Miss Margo Offers Sensitivity Training

    After rolling out of bed this morning to find yet another email from a complete stranger informing me that AA and 12-Step Programs “don’t work” and that the recovery rate for addiction is only 5%-10%, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer lessons in sensitivity and tact.

     Repeat after me: It is not helpful to tell an addict who is fighting for her life, and whose last relapse almost killed her, that her recovery program doesn’t work.

     Let me reiterate: It is not helpful to tell an addict who is fighting for her life, and whose last relapse almost killed her, that her recovery program doesn’t work.

      I do not need YOU, random strangers of the internet, to “educate” me about alcoholism or the problematical aspects of AA.  Besides the fact that I am a highly intelligent woman and a critical thinker who has read the medical literature and most of the important books on these subjects, I have extensive experience as a fucking atheist in AA in New York.  I have been to almost every fucking meeting in Lower Manhattan.  I am intimately familiar with the “problems” of AA.  I do not need you to tell me about them, but thank you, so very much, for your unsolicited opinion about why I am a drunk and what I can, or cannot do about it.

       You don’t have to like AA.  I don’t like it myself.  But whatever you think about it, for most addicts, it is the only game in town.  If you want to spam your Salon and Psychology Today (truly august publications, btw, real top-shelf reading) about how AA is a useless religious cult to anyone, maybe you should send them to members of the psychiatric establishment, because unfortunately this is the best that modern medicine has to offer alcoholics.  

      More importantly, I want to ask: what is wrong with you to want to discourage or erode the hope of someone who is trying to survive and build a healthy, fulfilling life?

       Seriously.  What the fuck is wrong with you?  Do you have any idea how scared and miserable–and, indeed, desperate–most people are when they finally resort to AA?  

       If someone had cancer, would you forward them an article saying that you really hoped they survived, but btw, this is the success rate of the chemo?  5%–10% recovery rate?

      No?  You wouldn’t do that?

      Then why are you doing it to me?


      Children are shockingly easy to mind-fuck.  

      I witnessed quite a spectacle this morning when I was out and about, doing my shopping: a mother torturing her child.

      I haven’t had any experience with children since I was a child myself, so it’s difficult for me to guess the ages of the young ones, but this one looked to be about five years old.  Mom was standing at the steps to the subway station.  The boy was eight feet away.  He was frozen.  He was crying.

      Mom was telling him that it was time to get on the train and go home to receive his punishment. 

      The boy shook his head.  He was scared.  He didn’t want to go to his mother, but what could he do?  There was nowhere else to go.  He was trapped. 

       He kept say no, and that he was sorry.  There was a lot of emotion in his voice and he seemed close to panicking. It was a touching display of groveling, really.  I didn’t learn how to beg until adulthood.  It was forbidden in my parents’ households, presumably because it was too similar to complaining.  My father banished me from his sight for even crying in front of him (he did give me a pass when the cat, Tiger, died).

       Mom of the Year here looked very composed.  That’s what made such an impression on me: this wasn’t a case of a tired, harried adult losing her temper and snapping at a brat, or even swatting his ass.  A parent could have the patience of Job and still get exhausted with children’s histrionics from time to time.

       Nope.  Mom of the Year here was enjoying herself.  I saw that very clearly.  I’d recognize her expression at a thousand paces.

       I’m not in the habit of meddling with strangers–I would sit in a busy waiting room all day without once initiating conversation with the person next to me–but in this case, I felt obliged to say something.

       “It’s easy to mind-fuck children, isn’t it?  A person could do it all day.”

       Mom looked at me, brought back into reality, and the spell was broken.   She walked to her child, grabbed him by the collar, and started towing him to the stairs. Poor little guy.  He’d be better off in an orphanage.  Children are slaves in our society.  It makes me sick sometimes to think that anyone who wants to can essentially get their own little slave and do whatever they want to them.

      Occasionally, in my role as a professional sadist, I will make the object collude with me in his own oppression.  I don’t do it often because it’s psychologically dicey for me, but I have done it.  More than once. 

        I tell them, you know.  I warn them to be careful with what they choose to tell me…or any other mistress, for that matter.  I tell them that I am paying attention, studying them, listening carefully as they give me the keys to unlock them.  To dismantle them.  My father is the cruelest person I have ever met.  I reject him insofar as I am able, but that cruelty is still my birthright, and I have a talent for it.  It is one reason I do not want children.

       I got a priest this week…the fourth one of my career (that I know of, of course.  If they come in wearing street clothes and don’t mention their vocation, I’d have no idea).  Culturally, I suppose, I’m still a Roman Catholic, but in the last few years I’ve become so anti-clergy (of all religions) that I can barely sit through Mass on Christmas, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I call one “father” again. It’s not even the stupid religion that gets on my nerves, it’s the power of the institution.  It angers a lot of them if you don’t address them by their titles, which really tells you something about how they consider themselves.

       He told me his secrets.  I listened carefully and absorbed it, and I told him that I was going to use it to hurt him.  He knew, and he told me anyway, because that is what he wanted.  I took it all in, examined it, and turned it over in my head, while I got in touch with my father.  

       I distilled the priest’s secrets down to a poison, because that is my father’s talent, which he passed on to me.  

