PIECESOFMARGO Presents: CollarMe Hell

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     Okay, so…this blog is, in part, about disclosure, so here it is (because I’m not going to tell ANYONE else in my life):

      I joined–or re-joined–the BDSM personals ad service CollarMe.

      Shoot me now! barf barf barf barf

      I only just re-joined fairly recently and I already want to die.  Why don’t I just give it up?  I’m doomed!  Doomed to be alone forever!

     (Though, realistically, I know that once I’m in a relationship and get comfortable, I’ll be saying, “I’m doomed!  Doomed to live forever in this boring-ass relationship!  THINK OF ALL THE OTHER EXCITING STUFF I COULD BE DOING!”  Like Chris Rock says: You can be Married and bored, or single and lonely.) 

     I’ll just put myself on the record now as saying: CollarMe is a sewer.  A.  Sewer.  A sewer on par with Craigslist, if Craigslist was all BDSM and lacked community policing.  It is so bad that I almost didn’t post about it here, because I’m so ashamed of being a member.

     I’ve received about a hundred responses to my profile so far.  Four are promising.  One dude is a diplomat with compatible political tastes.  We’ve been emailing and chatting back and forth.  He’s cute, too!  Very well-educated.  Age appropriate–well, pretty much–younger than 40.

       The catch…?  (Because you KNEW there was one!)

       He’s stationed in Asia. 

        Another good hit: a dashing Army officer.  Used to be a Drill Sergeant.  Imagine the possibilities! The mouth waters, it positively waters! 

        But I ain’t moving to the army base in Hicksville. 

        I did find a promising shibari teacher.  That’s good.

        And I found The Attorney.  Or, more accurately, he found me.  Yeah, that Attorney–Mr. Sadistic “The Pizza Was Fantastic!”  My profile was up for less than two hours when he contacted me.  

        I didn’t respond, but I have to admit, I still think about that man from time to time.  I know he’s bad news and I dodged a bullet with him when he rejected me, but those were superlative beatings. That man was so skilled.  So, so skilled.  He was so precise.  God.

      **shaking myself out of it**

      God help me.

      Anyway…until I throw in the towel on CollarMe, again, and run  screaming in the opposite direction, again, I am going to start a new blog series: “CollarMe Hell.”

         In CollarMe Hell, I will share ghastly, demoralizing, and/or hilarious shit I find on CollarMe.  I’ve actually been kicking around this idea for some time, but I’ve never done it because it feels mean to pick on people’s internet dating profiles.  I mean, really.  But I figure, if I don’t share people’s correspondence, or face, or share the screen-name/alias attached to whatever I post, it’s not that bad, is it…?  Especially if I take it down if anyone complains?  

       Anyway, here is the first installment of CollarMe Hell.  Sent from the profile of a male dominant who emailed me:

Presented without comment

M. Margo Wants to Take a Vacation

      Cue music, maestro…

     *singing*  yes I am just a sleep-deprived neurotic person with a crazy sadistic Surgeon boyfriend, working away here on my NYC plantation!  My landlord traumatized me and I gave him alllll my money, my students get wayyyyy too much return for their money, I dominate weirdos and there is a cockroach under my bed.  This manuscript was written by a moron who makes ten times as much as me.  Yes, sir!  I NEED A VACATION

       Okay, in my brain, that totally was a song.  I hummed it. 

       When I awoke this morning at 5:30 for no appreciable reason, blinking up at the ceiling and listening to the motor of my cheapass worn-out air conditioner (it’s starting to sound like a Boeing jet trying to take off), I decided that I needed to get the hell out of Dodge for a few days.  It’s been a year since my last vacation.  I go home to visit family a few times a year, but when you are sleeping in your Mom’s house, it’s not exactly a vacation, you know?  

       I found just the place! 

       The British School of Falconry in Manchester, VT!  I can go play with raptors!  The resort also offers archery lessons and shooting lessons!  I already know how to shoot, of course, but not how to use shotguns for sport.  Look at these Yankees and their neutered English-inspired sports weaponry. Pffft.  Where I come from, we use ASSAULT RIFLES. (I am kidding.  Sort of.) 

      I could go before Halloween–when the leaves have changed.  Fall colors.  In the lull after midterms.  Will give me time to save, and hotel rates will be cheaper.  Three or four nights–I really need some air and a hike, but I know, realistically, that I get bored fast in the country.  Run around in those little hills they have out here.  

