Fortinbras, Resolved (and Updated!)

UPDATE Monday June 24:  Wait, I left out one of the most important parts….the answer to the question I asked all of you readers to help me with!  What to charge Fortinbras–how not to be a chump!
Okay, everyone, both in comments and in personal email, were in consensus that I should definitely not lowball myself, both because 1) Fortinbras can clearly afford it, and 2) if I lowball myself and he knows it, it’ll look like I have self-esteem issues and he won’t respect that.  

DrugMonkey said to charge him the rate I would charge him for sex, but I can’t do that because I don’t know what that rate would be because I don’t provide sex.  It is not on Miss Margo’s Menu of Services.  Mostly doodz pay to smack me around, or vice versa.  I  charge extra if they want to really put me in traction or get topless or something, but I always keep my underpants on.  

So what I decided to do was to charge Fortinbras my hourly fee X 7 hours.  I gave him one free hour.  Lots of women in the industry do this. 

Now, this is the way I see it: I didn’t charge him for sex, so he doesn’t know for sure that he’s going to get it.  This is the type of guy who likes a little challenge.  So he’s gonna be thinking “Can I seduce her?  Can I get her to want to sleep with me, even though that is not what she typically does professionally?”  It’s going to be a game to him, and exciting game.  And it means that he is going to be working extra hard to make sure that I have a wonderful time with him, so that means more fun for me (even though, of course, my first priority is making sure that HE has fun–but see how this works out in both our favors?)!

If, at the end of the night, I want to have sex with him, then I will, and it will be because he “earned” it by seducing me.  And I won’t feel “ripped off” because even though I didn’t charge sex-rate prices, he is still paying me a hell of a lot of money.  

And it will be a win-win for Fortinbras, because he managed to get me into bed–what an ego boost for him, right?  He’ll be strutting around the next morning thinking ‘I’ve still got it!’ 

Aaaaaannnnddd….if I DON’T feel like having sex with him, then I don’t have to, because I didn’t charge him for it and I didn’t say that I would!  I didn’t promise anything–in fact, we clearly discussed and agreed upon my limits and services on our first session.  So if I don’t want to have sex with him, I can walk out and not feel the slightest bit guilty about it, and he won’t be able to complain, even if he doesn’t like it!  And if it makes him mad (I honestly don’t think that he would express anger or hostility, he’s too much of a gentleman, but…just in case, one never knows, right?), and he never wants to see me again….SO WHAT?  TOO BAD!  I still got your $$$$$, Fortinbras!  

See…?  I think this is the perfect solution.  Everyone wins no matter what.  Nothing can go wrong!  

Thank you all for your help!

*                             *                               *                       * 

(Because this is part of my personal journal as well as being my blog, I want to record what happened to me last night.  I dreamed about the Mathematician for the first time in weeks.  Usually the dreams I’ve had about him in the past few months have been bad, but this dream was a happy, sensual dream.  I remembered washing his hair in the shower.  When I awoke, I just laid in bed and cried for a few minutes.  I couldn’t help it.  I don’t even like him or want him anymore and I wish that the memories of the good feelings would go away..)

                *                          *                           *      

     On the heels of that: Fortinbras.

     On my analyst’s couch, staring up at the ceiling: “I need to handle this one very carefully.  Makes me anxious.  I need to do it right.  I want him to like me.  I don’t know what to charge him.  I don’t want him to think he’s entitled to sex because I don’t offer that.  But eight hours is a lot of money.”

     “Why do you want him to like you?” she asked.

      “Well, repeat business, of course.  He’s a well-to-do man, fascinating, respects my boundaries…could be a bread-and-butter client.” 

       “But why are you confused? Why are you confused about how to act with him?”

       I blinked up at the ceiling.  Then (dig the irony in this one, ha ha): “I’m sorry, but don’t understand what you’re getting at.”

       “If Fortinbras was some client you could barely tolerate who asked you for an 8-hour session, what would you say?”

         No hesitation at all: “Pffffft…! My hourly fee X eight.  Maybe a nominal discount.  Maybe.

        “Then why not say that to Fortinbras…?”

        I grasped; I grappled.  I felt like a bee in a bottle banging against a glass wall whose substance I couldn’t fully comprehend.  “I am impressed with him and it doesn’t seem fair to charge him so much just to be around him and have him take me out and make me dinner.” 

         “You crave his approval and that is why you want to give him the ‘right answer.’  Who has the ‘right answer?‘  Fortinbras?  Even though it’s your business and he asked you to name your fee? You are attracted to him.  Why?”

