then I knew: It was the Surgeon.  He’d found us.

     The coldness in the pit of my stomach. The absolute terror. 

     Did I confront the Surgeon about what he was doing…?  My brain was spinning with possibilities.  If I outed the Surgeon, I would have to explain to the Mathematician where I knew this man from.  

     I sat down on the bench and kept my mouth shut.  I felt like I was made of wood.  The way that it feels when you’re shocked and you have no sensation in your face.  All of the information pouring in through your eyes.  

     The Surgeon is older than the Mathematician, but he murdered him.  He nailed him with the hard little rubber ball every chance he got.  He hit that ball hard–I could hear people watching the game through the glass suck air over their teeth and wince whenever the ball connected.  Every time it did, he would look over his shoulder and smirk at me. 

       It took the Mathematician a little while to realize that his opponent was deliberately being an asshole.  At first he was confused, and then he became angry.  

       This awful situation was all my fault, and I felt powerless to stop it.  It wasn’t simply a matter of me throwing myself on the proverbial grenade.  

       It was powerlessness.  

                       *                      *                   *                 *

        I told these nightmares to my analyst.  She reminded me that in our dreams, we are each character in the dream.  The dream is an utterly organic vision.  

      The monster in your nightmare is you.

      The Surgeon really would behave in this fashion…except for the surgical mutilation–he wouldn’t do that because he’d get in trouble. But he didn’t do it. I did it. I am the nightmare surgeon.  

      When I’m with the Mathematician, everything is great.  

      I am falling in love with this man. 

      When he’s gone, I get so paranoid and afraid.  I tell myself that it’s a bad idea and I need to stop it right now.  I tell myself that I have to protect him from myself.  I tell myself that he wouldn’t want to be with me if he knew who I really was.  I am afraid of wanting to be loved.  Needs are dangerous.  When you give someone the ability to say “no” to you, you give them power over you.  When you are self-contained, you have power.  Autonomy. 

       But this voice is just crazy thinking.  It’s not really real.  The Mathematician doesn’t really think these things.  I am just making stuff up.  

     Trusting and honest.  Trusting and honest and don’t lie no matter what. No hiding.

Let’s Try This Again

    I had a bad night last night.  I woke up at 4 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep.  Worried.  

     An anonymous reader left this comment on my “Margo Freaks Herself Out II” blog entry:

Thé moment you think it might be serious with the mathematician, you have to dump the surgeon. The very moment. Otherwise, the relationship is doomed. This happened a few times in the past. The experiment ran its course. If you do not, in a few months, the mathematician will be out of your life. The surgeon will still be there. I used to like the later. After what he did to you, I think he is a cinder block for your progress.

     Whoever this person is, I think they are absolutely right. 

        I’ve been putting off the Surgeon as much as possible since before Christmas because I’ve felt sleazy and conflicted.  I’ve been a coward about it, I admit it.  Readers of the blog will know that he’s not an easy man to say no to, or to discourage.  It’s easier to just give him what he wants.

      I can’t keep avoiding him any more.  He has some boundaries issues and he does whatever he wants.  If he comes over to my apartment when the Mathematician is here, it’ll all be over.  The Surgeon is not going to say something like “I can’t believe you did this to me!” and leave.  Something ugly will happen.  The Surgeon has absolutely zero problem with confrontation and when he really gets combative…let’s just say that you will never forget it.  He’s never turned it on me full blast, but I’ve seen him do it to others, and it’s a shocking experience.  I do not exaggerate.  Shocking.  

     The Mathematician is not going to put up with that.  He wouldn’t fight with the Surgeon or anything, but he would leave, and he wouldn’t be back.  Because this is something I understand very well about men: they will put up with a lot of drama and bullshit from a woman in a relationship…but they will only do that after they’ve made the commitment.  Once he’s in for the long haul, you can burn his house down and turn your head around like that little girl in the Exorcist.  If you hurt his feelings or spook him with some crazy-girl bullshit early on, however, he’ll shut down emotionally and then he’ll leave.  Men are much more inclined to protect themselves that way than women are.  

         The Mathematician would be gone, and I would be right back where I started…even worse, because the Surgeon would stay mad at me for a long time.  To say that little Margo would be in the doghouse would be an understatement.  I’d take the doghouse over being in the same room with Dr. Punishing Ragaholic any day.  