     Also: should I take a dude with me, or just count on finding one there?  Best bet is to take one with me, but then he’d be, you know, there all the time.  The eternal conundrum.  The comedian Chris Rock has this skit that I love–he says, “You can be married and bored, or single and lonely.”  Even on vacation.  I was talking about that with Sofia.  She believes that every woman should have at least two men.  Aside from a brief period of celibacy when I broke up with the Surgeon, I have had between one and four at any given time over the last three years, but I haven’t lived with any of them, so I don’t know if that counts.  

Good Question

      I cried in my bed right after I awoke this morning.  Like, one or two minutes after I regained consciousness.  It was brief and undramatic. It was like what the weathermen here in this schizo weather area (Tri-State) describe as a “light, random thunderstorm!” I don’t think that I made much noise. By coincidence, I had my very best sheets on my bed–the sheets which have such thread count and quality that they are always dense and crispy, even though they are five years old now.  They were a gift to me, a long time ago. I put them on my bed yesterday after I did my laundry and changed my linens.

    I put my head underneath the crispy clean sheets and curled up like a shrimp on my side facing the wall and did my little cry.

      Then I got up, went to the bathroom, checked in with Tanita, poured myself a glass of water.  And now here I sit.

       I’m not here to be a coward.

       I went to my Sunday crispy burnout AA meeting yesterday.  As I mentioned on this blog, I have a new service commitment to make the coffee.  I showed up an hour early, but the gate was locked. I waited with other committee people until the guy with the keys came to let us in (he was stuck in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge). There was no time to make coffee, but I set out the cookies.

       The meeting’s Speaker–the random person who shares his or her personal experience with alcoholism and AA–was good.  (AA culture is that you’re not supposed to talk about what you see and hear in AA meetings, because you have to respect confidentiality and peoples’ privacy.  I think that if I keep this vague and omit details and any identifying info, it should be okay to share here on this blog.  I don’t see how it could hurt anymore.)

      His story was comparatively undramatic. No jail, no hospital, no spectacular train wreck.  His family didn’t drink.  He maintained a modest but respectable job.  And drank.  Sometimes socially, mostly alone.  Went to the bar alone, “for fun.”  Gets older–no longterm partners.  And this wasn’t an unattractive or unintelligent man.  He was likable and there was no obvious reason why he had to live such a damn lonesome existence.  He had no one.

       I was very moved by this. I know what that is like to be alone, or alienated.  That’s something about alcohol which is paradoxical: it makes the loneliness (or even boredom)  comfortable.  Acceptable. Unimportant.

      Invariably, however, something happens–the tables are turned, and your companion becomes your jailer. Drinking becomes the cause of the loneliness. It isolates you and prevents you from being with others in a meaningful, nurturing way.

        Just speaking for myself…when my drinking was approaching its worst…I was going through a very tough time in my life. I was depressed, stressed about school, and basically paralyzed by fear and confusion.  Actually, fear is not the right word.  Terror is more accurate.  I was lifting at the gym in the morning and back again to do five miles in the evening, and my eating habits were becoming obsessive and abnormal (let’s just say…I kept spreadsheets.  Excell spreadsheets.  The data I had.  Oh boy.).  I didn’t tell anyone what was happening to me. Professionally, I kept up appearances–I wasn’t spending weekends in the labs or publishing my ass off or anything, but my grades and writing projects were superior.  Many professors commented on my talent.  But I was slowly becoming a ghost.  I gradually withdrew from everybody I had a meaningful emotional relationship with.  Even the people I loved.  All my old friends, the professors who cultivated my intellect and spent time with me.  

       It was like I was a girl in a raft out in the sea, and my relationships were the ropes attached to my raft that kept me anchored to the shore.

       I untied the ropes and let them go.  One by one.

      I raised my hand and shared a lot of that at the meeting.  A few people came up to me afterward and said that they liked my share and that I sounded really good.

       I eyed one of the men, suddenly suspicious.  “Are you serious?”

       “Of course.  Why?”

        “I was upset.  I almost cried.”

       “What’s wrong with that?” he asked.