          “But…but I want all my clients–or most of them, anyway–to approve of my performance.  It is a matter of professional pride to me to give them the experience that they want to have.  This is one of my jobs.  It is important to me that I be good at it,” I said.

         “But Margo, you are confused here because you are reversing the roles.  You don’t know how to handle Fortinbras because in your mind, he is giving you an experience that you want to have, ‘just by being around him.’  That is why your hourly rate doesn’t seem ‘fair’ to you.”  

           Just like that, the issue–my problem–clarified in my mind, clear as crystal.  I gaped up at the ceiling, mouth ajar, stunned at how obvious it was.  Aghast that it had happened to me again, unfolding right in front of me, and I hadn’t seen it happening.  Repetition compulsion, baby, repetition compulsion.  This is the power of the subconscious.  

           I hadn’t been lying to myself about Fortinbras–not one bit.  I have been in this business long enough to know exactly how it works.  And I know men and what they are like, and I know clients and the multitudinous reasons they have for hiring me, and while I am still young enough to get skeptical looks when I enter a classroom as an instructor, I no longer pass as a spring fucking chicken while I run around campus with my knapsack on.  In sum, I am old enough, and experienced enough, to be a little wise.

           I wasn’t lying to myself about Fortinbras.  

           I was being lied to by myself.

           …..Can you see, grasp, that crucial distinction…?  Bully for you if you can, because it’s a slippery fuckin concept even for me, and I’ve been bearing down hard on it for years now. 

           That, my friends, is the subconscious. 

           Fancy psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo aside: I wanted Fortinbras to like me because I experienced him as benevolent (but potentially violent) elder male authority. 

          Vater.  If my father had a zillion bucks, a loft that looked like an art museum, several advanced academic credentials, self-control, and a penchant for sadism. 

           Well, Franz Adler is a sadist.  One out of five.  

           (I have no idea how far my father has degenerated since I ceased communicating with him–I expect his deterioration has been significant.  At his best, however–when he was about my age, perhaps a little older–I think that he could have held a conversation with Fortinbras about art in Western antiquity, and Fortinbras would have respected my father’s contribution to the exchange (“Not so bad for poor white trash, eh?” my father would say, lighting his pipe or cigarette).  Not that my father is amazingly bright…like myself, he is just intelligent enough to be a bit dangerous.  His memory is incredible, however, and the mechanism of his thought works in odd, uncanny ways.  He makes connections; he intuits relationships most people never would.  He sees things in people.  Usually the bad things.  The bad habits; the secrets.)       
                       *                         *                            * 

        Fortinbras, Fortinbras….getting back to Fortinbras.

       It took me almost two weeks to figure out that Fortinbras triggered my terminal Daddy complex, but it was apparently obvious as hell to everyone else.  

        Get your head out of your ass, Margo.  Don’t forget what you are doing here, Margo.  Don’t forget what your job is here, Margo. 
Snap snap, Margo.  What is he paying you for, Margo? You are the professional here, Margo, so what is your job?  EARTH TO MARGO, COME IN PLEASE!

       Gawd, how embarrassing.  How unprofessional!  Kick this Daddy shit to the side and focus on the job at hand. 

      Concentrate on this man.  What have you seen?  What do you know?  When he was trying to impress you in the kitchen with his skill with the knife…and then in the bedroom, when he was stripped to the waist with that bone-cruncher…what did you see, what did he want you to see?  He struck you as mostly unaffected, not a man who needs to work to impress anyone.  He is wealthy enough and educated enough and old enough to tell anyone he doesn’t like to get lost.  

       Focus on him.  Focus on Fortinbras. 

      What does he want from me?  Yeah, of course it could be sex, but he could get that anywhere.  He might have five girlfriends right now.  He could hire the most expensive call girl in NYC, ballerina-perfect and younger than me. There are not so many pro-switches, but there are a few, and in any case, money is a hell of a persuader. 

      What does he want? Why did he extend our first session to several hours?  Why does he want at least 8 hours now–a public date?

      My Neo-Freudian Analyst: You made him feel like the hero parental figure he has always longed to be.  It is biological.  He is not necessarily conscious of it. I’m not saying that he wants to be your father.  I mean that you make him feel like a hero.  You admire him!  And no matter how rich or comely he is, do you think that he has pretty educated impressed younger women running around flattering him by asking him questions about his art all day?  Hanging on his every word about it? I’m sure the friends of his daughters all but ignore him!  He starts talking about art and their eyes glaze over!  They listen to Rhianna. Asking him about Copenhagen?  How many American women know about Copenhagen?  How many even know what country it’s in?