      I whispered to him in the dark, and, like King Claudius, I dripped his poison back into his ear. 

       The first thing that I made him do was to look into the mirror and slap himself.

       This is my house, and there is no escape.

       Nobody here gets out alive.

Scottish Fold Buys a Slave

      He was sleek and thin and had a perfectly spherical head, and he resembled nothing so much as a Scottish Fold kitty-cat:

I Am Master Scottish Fold

      “Let’s begin with a visualization exercise,” he said.

      “Yes, sir,” I said.

       “Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing in the sunshine.  You can feel the sand under your feet.  You are standing on the banks of a river.  You can hear the sounds of nature around you.”

       “Okay.”  For what it is worth, I really did try to imagine this.  I was slightly intrigued.  This scenario was new to me.  Most male doms, God love them, have zero creativity.  This guy came in with something new.

       It was difficult to imagine being on a riverbank, however, because I was actually standing on the hard cement floor of the Studio, in Manhattan.  The Studio is the most artificial, unnatural place I can imagine.  It is basically a stage, or a movie set. 

      But I tried.

      Dom Scottish Fold continued: “You are standing on the riverbank, feeling the sun on your skin and listening to the birds sing.  You are standing on the bank of the Nile.”

       The bank of the Nile.  The Nile?  Well, okay.

       “You are completely relaxed.  It’s four thousand years ago.  You don’t have to worry about any of the stresses of modern life. You don’t have to worry about health insurance!”

        No, I guess 4000 years ago, I would not have to worry about health insurance.  

        “You don’t have to worry about car insurance or home repair!”

         I started to bite the insides of my mouth to keep smiling.  I didn’t want to be disrespectful, but the ridiculousness of the situation was quickly approaching terminal velocity. 

        “You’re a slave and I just bought you at A SLAVE AUCTION!” said Scottish Fold.

         Must not laugh.  Must not laugh.  Under no circumstances are you to laugh.  I was biting my tongue so hard that it hurt.  I am just a slave in ancient Egypt, purchased by a Scottish Fold cat, and I am standing in a commercial dungeon in New York on Friday night, and what am I doing with my life?  This is weird, this is weird, this is weird.

       Scottish Fold then proceeded to beat me with the belt of a terrycloth bathrobe.  It caused no pain whatsoever.  He was a nice man, was Scottish Fold, and he didn’t really want to hurt a girl.  He just wanted to pretend.  

The White Dress: Part II

      He had one of those cars where you’re afraid to touch anything inside of it, the knobs and buttons, the suede upholstry.  It was immaculately clean and reminded me of John’s Audi. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like riding in stranger’s cars.  It feels spooky.

       He wasn’t very talkative, which confused me.  If he was paying me to hang out and be professional girlfriend, he should be chattering on self-importantly about his job or bragging or complaining about his wife or maybe even asking me about myself, who knows?  Clients will talk about anything!  Anything!

     He was pretty quiet…and not because he was nervous.  I did not detect first-date jitters. 

     What I detected, insofar as I was able through my own anxiety, was tension.

     The AC was on full blast but I did not feel comfortable asking him to turn it down.  I sat there covered in goosebumps while the fan blew arctic air in my face and made loose strands of hair fly all around.  We made a little small talk about the town, which was picturesque and, to my eye, artificial.

      After hunting for a parking space, we went to the Farmer’s Market and browsed.  He didn’t buy much–only some strawberries.  I did not get the impression that he shopped for groceries or made his own food.

       He wanted to hold my hand.  His hand was a bear paw and it swallowed mine completely.  This man must have been able to palm a basketball. I was not really comfortable with it, but I let him, and I tried to keep smiling.  It was challenging because he wasn’t giving me feedback about whether or not he was enjoying himself (or me).

       At one point I moved to put sunglasses on because it was so bright out, and he told me not to wear them.

       “Why not?” I asked, confused.

       “The dress looks better without it.”

       “Well, okay.”  Your dime, buddy, I thought.

       “Ready for ice cream?” He asked.

       Oh fuck, I thought.

        Oh hell no I wasn’t ready for ice cream, I hadn’t eaten ice cream in two years.  No candy, no sweets, no burgers, no fries, no junk, el zilcho.  I had completely cut out all the junk from my diet, aside from the whiskey I was soaking my brain in every night after class, of course.  My eating disorder was almost as close to as bad as it was going to get.  

      There was no way that I could eat ice cream.  No way, no way, no fucking way.  I would have a panic attack.  

       I had to get out of it…but how?

      “You know, I had a burger at Shake Shack and a milkshake right before I got on the train.  I think I’m at maximum ice cream saturation.  Maybe a Diet Coke?”

       “But I want to buy you ice cream,” he said.  He did not let go of my hand.

        I was starting to feel freaked out.  He was pressuring me and I was in a weird town and all my stuff was back at his house and I didn’t want there to be any problems or hard feelings.  He was also paying me $800 to be submissive to him for two hours, most of which was in public and not requiring any significant work or sacrifice on my part (or, at least, that is how I understood it at the time, when I was mostly new…I had yet to learn that emotional labor is often the hardest part of the job).  Until a few clients molested me or ripped me off for my fee, I felt very honor-bound to live up to my end of the deal.  