      I curled my lip and turned away, throwing my soda can into the garbage.  “Crying doesn’t help a thing.  It’s not dignified in public.”

       And there it is.  I can be a very hard person.  It’s only a minor character trait, and it seldom evidences itself (thank God)…but part of me is very hard.  Especially towards myself.  I’m not proud of it, but it fascinates me, I must say.  Where do I get it from?  My father?

      The man looked confused.  “Why not?”

      Good question.

Love

     A few years ago, I had a relationship with Steven, a veterinarian.    I’d met him when I brought my birds in for checkups.  We were together for about six or eight months. 


    We were with some of his friends in East Hampton on day when he asked me: “Have you ever been in love?” 


     The question startled me. It seemed bizarre.  


      “Yes, of course I have.  Why do you ask?” 


      “Well, you don’t seem like the type,” he said. 


       I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.  It made me really confused.  Who doesn’t fall in love..?  Everyone falls in love! 


        I came home and told my Canadian friend what Steven had asked me.


        “It’s true,” said my Canadian friend.  “You don’t seem like you need to be loved.  It’s really weird.  Especially for a woman.” 


       Still perplexed, I went to my expensive analyst. 


       “Of course you need to be loved,” she said.  “Love is a basic human need.  You just don’t expect to get it, because you have never been loved properly.” 


        It was then that I remembered something the Surgeon had told me about myself:


        We were about seven months into our relationship, and things were starting to get pretty heavy.  It was getting very personal.  I was still working a few shifts a week at the S&M studio he’d met me at–he hadn’t insisted that I quit yet, though he was starting to bring it up. We were staying at the Hotel Wales on the Upper East Side.  We’d been drinking vodka, but I remember the night very well.  I pushed him hard, very hard.  Out with it, out with it.  I knew it was there in him.  


       The suite was as far away from other guests as possible. I’m still surprised, in retrospect, that nobody called the cops.  Hours and hours. People were catcalling from  the sidewalk below.  I found a tangle of my dark gold hair on the bathroom porcelain the morning after. 


        Before he left, he sat next to me on the bed.  I was laying on top of the nice white quilt.  On my stomach, with a smile on my face.  The bruises and welts were already coming up on my back, quick and eager as mushrooms after a Spring rain.  He was icing me down.


        He looked down at me.  Uncharacteristically silent.  Considering.


      “That’s your problem,” he said, more to himself than to me. “You’ve never been loved.”  


       It didn’t register at the time.  I was off in happy la-la land.  Obliterated.  


      I wondered, the next morning: What did he mean by that? 

     As I woke up alone. 

Time to Make the Calls

    July 2012 will live forever in my mind as the time my life was held hostage for $4000.  


    That’s my price: four grand, or approximately half of a semester’s tuition.  Un-fucking-believable.  


    It’s sort of pathetic.  For some reason, I thought I’d be worth more. 


    I barely slept at all last night.  I’ve got to wait a few more hours because of the time zone change, and then I’m going to call my mother for help.  


     If she can’t do it, my next call is going to be to my ex, the Surgeon.  THAT SHOULD BE FUN.  


     Four thousand bucks is probably what the Surgeon has in spare change underneath the floor mats of his shiny car.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll give it to me, but he’s not going to just drop it off at my apartment in an envelope with a repayment plan attached.  


      I wouldn’t mind so much if all he would want in return is access to my sexuality.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week, and I think that I could handle that, psychologically speaking.  I’ve been with the man a million times, I know what he likes, how to keep him happy.  I know how to manage him.  


      Nope, it’s not going to be just sex.  He is going to want access to my life. 


      Now, perhaps you are thinking–as one person suggested to me the other day–Miss Margo, you don’t have to give him that.  Just take the money, and don’t let him in. 


       Unfortunately, I can’t do that.  Doing that would be insane.  There is no way on God’s green earth that I would be stupid enough to take the man’s money and not give him what he wants.  I would sooner renege on Joe Pesci’s character in the movie Casino.  I have seen him rain down a shitstorm of consequences on people for far, far less.  I wouldn’t do a shitty job of delivering the man’s morning newspaper.  In his professional life, he enjoys tremendous notoriety.  He is feared and hated.  I have heard people talk about him.  The stories I could tell you–Jesus!  