      One of my favorite readers–a fellow whom I know nothing about, other than that he used to see dommes, and he has lots of brains cells to rub together, wrote this to me: 

    “The big question is what sort of experience is he fantasizing about.  He gave you a thank you note.  I think that this is a big indicator of his fantasy about the transaction…The books are also a major tell.  Why would he do that?  Does he fantasize about mentoring a younger woman?  Was insisting on paying your hourly fee for dinner an attempt to show you how much you are worth?  Throw out little statements and see how he reacts…

There’s nothing wrong with providing fantasy fulfillment.  That is what you are doing every minute you are with him.  He should know that every time he hands you money.   Structure the experience for him, based on what you sense his desires to be.  Your goal is to keep him buying time – if he falls a little in love with you that’s OK.  Eventually he will tire of you and move on.  I think that the thrill of his emotional attachment to you is what he is buying.   For your part, this works best if your feelings are genuine, but you maintain some inner detachment.

Remember, you are playing a role to fulfill his fantasies.  If you feel that you are getting something other than money – a sense of being taken care of, or a sense of security – then he is fulfilling your fantasies, and that is a problem.  He is not there to fulfill your emotional needs – you are there to fulfill his.  Fortinbras could plug into any daddy issues you might have and that can be powerful stuff.  A pleasant job is better than an unpleasant one, but it is still a job.  What you get from it is money.”

     Anon Reader (you know who you are!) your advice is precious and I wish I had your good sense. And yes, I think he wants to mentor me.  He lectures me, kindly, about the art I question him about.  He recommends books for me to read.  Somehow I don’t think he does this to every ho that walks in the door. 

      I read the last paragraph of your letter to my analyst–about the roles being reversed, and him fulfilling my fantasies, as opposed to vice versa.  You are completely correct.  I am there to do a job.  Period.  

      If Fortinbras meets my emotional issues, then I am, at minimum, being unprofessional.  Otherwise…endangering myself. 

       I’m tired now.  Sorry.

      Please write me any time.  If you don’t want any of this printed, let me know, and I’ll delete it.

      Best regards,


                     *                     *                       *                            *


I think my analyst would concur that Fortinbras likes me because I make him feel like THIS GUY….THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD…lol lol lol  omg I’m gonna die laughing 

Please forgive me…Fortinbras really is a fascinating fellow, as are many of my clients…but if I didn’t have a sense of humor about this shit, I’d go crazy. I’m sure you understand….

Dad Crush (II): Walter Cronkite

Read More

(Note: I wrote the second, conclusive part to the Benjamin Franklin post, but left it stored on a flashdrive at someone’s apartment.  It’s long and I am not going to try to reproduce it.  Will post when I retrieve it.)

I love this photo!  From Heifer International  

     I know very little about Walter Cronkite–I know less about him than any of my other dad crushes.  So this will be a brief post.  My dad crush on Cronkite is predicated exclusively upon the emotions I felt towards him when I saw him on television.  There couldn’t have been more than ten instances; Cronkite retired as an anchorman before I was born.  I only saw him on TV when he was doing special guest reporting and interviews.

     Even as a small child, I was drawn to him immediately, as if I was some kind of homing pigeon seeking out benevolent, caring male authority. Well, FML–I was likely looking for it then and I’m still craving it on some level now.

     Anyway, whenever I saw Cronkite on TV, he always looked formal (though not stuffy!) and very sincere.  Professional!  When you read a really good book, you feel as if you’re having a personal dialogue with the writer.  My identification with Cronkite was not dissimilar, even though the media was television.  He was an excellent communicator (not that I had any idea about the topics he was discussing).  He made everything sound important, and he always looked like he was talking at you, just for you.  Like he was sitting on a chair in your living room.  

      In my child’s mind, I would fantasize that he would listen to my problems, and then tell me what to do.  His advice would always be perfect, and nobody could argue with it.  Nobody is going to fight with Walter Cronkite. When I was frightened or upset and all alone, I would go visit him in my mind.  He would take my side and advocate for me.  He always wore the mystical, masculine attire I found so exotic and fascinating: a necktie, cufflinks, the rich, shiny satin that lined the inside of his suit coat.  And he had a mustache!  Hair grew on his face!  You know the way you see things when you were little?  Really see things, pore over the smallest details, the texture and composition of things.  Adults seemed so powerful, and their grownup stuff had talismanic qualities.  

      These days I listen to Brian Williams when I watch the evening news.  I pick him because I think he’s hawt.  Brian Williams is total eye candy, but he looks like a moron when he reads the news most of the time–his eyebrows scrunch up in the middle and he appears perpetually confused, like he can’t believe what he’s reciting.   

“I have no idea what’s going on!”

 Williams hates President George W. Bush, and I think it’s funny because Bush would have the exact same facial expression as Williams whenever he was giving a speech.  They both look like chimpanzees under pressure.  

“I don’t understand what I’m reading.”
President Bush doing his Brian Williams impression

Dad Crush (I): Benjamin Franklin

Read More

   I wish to introduce a new series of posts on this blog: Dad Crushes.  By ‘Dad Crush,’ I mean a fixation with or affinity toward some fellow I earnestly wish was my dad. I expect that I may get pervy or hostile emails about this, so let me belabor the obvious now, at the commencement: I have no romantic or sexual affections for my dad crushes, or for my real father, and I do not advocate that anyone have erotic feelings toward their parent, and incest is unacceptable and objectionable in every way.  Jesus. 

    My first Dad Crush is Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790).  I’ve been a Franklin fan for about ten years.   He is my favorite Founding Father.  

      There are many things I admire about Franklin.  First and foremost, he is that rare sort of genius who is also tremendously affable and approachable.  Oftentimes brilliant people are intimidating, or difficult to relate to, or they isolate themselves from society and interact exclusively with a small circle of other intellects.  Not Franklin!  Franklin loved people, and he had faith in their ability to realize their best potential.  He was a true democrat, and very friendly.  There was nothing snobbish about his character.  He was like the awesome older brother you never had.  

     Another thing I love about Franklin is his sense of humor. He could laugh at anything–especially himself.  This helped to make him a big hit in diplomacy (and in other endeavors), especially with the French ladies.  I mean, come on–we’ve all seen portraits of the fellow; we know what he looked like: he was plain and middle-aged (geriatric in those days).  And yet he was popular; he was charming.  His humor had tremendous appeal.  

     Consider this passage from his Autobiography, in which he recounts deciding to eat animals (fish–cod) again after a long period of (ethical) vegetarianism:

    ” …our crew employed themselves catching cod and hauled up a great number.  Till then I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered, according to my Master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had or even could do us any injury that might justify this massacre.  All this seemed very reasonable.  But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and when this came hot out of the frying pan, it smelled admirably well.  I  balanced some time between principle and inclination till I recollected that when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of the stomachs.  “Then,” thought I, “If you eat one another, I don’t see why we many’t eat you.”  So I dined upon cod very heartily and have since continued to eat as other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.  So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enable one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” 

    Ah, the use of rationality for self-serving purposes!  Justification!  Who cannot identity with this story…?   The internal struggle between principle and inclination, as Franklin puts it.  Ethics vs. Desires.  The crucible of choice.  This duality.  You have to make a decision.

      Franklin understands all of this, of course.  He’s making gentle fun of himself in this passage: the ironic description of being a ‘reasonable creature,’ the shrewd–and inarguable–observation that people (conveniently!) contrive excuses  to gratify their desires. 

       He pokes fun at himself periodically throughout his Autobiography.  I suspect that this is a deliberate, but not affected (re: insincere) strategy on his part.  His self-criticism is never brutal or black.  It is always joking and friendly–light.  

        See this passage, in which he recounts stepping off the ship to visit Philadelphia for the first time as a young man.  He wanders around, sight-seeing, and stops at a bakery for a snack:

      “Not knowing the different prices nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three pennyworth of any sort.  He have me accordingly three great puffy rolls.  I was surprized at the quantity but took it, and having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm and eating the other.  This I went up Market Street…passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife’s father, when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made–as I certainly did–a most awkward, ridiculous appearance.” 

     I mean, you can picture this kid, all slovenly from his ship voyage, wandering up and down the street with loafs of bread under each arm and stuffing his face, with crumbs going everywhere, and gawking around like a tourist.  And this dork is going to be sitting at your dinner table, courting your daughter.  Your future son-in-law! It’s a funny story, right?  Universally recognizable.  This sort of story establishes intimacy and trust with the reader. A sense of camaraderie, which is crucial to effective delivery of the book’s message (it is not a memoir, but a self-improvement guide for the citizens of the new Republic–proxies for the sons he never had).  His tone is humorous and witty throughout, but he does not engage in sarcasm or off-putting comedy.  Franklin is gracious, approachable, seductive.  He knew people.  

       Conclusion tomorrow!