         What could I do?


       “That’s better,” he said, brightening. He patted my hand.  “Off we go!”

       Then he bought me a ginormous chocolate ice cream cone from a shop by the street.  We had to wait in a line full of parents and screaming, laughing children.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the huge tubs of ice cream doom.  I felt like I was awaiting my execution.

       “Now be careful not to get that on your dress, sweetie,” he told me, and passed it over.

        Now…you might think this is a funny situation.  Oh, look, silly girl is afraid of an ice cream cone!  Ha!  She’s going to have to eat it anyway!  Look at her freak out over ice cream!

       Let me tell you: if you have an eating disorder, there is nothing funny about this.  I have been in therapy groups where highly intelligent, accomplished young women start to cry because they were forced to eat half of a pop tart.  

       But he was standing there, staring at me expectantly like a dad who might get angry at any moment…so, yes, I ate the ice cream, and it was so sweet that I thought I was going to throw it up at first.

      He smiled again, relaxed, and started to lead me around by the hand.  I was looking around desperately to see if there was some opportunity to chuck the ice cream–a garbage can I could drop some of it into, a handy Golden Retriever, anything.

      Just drop it on the ground and ruin it, I thought.

      I looked up at my companion and decided that I didn’t want to do that.  I didn’t want to do that at all

       I continued to eat.  

       I ate that entire fuckin ice cream cone.

      He seemed like he was in a good mood now.  We were approaching a field that had a play area for the kids.  It had one of those big inflatable plastic castles with balls on the floor for swimming and splashing around.

      We watched the kids romp around for a minute.  For some reason, it was making me feel guilty, probably because it reminded me of doing stuff like that with my mom, and also because I felt like I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing in front of children…even though I was just standing there with a guy.

       “It’s too bad you’re too big for the rides now,” he said, more to himself than to me.

        And with that, I finally understood.

       About time.  It’d taken me over an hour.

        I looked down at my dress.  At the cloth-covered buttons up the front.  At the dainty little sleeves.

        The dress looked weird because it was the style of dress a little girl would wear to a nice birthday party or to church.  

         It wouldn’t look out of place on a doll

        It was time to drive back to his house.

The White Dress: Part I

      He sent the train tickets in advance and paid me a substantial deposit for my time, so I traveled to meet him.  It was one of my first independent pro-sub sessions.  I also didn’t screen him, because I didn’t yet know how.

      I got off at the train station and took a cab to his house (he’d offered to send a driver, but I didn’t feel safe about that, which is rather ironic).  I was almost totally unfamiliar with South New Jersey outside of Trenton, and this place was most assuredly not Trenton.  It was the suburbs right before the geography becomes bucolic.  Big houses set back from the street, with rolling green lawns.  The house the cab arrived at had a privacy fence made out of hedges.  

     I tipped the driver an extra $25 and asked him to wait for me for an extra 15 minutes.  I didn’t give him an explanation, but I was afraid that Bluebeard or The Headless Horseman was going to answer the door and I was going to have to run, shrieking, back to the cab.  

     The walkpath to his front door seemed approximately as long as the Appalachian trail.  I was wearing sensible low heels that clicked on the stone.  I looked back over my shoulder to see if the cab driver was still there, and he was.  He waved at me.

      I couldn’t find the bell, so I had to use the knocker.  

      The first thing that struck me about him was that I had to turn my face up to see him.  I almost never have to do that to look into a man’s face.  He’d described himself in our email exchanges, but he’d omitted the fact that he was at least 6’4″ tall (I might have inferred it, though, since he’d told me that he played Rugby in college.  Why do clients feel the need to tell me, in their opening greetings, about the sports they played 40 fucking years ago, before I was even born?  But I did not know what Rugby was, except that it involved a ball and meatheads). 

      Aside from his unusual size, he looked like a perfectly average white guy pushing 60.  His hair was balding and he’d cut it Bruce Willis-short.  He was wearing a gray tweed jacket.  Wasn’t ugly, wasn’t handsome.

       “Well, you must be Margo!”  He gave me the old up-and-down, which is pretty standard, and then invited me inside.

       The house was cool and utterly quiet and I knew instinctively that we were the only people home, but he did have two friendly Husky dogs, and petting them relaxed me significantly.  We made small talk about the train ride.  Then he brought me a bottle of water and asked me if I’d like to use the restroom.

        In the bathroom were two boxes and an envelope.  The envelope contained the remainder of my fee.  The boxes contained some clothes that he wanted me to wear when we went for a walk around town.

        In the emails I’d asked him, What sort of clothes are we talking about here?  I’m not into any sort of exhibitionism and I prefer to be discreet in public.

        He’d assured me that the clothes would not attract attention.

        I was hoping that the dress would either be a really nice sundress or a cocktail dress, or even something that I could wear to the office, something I normally couldn’t afford to buy myself.

       The dress in the box was a nice dress (I guess…I mean, it looked well-made), but it was not something that I would have purchased for myself.  I picked it up and shook it out, trying to make sense of it.