 I couldn’t find the infamous pen scene, but this one is pretty good. Picture this guy, only better looking and with a hundred additional IQ points.  “Miss Margo, you know, the least you could do is return my phone calls!”  I only wish I was joking.  


     My Kim works at a strip joint a few nights a week.  She wants me to go with her this Saturday.  I earned enough money yesterday to buy the shoes.  


     I honestly feel like I’m going to throw up.  

31 Days

     Thirty-one days till my lease is up.


     It’s been so oppressively hot that after I limped home from a meeting last night I sprayed down my birds and replaced half the water in my aquariums so that the fish didn’t boil alive.  Then I took a cold shower and drank half a bottle of children’s liquid Benadryl and fell asleep on top of the covers in my underpants and a camisole.  


      It was over 80* when I woke up and by the time I met my student in Hoboken, my makeup had run off my face.  I am absolutely disgusted by my body today.  I think that I want to lose twenty lbs.  Maybe that would help.  Help what, I don’t know, but it would help something, I am sure.   


      My student is not the sharpest crayon in the box and he routinely comes to our sessions without paper or a writing utensil. I am skeptical of whether his parents will keep me in their employ after they receive his Spring semester report card.  Somehow, he has kept them from seeing it so far.  He claims not to have gotten it, but this is implausible.  


    Nevertheless, I do the best I can with their Moppet-Haired little Dudebro.  I always have.  I swear.  


    Back underground into the oven of the train platform.  Midtown is sluggish, the sidewalks almost empty.  Crickets, crickets, crickets and tumbleweeds.  My iPhone says it’s 94*.  


     As I ring the buzzer at the Superstudio, I consult the calculator in my head and do the math: two days off in the last month.  


      And I’m still behind the 8-ball.  


      Business was dead as heaven on a Saturday night. Incredible.  Dante brought in two clients I kicked around for a bit for tips.  I finished off two manuscripts I’ve been hired to copyedit and sent them off. 


     I came home for a bit to tend to the animals and change my clothes.  It’s cooler now; looks like it might rain.  I hope so.  


      Time to go back out.  


       I have no idea what I’m going to do right now.  In my head, I’m kicking around two or three options.  None of them are good.  


       But 31 days can be a long, long time.  A lot can happen in 31 days.  

Attitude Adjustment

    The last week was god-awful, but I’m better now.

     I met with my landlord on Sunday morning.  I was so upset that I thought the intensity of my anxiety was going to kill me, but on the outside, I think that I held my shit together.  I am a good actress.   Gave the man half of July’s rent in cash and told him that I appreciated how patient he’s been with me the last few months.  He’s a good landlord, I really like living in this building, I would like to stay if possible.  Happy to give him two months’ security up front if he’s willing to renew my lease.

     He was nice.  Shook my hand and told me that he would get back to me.

      Meanwhile, I’ve been running around the Tri-State area hustling my ass off. You know the old cartoons where Wile E. Coyote is chasing Road Runner, and their legs are moving so fast that they become a big blur? Well, that was little Miss Margo.  I think that I slept about fifteen minutes in a week.  My mind was chock-full of worst scenarios.  My BOOKS!   My BIRDS!  Going back to my crappy redneck state IN DISGRACE!  (in my nightmares, all roads lead back to my crappy redneck state)

       Then I come home and find a letter from the landlord left under the door.  I am proud to tell you that I immediately opened it without fortifications of scotch or martinis.

       Get this: the man offered to extend the lease on the conditions of a ten percent increase in my rent and five (5!) months’ payment in advance.

        FIVE MONTHS?!  Hell, for that much, I might at well move!  Spent a long night on Craigslist researching potential monthly rentals and apartments available for subletting.

       I finally reached the end of my rope.

       I couldn’t call my family.  I just couldn’t.  I would literally rather die.  And yeah, I know it must look weird from the outside.

        I called the Surgeon for advice.  I told myself that it was reasonable.  I was his quasi-girlfriend for years, after all.

        He picked up on the first ring.

        “What’s the matter?  Tell me what’s happening.”   The first words out of his mouth.  Tell me he wasn’t waiting for this.

          I told him.   I think that I kept my composure.  From the outside, I probably sounded okay.

           He wanted to immediately call my landlord himself, but I refused.  The Surgeon knows how to persuade people, but he can also get his way by intimidating them, and I didn’t want him flying off the handle at my landlord.  Besides, I’m a grown-ass woman, I can talk to my landlord myself.