       He wouldn’t dump me, you know.  This is something I now know about the Surgeon: he will never, ever leave me.  A notorious womanizer, he has made a sport out of dumping women in hurtful fashion.  I am, as far as I know, the lone exception.  Lucky me!  It’s sort of like winning the lottery in hell.  The Surgeon always brags about it, as if he were paying me a compliment.  I guess in his mind, it is. 

        He won’t leave me.  I am the one who is going to have to end it.  

         And I gotta do it before this thing blows up on me.  I’m sitting on an IED.

         The thought of it, though…God it makes me exhausted just thinking of it.  

          It has to be done.  Has to be done. 

         And it has to be done differently this time, because I don’t want three months of harassment and emotional turmoil again either.  I do not delude myself that I can take care of this in, say, a single phone call…but maybe I can do it in a few. 

        I talked to my analyst about this yesterday.  We put some serious thought into it.  The Surgeon should reimburse me for the session fee, because all we did was analyze him. 

         “You have to ruin his attraction to you.  Make it seem that the breakup was to his advantage, and that he remained in control and didn’t lose face.  When you left him last time, you took his control away, and that’s what made him feel so angry and threatened.”

       planning planning planning 

The Mathematician and Building Bomb-Proof Trust

      This relationship shit is kind of hard.

       I had (have?) a relationship with the Surgeon, but that was more like a years-long torrid affair with someone completely inappropriate.  He also happened to be psycho.  We were drawn together on the basis of our mutual characterological flaws…there was a lot going on.  

      To be fair, the sex was spectacular.  It was so good that it was a bad idea.  I’ve never been attracted to a man like I was to the Surgeon.  I would have done anything he wanted.  I did anything he wanted. And it went the other way, too.  He starved me emotionally in every way, but he was a very generous lover with me.  Which is interesting, considering the hostility he had for women.  For everyone.  

      I don’t think that the Mathematician hates anyone

       He’s not my boyfriend yet–or at least I don’t think he is–we haven’t had the DTR (Defining the Relationship talk).  

       I know that I want him, though.  

        I haven’t wanted a relationship with a man in a long, long time.  Years!  Years and years!  Honestly…?  Six years!  Why the hell do you think I was with the Surgeon…?  It was a not-relationship!  He was perfect for a masochistic commitment-phobe!  A part-time quasi-boyfriend!  An absentee landlord.  My master.

      This Mathematician–he’s a good choice.  Do you see it?  He has everything I want, except that he’s not an abusive, sadistic douchebag. He’s a nice normal man.  He’s emotionally complex and I’ve caught glimpses of a few neuroses, but he’s a good person and he’s…he’s loving.  He’s loving and he’s responsible

      And he sees me.  He doesn’t just use me.  I’m not like a prop with him.   When I say something, he pays attention to the words that are coming out of my mouth.  He respects me. 

      Please, God, don’t let me fuck this up.  Men like this don’t just fall out of the sky. 

       Why did his ex-wife throw out this man? What the heck was she thinking?  Boy did she ever blow it.  

       This is what I keep telling myself: be open and emotionally vulnerable and don’t lie don’t lie don’t lie don’t lie don’t lie don’t lie
      He doesn’t know that I’m in AA yet and I don’t have to tell him because it’s not necessarily the right time, but if/when it comes up, or if/when he asks about drinking, I must not lie about it! 

      Same thing for the Surgeon!  Cause I haven’t told the Surgeon what’s going on!  I’m worried that the Surgeon is going to cut my head off!  But if the Mathematician asks about it, I can’t lie or minimize!  

      Or my father!  Or school!  Or the stuff that makes me scared!  Or even my sexuality.  NO LYING!  

      He has to be able to trust me if the relationship is going to go anywhere…if it is going to develop and flourish.  It’s okay to omit certain stuff depending on the level of intimacy and knowledge in a relationship, but if he wants to know something topically relevant, I have no be honest no matter what.  And if he rejects me that is his prerogative, but I owe it to him–and to us–to be honest and do this in good faith.  

      Does that make sense?  Does that make sense?

       There has to be a good foundation.

        Especially given where he met me.  He needs to see me be totally consistent in the application of my moral principles.  No matter how tolerant, how understanding, how mature he is or thinks that he is being…at some later date, he is going to have to come to terms with the fact that he met me at an infamous dungeon where I worked as a dominatrix and a professional masochist.  Men came in off the street, or wherever the hell they came from, and I went into a room with them and did things to them that the Mathematician can’t even imagine.  Bad, good, in between.  That’s a fact.  

        Even the most liberal, not-jealous guy is going to wonder about that, and have to come to terms with it.  

      That’s another reason why the Mathematician has to know–and feel–that he can depend on me, and that I have always been transparent with him, and that I have always done what I said I will do.  When I said that I did not have sex with clients, I meant it.  When I said that I had boundaries, I enforced them.  When I said that I didn’t consider him to be a client, I didn’t, and that’s why I stopped taking his money.  

      He has to trust me.  Otherwise, there can be no love.  

      Bomb-proof.  People fuck up in relationship and God knows I’m not perfect or a perfect partner and maybe he will decide I’m not the girl for him, but he has to have bomb-proof trust in my honesty and earnestness.  In my honor.  

       no lying no hiding no shady bullshit no lying even if it’s The Awful Truth


Margo Freaks Herself Out

     This story is embarrassing to me, but I’m going to share it because the experience was constructive…and also funny.

     A few weeks ago, I mentioned to the Mathematician that I’d been hired at a new job. 

     “That’s great!  Congratulations!  What institution?”

     I froze.  One second.  Two.

     “(Hopelessly Irrelevant) Junior College!” I blurted.

    And here it is, the Awful Truth: I lied.

               *                     *                      *                      * 

     Let me explain my thought process. 

     I do not tell secret job clients about my other jobs, my academic work, where I went to school, or what I studied (or what neighborhood I live in and what state I come from, for that matter).  Or, rather, I don’t tell them the truth about these things. If they inquire–and I’m always surprised at how many are curious–I give them a story that is similar to the truth but not factual (the story is not embellished; I don’t try to make myself more interesting).  I do it because I have to protect my professional reputation (such as it is)…and, to some extent, to protect myself psychologically.  The nature of this work can be very intimate, but the men are still essentially strangers to me, and it is unwise to give strangers personal information about oneself. 

    The Mathematician, though, was no stranger.  He’d stopped being a stranger a long time ago.  I’d told him many true things about myself–even intimate things, things that only people close to me know. I told him that lie after we had sex but before  I stopped taking his money.  I didn’t think of him as a client and hadn’t in some time…but that’s how I met him, and there’s no getting around it.

    When he asked me where I was hired, I froze.  I registered the cognitive dissonance, but there wasn’t time to think about my feelings and our relationship and what was morally correct (and, interestingly, I cannot believe that I hadn’t prepared myself for that inevitable question from him far, far in advance.  I’m usually very good about that).  I had to make my decision in two seconds.  

     Instinctively, I resorted to my default behavior: I lied. 

                     *                             *                                * 
     It was the first lie I’d told him since I invited him into my home and started developing feelings for him.  When we first met, I told him the same cover-your-ass quasi-lies I tell all clients (the Surgeon and I didn’t know each other’s real names for over six months), but the first time I had him over and we went out to dinner, I told him the truth.  There’s still a lot–a lot–he doesn’t know about me (the Surgeon, alcoholism, raging sadomasochism, and a still-unresolved eating disorder spring to mind), but that’s okay because our relationship has not reached a stage where it’s healthy and normal to share serious baggage like that.  

     I realized almost immediately that the lie was a really bad idea, because I felt guilty about it.  I’ve also been trying–truly trying–to treat this man in an honorable fashion, because he’s special and I don’t want to fuck it up.  If things don’t work out between us then it won’t work out, but I’m determined that if it doesn’t work out, it’s not going to be because of some bullshit dishonest behavior or sabotage on my part. 

      The also understood that the lie was a bad idea because it was stupid.  It’s dangerous and imprudent to tell lies which are easily exposed. It’s like posting old, unrepresentative photos of your online dating profile–you can’t pull it off.  You will be busted.  And when you are busted, your date is going to be pissed.  

                    *                       *                                     * 

      Fast-forward a week: the Mathematician asks me when I start my new job.

      Arrrgh!  I couldn’t remember when the new semester started at the fake school I told him about! 

      I frantically did the numbers in my head and announced a date that I hoped to God would be a Monday. 
     He looked at me.  

     I swear to God, gentle reader: his face changed.  I saw it. 

    “What did you say?” he asked.  “(Fake Date)?”

     “Yup!  (Fake Date).” 

     “Oh.”  He looked troubled.

      I changed the subject.

     But a few hours later, I was convinced I’d been caught.  

     (Continued later–I have to run to work!) 

Much Wealthier

       I got the job!

       The interview was almost shockingly unprofessional.  We met at a restaurant because the campus was closed.  I got there early and stood out in the cold, trying to cool down because I was nervous.  I was wearing my best suit.  I must have looked intense, because the passing crackheads didn’t panhandle from me.  

      I found the members of the hiring committee quickly enough.  Incredibly, they were eating

       “Where did you say you were from, again?” one of them asked me.

       I told him.

       Then, the inevitable: he got a puzzled look on his face and asked me, “What do you do out there?”

      When I get this, I always want to say sarcastically: “Why, we ride horses to school and have spitoons in all the classrooms!  I got my degree in Barn Raising!”

       New Yorkers can be aggressively parochial.  They think that the rest of the USA is, like, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Beyond that, they’re stumped.  And no matter how well-read I am, no matter how cultured I become, in their minds I will always be, fundamentally, a barbarian (and possibly a closet white supremacist).  I used to be so annoyed with it that I wore cowboy boots and posted my certificate of completion for firearms training on the fridge, just to fuck with people.  

     We talked shop. 

       *                          *                       *                             * 

     The Mathematician came over to celebrate.  I gave him his Christmas gifts.  We turned on the lights of the Christmas Tree..  

      (By the way–yesterday morning he sent me a text message suggesting that I leave early in order to make it to the airport in the bad weather.  He is very responsible.  I like that he’s a good father.  On some level, I think that I want him to be my dad.  Do you think that’s bad?)

      I asked him how he got the star on top of his hugeass Christmas tree.

      “I have an orchard ladder!”

      “What is that?”

      An orchard ladder has a third leg for support, so that a person can climb up in it and pick fruit!  What a cool, practical invention!  See, that’s the sort of thing I could never come up with.  I have no common sense.  

        We made love.  It wasn’t violent, but I had a lot of fun.  He’s really a handsome man, in an understated, conventional way.  Athletic.  It’s weird, because he’s not the type of man that I’d usually be focused on if I saw him on the street…but knowing myself as I do, that’s probably a good thing (the Surgeon’s look always stopped me in my tracks).  

     I could feel him caressing and holding my body in various positions and knew what he was doing: comparing my size and the proportions of my body to that of his most recent lover (“You’re really tall!” he announced, out of nowhere, when we were in the shower).  It didn’t bother me at all; it’s only natural to do this when we’re with someone new.  I was doing it myself.  He has a big skull.  His hair is shorter and softer.   The Mathematician is tall and strong.  He has big hands and feet.

      Then we lay in bed talking and cuddling.  He is very affectionate.  The Surgeon seldom touches me unless he’s being violent or giving me sex, and he doesn’t like to be touched (by anyone) unless he’s excited, which I always thought was sort of weird for a physician.  Shit–it’s sort of weird for anyone.  Even John, my psycho ex I had to get the restraining order for, liked to snuggle.  

      It was then that I broached The Issue.

      “There’s something that I need to talk to you about,” I said.  “I wasn’t sure when to bring it up–right now or on New Year’s, or in bed or out of it–because I didn’t want to be perceived as manipulative.  But I guess we might as well talk about it now.”

      He immediately looked concerned, and got up on one elbow.  “Uh, okay.”

      “Don’t be scared.  It’s nothing bad.  I just….”  I drifted off, trying to remember exactly how I’d rehearsed the lines.  I totally blanked.  I stammered something and he looked more and more frightened.  Eventually, I just blurted:  “Look, we can keep things just the same if you really want to, but I’d feel a lot better if I stopped taking your money.  It’s important to me that I maintain this boundary and I also don’t want you to think that I’m having sex with you or hanging out with you just because you’re paying me.”

      “I don’t think that.  I never thought that.”

       Okay, good.

       “But I’ve been where you are, when you’re trying to survive and you haven’t gotten started in your career yet, really, and I like knowing that I’m helping you out.  I like knowing that I contribute.  I want you to be happy and successful in life.  Is there anything that I can do?  Do you need money for books or a computer or new clothes for this new job?  It’s no strings attached.”

       He paused.  Then: “I really admire how independent and resourceful you are.  But you seem all alone on your own, without much help.  That’s a hard way to be.”

        I didn’t tell him that I feel like I’ve been an adult since I was about fourteen years old.  TMI.

      I thought about it for a minute.

      “Tell you what.  I’ll accept the things from you that I’d accept from a boyfriend who makes more money than I do.  You can always take me to eat or help with groceries, or books, or travel.  Clothes and sex toys if and when you feel like it.  If we go to the movies you can get the tickets.”

      “Okay.  Let me know if I can help with anything else.”

      And that was that.t.

      I’m out $200.

     But I feel much, much wealthier.   

Greetings from WallyWorld Country

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   Speaking of Mom’s dog (so cute! SO CUTE!), I found some of the dog’s leftover pain medication from when she had surgery.  It seems to be the same sort of synthetic morphine humans take (Drug Monkey!  Where are you now?).  Now, my Sponsor wouldn’t approve of this, but…do you think that this stuff is safe to eat?  

       Or is eating your dog’s leftover codeine some disgusting, degenerate junkie behavior?  

       I guess I could ask the Surgeon, but he’d probably tell me to airmail it to him.  Kidding!  Kidding!

      I’ll leave it in the medicine cabinet.  If the dog ever got sick and needed pain relief and didn’t have any because it ate it while watching Jeopardy!, I’d feel like a complete scumbag.  

       Bad news and good news: bad news is that I have to go home to NYC a day early and it’s making my Mom sad.  

       Good news is that I have to go home early cause I got a job interview!

        A normal job, too!  A job that would utilize the knowledge, skills, and abilities I cultivated in many years of college!

       I’m being sarcastic, of course.  My secret job utilizes many of these talents, also.  Grad students and untenured academics are the lowest of masochistic slaves.  The Dean of my last program is a sadistic control freak who might actually be the only man I’ve ever met who is a bigger egomaniac than the Surgeon.  I’m not kidding. 

       It’s for a teaching job.  The pro who was supposed to teach the class next semester quit all at once, and they need to fill the position ASAP.  Margo to the rescue!  If I do the math, I think that it pays approx. $0.72/hour.  (Says the Mathematician: Don’t depress yourself and do the math!  I used to be an adjunct!  Don’t do the math!)

      Even if the wage is crap, I’ll do it if I get the job.  The tutoring job that I have now pays well, and if I do just two or three independent secret job sessions a week–which I could do in a day now!–I’ll be comfortable.  Heck, I could save the secret job stuff for the weekend, and devote my weekdays to living…like a fulltime professional academic. 

       I could have a normal life.  Modest, but normal.  Scheduled.  No more rushing from school to the Surgeon to the insanity at the Superstudio to AA, lying every stop of the way.  I mean, I’d still have to lie…but just a little.  

       I could have a man in my life.  Not the Surgeon or these party animals like Mr. Wolf (bless his heart) who jump out of planes for recreation.  A normal man, for a normal life.  Or as normal as I think I could possibly get anytime in the immediate future.  

       Which brings us to… 

       The Mathematician sent me an email with pictures of his dog and his huuuuugeass Christmas tree.  I am not exaggerating–it really is a hugeass Christmas tree.  Where do you get a tree this big? Is it a fucking redwood?  How did he get it in the door?  How do you get the star on top of it?   

       I turned my computer around towards my mother so that she could take a look at the screen.  

       “Awww!  He’s a very nice-looking man!  And what is that big bird doing out of its cage?” asked Mom.

        “The bird is his friend!” I explained.  

         Maybe I could be his friend…?

         Okay, enough heavy stuff.  Want a peep inside life in the redneck state of my birth?  My homeland, where part of my soul will always hail?

        Today, I went with my Mom and my brother to WalMart.  It was not my idea.  Mom wanted to buy a big light-up Snowman decoration for the front lawn–it was 70% off on the after-holiday sale.  My brother needed ammo.  Lots of ammo.  

       They sell ammo in KMarts here.  

        Anyway, I know that some of my New York readers may have never been inside of a WalMart.  I find them bizarre and unlikable for a number of different reasons.  One reason is that they are HUGE.

       No exaggeration.  HUGE.  

       WalMarts are so big inside that even though you can see the ceiling and it’s climate-controlled and artificially lighted, you feel like you’re outdoors.  Or at least I do.  Yeah.  I feel outdoors.  

        The only thing remotely comparable that I’ve ever experienced is an indoor football stadium.  

“Does this place have an echo?”  Why yes, yes it goes.  And a pharmacy, a nail salon, a hair salon, a McDonald’s, and a plant nursery.  And an optometrist.  Jesus Christ.  

     This fish display in the pet section just about killed me.  For fish, this truly must be hell on earth.  Well, I told myself, you can’t save them all! 

Fish Hell: “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.”
      My camera could not adequately capture the horror of this image: a huuuuuge long table with acres and acres and acres of inferior, diabetes-provoking pastry.  It boggles my mind.  Full disclosure: I love those cheapass sweet sugar cookies with the soft icing on the top.  Or at least I did. Those ones in the very front.  I think I last had one in 2008.  So sad.  

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