      It was white cotton (but soft, not stiff) with a high neck and a peter pan collar.  The sleeves were short and slightly puffed, and it had an empire waist.  The length was odd, because it was unfashionable for ladieswear that year.  It came down below the knee, almost to the shin, and there was a little ruffle on the hem.

      It looked like a very feminine sundress.  But there was something weird about it.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, other than that it looked a little bit old-fashioned, or maybe demure would be the right word.

       I put it on.  It was a little tight under the arms, but otherwise, it fit fine (I’d given him my clothing sizes).

       I looked at myself in the mirror.  It was pretty.

      In the other box was a pair of new shoes.  I was hoping that they wouldn’t be heels, because I didn’t want to have to teeter around town in stilettos.

     They were brown lace-up loafers.  I had a pair almost exactly like them at home.  Mine were Dexters.  I didn’t recognize this brand.

       “That’s very nice!” he said when I came out, and made a little turning move with his hand so that I should turn and he could see the back.

      The happy Huskies ran over to me and I extended my hands to rub their ears.

       “Don’t get dog hair on that dress,” he snapped.

       It startled me and I pulled my hand back.

       “Oh, sorry,” I said.

       “No problem!” He jingled his car keys in his hand.  “Ready to go into town?”

Welcome to the Doghouse!

     I have a ton of chores to do today, including the laundry, floors, and obligatory cookie-baking, butttttt….just had to share this one.

      Last night’s session was one for the record.

      Before I begin, I want to state that I am not trying to make fun of this guy.  I am merely recording his behavior.  He really was this weird.

      Yesterday I was at the Studio and about to leave for the evening (of course) when the Russian manager came in and asked me if I could do an outcall.  He was safe.  She knew him.

      “Well, I guess.  What does he want?”

      “Talk to him yourself.”  She handed me the telephone.

       Some sissy crossdresser coked out of his mind (I am so glad I have never been interested in drugs, besides the awful peasant alcohol.  I could never work nights).  

        My heart sank.  Crossdressers are a lot of work.  I certainly don’t mind working hard for my money, but they are high maintenance and emotionally exhausting and most of them want to share offensive and/or silly fantasies about being degraded as a woman, which always sticks in my craw.  I feel that if I’m going to be that objectified, I ought to be getting paid submissive rates.

      BUUUUT….the coked-out crossdresser promised to tip well, and I needed the money (the story of my life), so I threw a bunch of stuff into a gear bag and started to get dressed in back.

      “Has anyone ever had a session with ‘Trixie’ at the UN Plaza?” I asked the other women in the locker room as I put up my hair.

       “Get the money up front and hide it and make sure he doesn’t steal it back,” said one.

       “Wait till you see his apartment,” said another.

       “You don’t have to bring an outfit.  He has things for you to wear,” said another.

        Oh God.

        Hopped into a cab and turned into a private driveway by the UN headquarters.  Trixie’s apartment was in a gargantuan highrise with views of the East River and the UN Headquarters.  The lobby was vacant inside except for the concierge and enormous arrangements of lillies and orchids.  

       I was wearing a suit, which is what I almost always wear when I go on outcalls, but I still always feel uncomfortable getting by the doorman in doorman apartment buildings.  Hotels are another story–they don’t bother me at all, because the staff have seen everything and they are in the business of discretion.  Doormen in apartment buildings have more responsibility to provide security for the residents, and they check you out a little more.  

      Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you do not, indeed, have a blinking red neon sign over your head that says I AM A SEX WORKER AND I DO NOT BELONG HERE.

       This doorman was not a dick.  He buzzed me right up.

       “Have you ever been here before?”

       “Follow the red carpet to the elevators.”

        So I did.  I took pictures with my cell phone.  I tried to make it look like I was texting.  I’ll try to post them later.

         It was creepy-quiet in the place.  I don’t know where all the UN people were.  Probably snug in their beds, like most responsible adults who are not prodommes or coked-out crossdressers.

         So, I find the right elevator and ride it up to the 10th floor, and then I’m walking down the hall, peering at the doors to find the one where Trixie lives…

        …and this door opens right beside me like something out of The Shining, and that is how I meet Trixie.

         “Mistress!” he screamed, pulling me inside and slamming the door.

         Hold onto your hats, folks, things are about to get WEIRD.

        Guy was about my height with a blond wig and huge black sunglasses.  He left the sunglasses on throughout the session.  He did this, I am almost positive, because he did not want to be recognized.  Miss Margo, pro-domme to the Stars!

       He was also wearing this weird black outfit that looked like a bodysuit/leotard with spanx over it and a corset and an open-cup bra.  He had tits.  Not implants, they just looked like fat man-boobs…but they were, I daresay, larger than mine. 

       Oh, and he had a black leather collar with huuuuuge black spikes on it.  Very heavy metal.

        He offered me some champagne, which I declined, and then he offered me cocaine, which I declined, and then he offered me ecstasy, which I also declined.  

      I took a look around his apartment, and I realized what the other women at the Studio meant when they said it was “special.”

       It was huge, with a wonderful view of the river.  Fresh floral arrangements.  Nice furniture.  Looked like a woman had decorated the place.  There were expensive-looking oil portraits on the walls.  You know when the painting is so expensive that it has a fancy frame and those special lighting fixtures over it that keep it constantly illuminated in just the right way?  There were lots of those.

      And then…there were the knick-knacks

      Knick-knacks.  Like, the crap your grandma picks up when she goes yard-saleing.  

       Let me give you an example: on the coffee table, there was a delicate Asian vase, and sitting right beside it was a large, clumsily rendered ceramic Scottie dog with a red bow tied around its neck.

       In fact, there were garage-sale-quality ceramics of dogs all over the place,  including a really ugly Dalmatian umbrella stand by the door.

       And there were framed photographs of a white Jack Russel terrier.  That’s fine.  I have a photo of my old dogs on my walls, and Parrot, too…but this man had a dozen photos of the Jack Russel.

       (There was no evidence of a real dog–no hair or dog dishes or doggie beds or toys.  I guess the Jack Russel was dearly departed.)

       He took me to the bedroom, which was easily the size of my apartment, and turned on the porn.  I hate having to endure clients’ porn.  But whatever, I’m there to work. They can watch whatever they want to.

       He gave me a latex outfit to change into (thank god it was a 2-piece so I wasn’t struggling with it in the bathroom all night) and paid me.  I counted the money in the bathroom and hid it in a secret compartment of my gear bag.

       “There’s a lady feeding the dogs in the next room!  She might come out and say Hello!” Trixie screamed through the door.

        (There was no woman.  There were no dogs that were not ceramic in that apartment.  I am sure of it.)

        The session was the typical tedious crossdresser sissy horseshit.  Do all these guys download their programming from the same sissy computer software program?  They all have fantasies about being “whores” and sucking cock, and they always want the domme to be their pimp.  I realize that I’m in the business of fantasy fullfillment and I really do try to be non-judgmental, but do you know how tiresome it is for me, a real-life woman and sex worker, to hear this zillionaire old white dude at the UN Plaza parody my life and sexuality for me (as he understands it to be)?

       He kept his cocaine in a little jar shaped like a dog.  A glass jar shaped like a dog.

       His phone kept beeping.  I’m sure he had to give a talk about fucking Crimea this morning.  “HANS VERE ARE YOU VE NEED TO PLAN FOR DE MEETINGK!”

       He hired me for two hours and we finished up in an hour and a half, so YAY.  I’m sure he hired another domme because I wouldn’t use drugs with him.

       I made $350 after management took its cut.  That included a tip, which Trixie was gracious enough to provide.

       This isn’t the best-written blog post because I’m in a hurry, but I just had to share.  That apartment!  

On Not Being Worldly (and Why It Matters)

Update 3/26/14  7:00 AM:  
     BUMPED this blog post because of the excellent comments thread.  Go read it (grumpyoldswitch’s final postings are in reverse order).  I wish my blog had more than 8 readers.    I invite anyone who has an opinion to weigh in.  You may comment anonymously.

                *                                  *                                * 

 Both of my parents grew up in poverty that would be nearly unimaginable today.  When I hear that the Germans had the best education system in the world at that time, I am a little skeptical, because my grandparents were pretty uneducated, parochial, and suspicious of anything cosmopolitan.  I mean, decades in the US and they wouldn’t try to eat spaghetti or a fucking taco. I am surprised the US let them in.

     My father was sensitive about being a poor boy and tried to become middle class.  For a while, he even succeeded.  He had a lot of native intelligence and graduated college.  After the Army and the Peace Corps, he taught History and German while studying for an advanced degree.  Readers will know that teaching would not be the best fit for Franz Adler’s, uhh, personality.  That didn’t work out very well. Then the wheels started to come off when he was about the age I am now.  He couldn’t hold it together.  He became homeless for a time and was institutionalized.  We were on welfare.  When I was old enough to work, I supported him.

     My mother got a decent job and worked very, very hard.  She now enjoys a modest but comfortable retirement.  She does not discuss her childhood.  There are no pictures of it in the home and I don’t know my grandfather’s name or what he looked like.  I do know that my mother, like her many siblings, was born at home.  

     I’m very well-educated and my parents taught me good manners, so I can pass myself off as being middle-class, but, really, I’m not.

     My Ph.D. program was full of comparatively rich kids and the professors were pretty well-off, too.  My best friend there was a fellow hick from the provinces.  We had many long conversations discussing culture shock.  Then I started working at my secret job and I met the Surgeon, and I started spending a lot of time with rich people.  Rich men, specifically.  

      It was an interesting experience.  Rich people never intimidated me, because I am educated.  But one thing that struck me, over and over again, was just how little I knew about the things that these men took for granted. 

       The Surgeon grew up upper-middle class and he’s an insane social climber.  Now he has millions of dollars.  He was constantly shocked at all the things I didn’t know.  He thought it was funny, but it also concerned him, actually–he was frightened for me at times–and he started going out of his way to teach me things that he thought I needed to know about the world.  

         The first time I got a nice suit, I thought that the pockets were fake.  I was actually complaining about it at school (“$200 for a suit, and it doesn’t have pockets!”) and one of my professors pulled me aside and gently showed me that the pockets were there, they were just sewn shut. 

        The first time I flew on an airplane, I took out my wallet to pay for the meal.  This was when meals were inclusive.  The stewardess looked at me like I was crazy.

       I did not know what a Roth IRA was.  I did not know how the stock market worked.  I did not know how to buy a stock.  I was completely ignorant of all banking terms.  I understood the primary mechanisms of capitalism because I’d read a lot of Karl Marx.  It was all theory.  I had absolutely no practical experience with anything involving money. If you handed me $200,000 in cash and told me that I had to buy a house, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do or where to go.

       One thing that made me angry during the housing crisis was seeing all these rich priviliged blowhards on TV screaming and complaining about all the stupid poor people buying houses they couldn’t afford.  What they don’t understand is that when you’re poor, nobody ever teaches you this stuff.  Fixed or adjusted rate mortgage?  What?  Three-quarters of Americans don’t graduate from college.  We are a nation of innumerates.  Really poor people can’t even read a bus schedule.  How the fuck are they supposed to avoid getting taken advantage of by a credit card company?

       Another thing you have to remember about growing up and living poor is that you are absolutely at the mercy of the institutions that control your life.  Cops tell you what to do, the courts tell you what to do, the welfare office tells you what to do, schools tell you what to do, the banks tell you what to do, the IRS tells you want to do, and, of course, your boss and the church tells you what to do.  You get used to it.  One thing that shocked me–astonished me, really–about observing the behavior of wealthy people, or even middle-class people, was their contempt for authority, and they way that they felt free to do whatever the fuck they wanted.   Cause they do.  They don’t ask for permission to do things a million times a day.  They certainly don’t have to ask their boss at work if they can take a bathroom break.  It’s easy to be powerful in the world if you have that mindset.  The Surgeon was absolutely gobsmacked at the way I would calmly accept it when someone told me “no.”  Can I get a late check-out at the hotel?  No?  Oh, all right then.  I wasn’t used to fighting for things, or getting what I wanted, with the exception of my academic success.  All the cultural factors and institutions in my upbringing socialized me to work hard to earn what I want, and to be obedient, and to respect authority.  When you’re poor and vulnerable, resistance means that you’re out of a job or you’re in jail.  

    (Incidentally, I think one of the reasons rich people hate the IRS and paying taxes so much is that they HATE the idea of an institution forcing them to do something, or having power over them.  They HATE that shit.  That is how used they are to having power in life.  Remember that hilarious scene in The Wolf of Wall Street, when DiCaprio throws the Federal Agents off his yacht and throws lobsters at them?  The Surgeon would definitely throw a lobster.  Definitely. If a Federal Agent knocked on my door, I’d have a heart attack and tell him whatever he wanted.)

Wow, look at all the stuff I can write when I’m not drunk.


    My mother picked me up from the airport.  She looked right past me.

     Because I was unrecognizable. 

     I’d had four drinks on the airplane.  I didn’t want them, but I had to do it in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.  I drank as little as possible and when the plane landed, I was getting the shakes.  

     I’d emailed her less than 48 hours before.  My first communication with her in months.  I was completely honest.  I can’t bear to read that email now–the terror and pain are too intense–but I remember begging her to let me come home because I thought I was going to die.  

      The relapse was the most hellish experience of my life.  I can hardly bear to think of it, but I need to remember.  I almost died.  If my mother didn’t take me back, I think I would have killed myself or ended up in the hospital.  I couldn’t eat food.  I could not sleep for more than a few hours at a time.  I kept my teaching job only because the winter was so brutal that snow days were constantly shutting the campus down.  I couldn’t drink before class and my hands shook as I handled the transparencies on that fucking overhead projector.  I was humiliated.  

       “Are you sick?” one of them asked me.

       “Yes.”  There was nothing else to say.

        When I emailed my mother, I put the odds of her helping me at 50%.  If she said no, I was going to ask my brother.  If he said no, I was going to have to ask the Surgeon.  The Surgeon probably would have helped me out…but anyone who reads this blog knows what his price would be.  Not that I looked particularly fuckable by the time I reached out for help.  I felt about 80 years old.

        Business was booming, however.  I made a lot of money in the previous weeks (and I do not want to think of how much I spent on alcohol).  Most of the clients were awful.  I have never had such a bad run.  I like most of my regular clients (that’s why they’re regulars, natch).  These were not regular clients.  These guys were mentally disturbed.  They were predators.  One after the other, it was fucking unbelievable.  I felt like my mind was breaking apart.  That fucking degenerate pedophile dentist was the worst.

      Mom came through.  Plane tickets home.  Her email was completely kind and non-judgmental, which, frankly, I was not expecting.  I am the most sensitive person in my family.  Mistakes are not really accepted.  And boy, had I made a huge fucking mistake.  Sorry, Mom, but I nuked my life and I’m about to die.

       I arranged for another teacher to give my lessons for the next week and hired someone to feed my animals (and I will never forgive myslef for relapsing when I had animals dependent on me for their care.  I killed my houseplants.), and then I went straight to the airport with the clothes on my back.  I took no luggage.  My driver’s license was expired and I was worried that they weren’t going to let me onto the plane.  If they didn’t, I was ready to kill myself.  I own weapons. 

       They let me on board.  

       I had a drink every two hours so that I didn’t throw up on the passengers sitting beside me.  I tried to read an issue of Harper’s, and I couldn’t read.  I could not concentrate.  I was starting to experience mild auditory hallucinations.  Everything was too loud.  I was shaking when the plane landed.

       My own mother didn’t recognize me.

       “I’m sorry,” I said.  That’s what I babbled in the car on the way to her house.  I kept repeating it over and over, and I was sobbing, and I never cry.  

       We stopped at the supermarket to get some pedialyte and gatoraid.  I threw up in the parking lot.  There was nothing in my stomach, so I wretched up foam.  I’d been throwing up all week.  I threw up blood.  It had been days since I’d had a bowel movement, and when I did, there was blood in my stool.  You know the warning on the back of the Tylenol bottle that tells you not to take it if you consume more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day?  Take the warning seriously.  Don’t be like me.

      My mother has seen in all and she’s a take-charge woman, a woman of action, but I have to tell you: she looked scared.

      She asked me how long it’d been since I urinated.

     The question startled me.  I was so fucked up that I’d failed no notice I wasn’t passing urine.  It’d been well over 24 hours.  More like 36.

      “If you don’t pee soon, we’re going to have to take you to the hospital.  You might be experiencing organ failure.”

       (I managed to pee when we got to the house.  My urine was the color of orange juice.)

       The withdrawal was awful…and I didn’t even have full-on DTs.  My symptoms passed within 48 hours.  The first night was the worst.  I was shaking and sweating.  I could not keep down water or gatorade.  I vomited constantly.  I could not keep still.  I had auditory hallucinations: I heard white noise and static, and it sounded like a television was on in another room.  I had an awful headache and muscle aches.  I had a fever.  

      I went through the detox without the benefit of medication.  A visit to the ER would have cost hundreds of dollars.

    Two days later, I could think again, and it was time confess.  My family wanted to know what happened.  How did  it come to this?  When did it get out of control?

       I couldn’t tell her about the Studio.  I told her, and my brother, that I’d taken a job bartending as a way to make ends meet, and ended up working as a cocktail waitress in a topless nightclub.   I figured Mom would find this to be bad, but not unforgivable.

      “You weren’t a stripper though, right?” she asked.

      “Nope.  I just delivered the drinks.  And drank them.  We were encouraged to drink with the customers.  It was depressing and it got out of control.”

        Mom bought it and let me stay in the house on the condition that I quit the fictitious waitressing job immediately.  She and my brother thought it would be best not to tell my Uncle, the retired cop.

       My father knows nothing.  We don’t speak with him.

      I stayed with my mother for a week, flew home, and checked into rehab.  It cost all the money I had.  I go three nights a week.

      If I go back out, I am going to die.  I would rather die than repeat that experience. 

       Of all the mistakes I’ve made in life, drinking is #1.  I wish to God I’d never started.  When I hear people in AA say that they are grateful to be alcoholics, I think that they sound crazy.  It has almost killed me, completely stripped me of my dignity, and has retarded my progress in life.  And it just might kill me yet.   

Creepy Dad Creeps on Margo


 The father of a boy I tutor asked me out on a date.  

        He is married.  He asked me out when I was in his home.   Where he lives with his wife.  After I was finished teaching his kid.

        Now, imposing yourself on the female hired help has long been a beloved recreational pastime of rich dudes.  I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve had many an employer creep on me in my day, though, to be fair, what most of them do is just hover around, checking me out and making excuses to talk to me, which makes me a little nervous and also embarrasses the hell out of me if he’s doing it in front of his children (last time, this boy actually said, “Dad would you please leave us alone?” I wanted to die.).  

        If this happened in an office job, I could deal with it in a more direct fashion, since it’s a textbook case of sexual harassment.  Buuuut…I’m an independent contractor.  

         Getting out of it required some quick thinking.  The default face-saving rejection is to mention a fictitious boyfriend, but in this case, creepy Dad almost certainly would have backtracked or acted offended and assured me that he “didn’t mean it like that,” or something.  Likewise, I couldn’t be honest and tell him that I found the offer pretty fucking offensive, given that he was making it in front of a wall full of his family photos.  
         “No, thanks,” I said, giving him a fake smile of appropriately dim wattage. 

         A man who was not an idiot or an entitled asshole would have accepted that and backed off (but then, if he had the tact or decorum god gave a goat, he wouldn’t have hit on me in the first place).

         Dad of the Year here actually asked me (get this): “Are you sure?”

        The next time a man asks me “Are you sure?” “Why not?” or pressures me to reverse my decision or explain myself to him is going to get punched in the eye with my phone.  A nice hard-shelled cell phone to the eye socket.  For feminism. 

       The elevator arrived, deus ex machina-like, and delivered me from the awkward predicament.

       I stewed about it for a week, very annoyed and exasperated about being put in such a situation.  Now I can’t be comfortable with dad around.  And dad’s always around.  He’s there every week!  I might as well be teaching him! 

       What to do, what to do…?

        I almost wished that I had the Surgeon around for consultation.  He always gave me good advice about how to deal with people.  He was an expert at manipulating situations. 

       I tried to imagine what he would advise, and I came up with two things: 1) shake dad down, and/or 2) be a completely aggressive, unapologetic, massive dickhead and scare the shit out of dad.  No scruples.  Make shit up.  Say I recorded dad with my cell phone.  Say that if dad fires me, I’ll tell everyone that he tried to kiss me.

       (That’s what the Surgeon always told me when I complained to him about my old boss, the Dean of my program: “Don’t be intimidated by him.  If you tell people he tried to kiss you in his office one day, he’ll be up to his neck in bureaucratic horseshit for the next twelve months.”

        “But he never tried to kiss me!”

       This was met with a sigh and a contemptuous eyeroll.  Then he said, “Remember this moment, kid.  This sort of thinking is the reason why you are smart and beautiful, but poor.  You don’t understand how the world works.  Fuck this guy.  You don’t owe him, or your school, jack shit.  He’s using you.  If he gets in your way, land on him like an avalanche.”

        “Surgeon, he’s my boss, and I’m on a scholarship.”

        “I’m your boss.”)

       Anyway, getting back to dad, here.  You might not believe it, given that I make a living as a professional sadist, but in regular life I am actually pretty bad at being a massive dickhead.  I just don’t think that I could pull off option #2.   And even if I did pull it off, I would feel guilty about it.   

        That left #1.

         I politely informed dad that from now on, my hourly fee has increased by $75.  That increase is his “I-fucked-up” tax (I didn’t say that to him, but we both know what it is).

        I’m waiting to hear back from him, but I think he’ll pay.  He’s a lawyer, so presumably he’s a smart guy when he doesn’t have a boner in his pants.  There is the hint of a threat in my request.  I’d never act on it…but he doesn’t know that. 

        I’ll update as soon as I get his response.

        Something else just occurred to me: what if his kid overheard dad asking me out?  That would be fucked up, wouldn’t it?  Gee, creepy dad, that was just so irresponsible.  

Awesome Comment from an Awesome Reader

“But I believe, firmly, that if you deny your sexuality, it makes you neurotic and unhappy and it will destroy your personal relationships.”

YES! As a someone who was shamed for how she felt about sex by church, family, a strict Asian culture upbringing, and feminism, denying my sexuality and trying to attain something “healthy” and “respectable” has only adds to feeling even more fucked up crazy and miserable. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 30 and only had sex a few times since (my family has no idea, it would mess them up if they did), but I do like dirty, slutty, violent sex, and I’m goddamn tired of feeling guilty about it.

I’m goddamn tired of living in a world that judges people for their desires, and treating us like damaged goods or children who needs correction for how we feel. I’m also goddamn tired of people who can’t think outside their narrow-minded box. They can’t imagine enjoying being beaten or having sex for money, fine. But understand that people are different and not everyone sees or feels about sex the same way.

Seriously, that woman stranger who wrote that awful note to you is no different from the slutshaming church that told us, “sex is a sacred thing and should feel like a blessing from heaven, not some dirty slutty violent shit.” Don’t ever feel guilty about your sexuality, Margo, especially by paternalistic feminist assholes.

-A hopefully not-paternalistic feminist

     I’ve had the privilege of receiving many thoughtful comments from my readers, but I have to say that this one is one of my favorites.  It was a joy to read and I thank you for taking the time to express yourself to me. 

      I commend you for being true to yourself.  It takes a lot of courage and the capacity for critical thought to deliberately reject the programming we receive from the various authorities in life.  I went to Catholic school and my parents were very strict, so I know what that’s like (one of my personal favorites: when the nun teaching us sex ed in 8th grade argued that it was wrong to even THINK “impure” thoughts, because thinking leads to action).  

       Let me share something else with you: The ironic thing about guilt as a control mechanism is that the people who most deserve to feel guilty are oblivious to that feeling, and the (relatively) guiltless run around torturing themselves.   

      Sin is a hell of a concept, isn’t it…?

      Next: Don’t tell your parents you lost your virginity (God I hate that barbaric phrase, it needs to be retired) if it’s going to stress them out, but hell, why deprive yourself…?  There is no reason for any woman who is not bald and toothless to have a bad sex life!  I know I’m one to talk, given that my sex life has been pretty crummy the last year, but I had ten years of shagging prior.  I recommend Craigslist.  There are a zillion men on there, and a lot of them are “the last people you’d expect.”  If fantasty dirty, violent, slutty sex (and, perhaps, a get-to-know-you conversation over coffee in which you ask them to take their pic with your cell phone for security purposes) is what you want, then you can get it.  

     The “sex is a sacred thing,” oh Lord, what an eyeroll.  I got that at Church, too.  From priests who were sexually inexperienced, or who were fucking their housekeepers or sex workers or each other or who knows who?  Sex is many things, but one thing it is is a simple biological function like eating.  It can be a gourmet dinner or prison food.  Wives do it like a chore all over the world.  

     I have to run now, but thanks so much for the comment!  It means a lot to me, and I’m glad you enjoy the blog. 

      This one’s for you: Barbara Song, from an English interpretation of The Threepenny Opera.  In this song, the singer, Polly, explains to her family why she eloped with Macheath, a brute.  She was courted by other suitors and she never gave em the cookie because they did nothing for her sexually and she was trying to be a “good girl.”  

     Then Macheath showed up, and she couldn’t get her panties off fast enough.

     Standing ovation, Polly.