           He told me what I needed to do.  Adjusted my perspective, if you will.

           It must be nice to live knowing that you have power in the world.  It must be nice to think this way all the time.

            You’re being naive!  You’re vulnerable and he knows it and he’s trying to squeeze you for money.  NOBODY asks for five months’ security up front.  That is absurd.  It’s insulting!  He doesn’t want you to move.  If you leave, he’ll have to clean the place and repaint it and show it to people and he’ll be out at least two months’ rent, and then his profit for the year will evaporate.  Also, he has no idea what he’s gonna get when he gets a new tenant–he might get a flake who defaults and ties him up in court for six months when he tries to evict.  You are reliable.

           Then he gave me legal advice I can’t write here.

          Call me back and read the letter to me before you send it to him.  You are way too polite.  


           Well, I’m not going to do that, but I am going to take the day off and enjoy a nap.  I’m very, very tired.

This is Bad

    Well, I’ve got a problem.


     My landlord sent me a letter telling me that he does not intend to renew my lease at the end of July.

     I’m trying to remain calm and not overreact, but this is a pretty serious situation.  


     I’m not going to call him today–I need to make a few calls and see exactly what resources are available to me.  I wish that I had more people in my life that I could ask for advice.  I’ll ask for suggestions at my more affluent AA group.  


     Tomorrow I’ll call him and ask him what I can do to remain in my apartment.  I don’t see why he wouldn’t be open to negotiation–if I leave, he’ll have to repaint the place, show it, yadda yadda.  I’m all paid up with him right now; it’s not like I owe him money.  


      I am hoping that he just wants money up front–a few months in advance.  


       But how on earth am I going to get my hands on that much money–either to give to him, or to secure a new apartment?  No bank is going to give me a loan.  I have exactly three family members.  


       My Mom might help if she can.  I’ve never asked her for money before, even for school, so she’ll know that if I’m asking now it’s pretty serious.  The thought of having to ask her is very, very uncomfortable to me, however.  


      I am NOT moving back there.  I will join the goddamned ARMY and go to South Korea or Afghanistan before I go back there.  NOT HAPPENING.  


      See, I’m getting ahead of myself…I need to go.


      One way or another, I’ll find a way to get through this.  Lord knows I’ve gotten through worse.  


       Ugh…anyway, if anyone out there has any suggestions, please feel free to shoot me a comment or an email: piecesofmargo@gmail.com.  

PoM Fun FAQ: “Why Do You Call that Place Where You Work ‘The Studio’?”

   I got an email from an anonymous reader who asked, among other things, why I refer to the place where I work as ‘The Studio,’ instead of the commonly accepted–indeed, ubiquitous–name for such an establishment.  


   There are two reasons.  The first reason is that, when I started writing about these places as houses or studios, I was deliberately engaging in a little semantic gymnastics in order to avoid completely incriminating myself in the event this blog was discovered by the people in my other lives.  I was also writing about starving without calling it an eating disorder, and drinking without calling it alcoholism.  Yeah, there was a lot of tap-dancing going on.  Obviously, I knew that anyone with two brain cells to rub together could read between the lines of this blog and understand exactly what I was talking about. The obfuscation was a fig leaf, basically. 


     Besides, one gets used to hiding things your whole life, and it becomes habit. As incredible as it may seem to you, gentle reader, the evolution of this little blog illustrates a tremendous effort to be honest about my life.  


     I still have a lot of work to do where that’s concerned, but I can say that I have made more of an effort–and enjoyed more success–at being a transparent person in the last 12 months than I have in my last fifteen years of life.  And you could probably make it twenty years.  


       The second reason I call it “The Studio” is aesthetic preference.  I defy anyone to tell me that “dungeon” does not sound idiotic and corny (I would also say melodramatic, but melodramatic things do, in fact, happen there).  A dungeon?  Really?  How am I supposed to tell anyone with a straight face–even random strangers on the internet–that I am going to the dungeon?  Do we live in a comic book?  What am I going to do there, bake cookies and plot world domination with Darth Vader, Ming the Merciless, and the evil witch from the Wizard of Oz?  Jesus!


         When I think of a dungeon, this is what always springs to mind: