See also my LessWrong preface to this series, and previous installments.

"Strategic intimacy is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as the parties involved share equivalent understandings of the degree of economic utility..."

It was very generic, I guess that’s what threw me. Because I was like, I don’t think this is you writing this.

I was drunk, it wasn’t me writing that. And I can write generic, when I want. Remember college essays?

Oh, stop. What if it hadn’t been you? Or they were coercing you?

I would think of somethi—Hey, I know! I started putting my key under the neighbor’s mat whenever I leave my apartment to go to these things. Because even if they steal my purse with my building key, I usually hold onto my phone, I can get into the building that way⏤

Oh, that makes me feel better.

⏤but I could say some codephrase, like, ‘I forgot to put my key under the mat tonight,’ if I’m under duress. Otherwise, I’ll say ‘I remembered to put my key under the mat tonight,’ or just nothing… yeah… but what if one night, I actually forget to put my key under the mat and I slip and tell you that, just talking? Without thinking?

Baby, what if your phone dies while you’re out? Then how do you even call me to check in with me?

Because people who kidnap young girls like me into sex slavery will definitely respect the one-phonecall thing to begin with, yes…

Exactly! I’m sure they do… They have mothers…

I’m going out tonight, too.


Yeah, I—

No, no. Don’t. You—

I’m going, the Germans invited me again. I haven’t responded yet, but I think I’ll just show up, after So-and-So’s experiential theater thing. It’s safe, they have to manufacture a bit of perceived danger at these places. Always the remote possibility of a poor young lass’s abduction. Like those ‘speakeasies,’ they’re just bars with bookshelves for doors if some small percentage of you doesn’t feel like Prohibition is still—

You’ve gone two nights this week already, that’s enough. Especially the drinking. You wouldn’t have to drown your face in SK-II like you do if you just quit drowning your face in alcohol at these things.

Mom, it’s part of the fieldwork—I feel like the guy from Fiddler On The Roof every time I say fieldwork, like, ‘Fieldwork!’—but otherwise you’re not really there, like if you were some anthro guy who set out to study some remote Amazonian tribe, but your method was to hop into a sensory deprivation tank you erected in the middle of their encampment and hope the answers just com—

Ok, got it, but baby, you’re studying compu—

It’s all safe, I’m sure you think that book is pure samizdat for radicalizing me into a party animal, but these academic projects are sanctioned to hell, they’re like the opposite of Indiana Joneses, it has to already be in a museum for them to care about it. Also I’m sure the city has TAO on a tight leash, like, lose poor young lasses, lose pour-your-liquor-licenses. My little bush league survey isn’t much, but it’s becoming probably the longest book review ever, it’s like the Long Telegraph—do you—

Nu-uh. Only you, child.

—Oh. So, I think it was during the Truman administration, it was after World War Two, when everything was up for grabs. There was this diplomat I think was living in one of the countries threatened by the Iron Curtain or was witnessing it firsthand like that. A lot of policy after the war in the Forties was up for grabs, and he sent this telegram to Truman that was basically him laying out what eventually became a lot of early Cold War forign policy, because he was close to what was happening. I can’t remember if it was about nuclear policy or just Iron Curtain stuff about the Soviets presenting a threat in general, because nuclear was really up for grabs then, too. But he knew he needed to get through, to the administration, so he sent this scroll of a telegram. I think it was like seventy or ninety pages’ worth on whatever angle he wanted to get through to the President. And it became known as the ‘Long Telegram’ because of that. And I think he meant it as a PR gambit, the length, and that carried it forward initially, because the ideas were too new to work on their own, but then the ideas became orthodox on their own two feet, because they had some training wheels initially…HEY how about ‘Pineapple?’ Impossible to mistake or get garbled over the phone, can probably even get it out through a gag.

Um…sure. Perfect.

So I’ll just blurt that out when they give me my one phonecall, right before they drag me into the van and I’m never heard from again. Or you call Liam Neeson, and I am heard from again, and—

Har-har, you’re so funny. Oh, my baby. Just be careful… And watch your drink—you have been watching your drink at these things, haven’t you?

Yes! Of course I have. Maybe I’ll even get that nail polish that you can dip in it and it changes colors if someone spiked your drink.

They make that? Oh… …just stay safe. My baby…

Or that ring of mine, you know, that pointy one. Poke their eyes out. 

Just… …be safe… …my baby…

So-and-So’s experiential theater thing doesn’t happen, because I leave work too late, because I don’t want to go. For starters, it’s out in Red Hook. Every Manhattanite visualizes a parody of that New Yorker cover when they think of the neighborhood, which is so far off the beaten path a Swedish company subsidized a ferry over to it just to embarrass us, iT’s TiMe tO BuIlD. And then the play itself, it forcibly conscripts you into your own cast of one and directs at you to Marina Abramović your way through IKEA’s displays of cheap furniture until you’re sufficiently enlightened:

…a guerrilla, branching narrative performance that transforms the mundane spaces of a well-known store in Brooklyn into a series of worlds, fantasies and meditations. Participants are prompted to navigate and interact with the store through a series of choices and tasks. Play along with Jane, who's turning 40, as we consider the narratives we’re being sold, the pathways we’ve chosen, and the personal and societal costs of our choices. 

Besides triggering my early-warning system like dozens of nukes vaulting over the North Pole—hours on end of wandering around IKEA performing some inscrutable ritual that’s such a conspicuous simulacrum of the furniture shopping everyone else watching me is doing, they’ll likely stone me with meatballs for appearing to be possessed—the character you inhabit is named Jane, my real name, too. Hearing another Jane narrate my thoughts and qualia in the first person inside my skull for that long, I’ll probably contract some reverse-chirality Capgras delusion. No part of me wants to consider the narratives I’m being sold, or the pathways I’ve chosen, or the personal and societal costs of my choices. And no part of me wants to consider turning forty, when I no longer have my precious heightslendernessyouthandfacialbeautyheightslendernessyouthandfacialbeautyheightslendernessyouthandfacialbeautyheightslendernessyouthandfacialbeauty to get me through this life. I break the news to my playwright friend as I walk home from work, which reminds me I also have bad news to break to my promoter friend from last night:

I get home and promptly collapse into bed, drifting off to sleep, the late nights and at-my-desk-at-nines from the last two days overcoming me. Late, later, I come to, something about falling asleep when it’s dark, only to wake up when it’s still dark. Elements of the dream world don’t stay put like they should. Like your body knows it only gets one good shot at unconsciousness for whatever repairs or bottoms-up or top-down consolidating it needs to do, and it’ll fight you for your sentience if it fails to see light at one end or the other of the tunnel, foot on the brake, you trying to rev the accelerator. I get up out of bed and try to draw on some eyeliner all groggily, to balance out my humongous pupils.

Nothing from the Germans, they assume I’m just too polite now probably, noncommittal because I want them to leave me alone. At least I’ll be a surprise. I theorize to myself, who else, about labor while I don my uniform, trying to avoid pretzeling myself in my dress again: It’s funny how gray-area superimposition roles like girls, the legibility of the role is that it’s not ‘their labors are so well-disguised,’ so they’re thought of as ‘less-than’ a real job recognized as such, but it’s like, their labors are so literally ‘well-disguised’ it’s such an intense thing, and the role can’t literally be thought of as a job. Like we can’t stare at the sun, not because it’s invisible, but because it’s too searingly bright. …and ride’s here lock door down stairs hop in car shut door pull down dress. Never left my apartment after one-am before. Uber didn't demand pictorial proof I’m masked up for my ride for once. As if even their mechanical turks were asleep now.

Soon enough we’re zipping up Tenth, and then the driver slows down and veers over to the curb on the right side of the street, across from The Marquee. I step out of the car and peer up at the towering apartment blocks I’m facing. A decade ago there was this little cartoon building monster, the anti-mascot for this grassroots campaign against a high-rise development going up in a residential neighborhood in another part of my hometown. I drove through recently, the signs are still up in some yards, like if they fell short of some critical mass it would be tantamount to giving the googly-eyed, bushy-browed buildingzilla license to rampage through the sleepy hamlet. I start to cross the street, hitting Send on a message I composed for Jason on my ride over in sync with my first step:

Two bouncers manning the club’s exit off to the left are watching me cross, and one makes some comment about me as I step onto the sidewalk. I turn back around so they can’t see my further reactions, and now my back’s to the club like I’m facing the wrong way standing in an elevator. I can’t turn back around now though, that’s tacit admission. So I hunch my shoulders up inside my trusty jacquard coat, because an upright carpet is less notable than a six-one girl standing all alone out in front of a nightclub. I check my phone again:

Years ago, for a class, I watched a documentary which featured those apartments, back across the street, I’m staring up at them again, in case one spontaneously sprouts a brow. Some or other angle on inequality—the contrast, the public housing block I’m facing with the forty-thousand-a-year private school one block to the south and west, was meant to draw one’s ire, or else evoke some vacuous sympathy. One of the rich kids who attended the school commits suicide. The doc insinuates he was that guilt-ridden about being complicit in such a stark display of inequality. Buzzzzzz:

It dawns on me They’re Not Here as if I’ve just witnessed a flagrant violation of object permanence; I moved their pieces on my tabletop Manhattan over to Marquee after Wednesday, and that was that. And they moved! All on their own! Vibbbbbrrrrate:

Why did I think they were here, think the day’s earlier invite meant it so it is/shall be written/done, that they would just lie in wait on the off-chance I’d show. They can’t come here now, they can’t. On account of me not knowing they weren’t already here. The obligations of it all. Strings tripwires collapse light bad. I have to stop them. This. And they’ll just go back to godknows what I tore them from when I sent up my bat-signal. Haaaaptic feeeeeeedback:

Their poor driver. I’ve been folding imperceptible bits of rotation into each shift of my weight, which one does often in heels, I’m almost facing north now, the club is starting to enter my field of vision once more, the line of people waiting to get in, the main entr-Fuck! Not now…fuck this. Bouncer. Yes, that one. You will see me...two more times, if you do bad.Twenty-Sixth Street is a few dozen steps away, I picture myself making a break for it, continuing west until I’m fully submerged in the inky blackness of the river. But some stubborn, honor-bound p–

I feel my phone buzz and haptic and vibrate with more of this, all throughout the guaranteed two minutes, as well as the bonus three minutes after, I tilt-shift the scene in my head and try to mesmerize myself away in the ebb and flow of traffic, watching the cars and the cabs whiz by, sometimes more cars, others mostly cabs; a few cabs and Ubers drop off partygoers, who scurry over to take their places at the back of the main line, and one group of people leaves the club, the two bouncers hold open the doors for them, and they perch themselves nearby on the curb for the three cycles of traffic-notraffic it takes them to successfully hail a ride; the timed stoplights switch to red to green to yellow quickly to red again in domino-collapsing succession at each intersection all up the avenue, shooting beyond the dark horizon and giving the impression this process must circumnavigate the earth, with each color’s playhead advancing at near-lightspeed pace. Sufficiently lulled, I could stay like this forever, they won’t arrive, daylight won’t arrive, only the changing lights, Will the circle be unbroken, by and by Lor–

They arrive, both German men. Seeing them materialize out of the cab like that, it does nothing to dissuade me these nights, that this all, it all, happens just for me. Beck and call beck and call, who’s the solipsist of them all? They wait for traffic on Tenth to pass and cross the street, over to me. ‘Partygirl, from Texas,’ Jason again with the lead, Jeffery saying nothing. I can’t remember anything at all that was said, if that was his greeting, even. Their English seems inconsistently broken, a moving target I keep trying to derive a grammar out of. Circuits that usually parse bits of conversation into memory footholds fail to activate. 

I know we stand in front of the club’s entrance for at least a few minutes, before Tao’s omnibouncer motions us to get in the left line, an empty lane shaped by two parallel rows of metal barriers which I’ve so far only seen promoters or groups of men and girls that look like promoter outfits enter. The line on the opposite side of the entrance is jam packed with peons. Why didn’t he just let us hop the low velvet rope in front of the entrance instead, where we were just standing. We wander around the lane’s mouth with the same sulking plod you adopt when the TSA can’t be bothered to tear down the further reaches of the security queue during the airport’s off-peak hours. The dinky little formality of it.

They keep slipping into German with each other, This fucking bitch, making us scramble like that, or Fuck I’m glad we made it, just look at her, no clue how they’re feeling about this whole thing. Jason looks back and smiles at me, as if to sweep the deutschsprachigen under the rug. I look for something in the way of reassurance in my guardian bouncer’s demeanor as he reaches through the pair to take my vax and identity cards first. He scrutinizes them like it’s the first time he’s seen either. This is like your club, right, you wouldn’t dream of letting anything bad happen to me, while I’m inside, right? Doesn’t make eye contact. He hands both items back to me and moves on to the men. I guess he’s seen theirs already, too. At Fleur. ‘Alright, the young lady goes in through the North Entrance, and the Gentlemen enter through the South.’ 

The tidy inadequacy of these two euphemisms defuses my anxiety, just a little, but I still feel like I should’ve beat it around the corner earlier when I had the chance. I catch Jason’s gaze as he watches me walk through the door, for confirmation I’m inside, I guess. I take about a dozen steps forward over to the wall by coatcheck and lean against it, and watch the men while they’re at some window which looks like one you could purchase movie tickets from, talking with the attendant inside. Several minutes pass like this, the pair and the attendant exchange a few things through the slit between them.

They finish and walk over to me. ‘Take your coat?’ I shimmy it off and hand it to one of them, I don’t know why I do, it only binds me to them more. I guess I’m bowled over a bit at not having to cough up five dollars for the privilege for once. We pass through a short hallway with a large neon sign and are spit out out right into the mass of people dancing on the main floor. ‘They’re clearing a table for us,’ Jason shouts into my ear over the commotion of the beat, and drags me by the wrist to the right along the perimeter of the main floor and toward the bar at the back of the club. He flags down a waiter, and she runs to fetch me a shotglass of tequila after I tell him that’s what I want and he tells her that’s what he wants.

Stupid. Thinking I could just stop off here whenever and walk in and find them at a table already, like they’re non-playable characters, and that’s the only behavior permitted by their programming. I’d find them surrounded by another harem, built up just so I could wreck it again and preside atop the jealous rubble. Mr. Tao would be with them again, too, so I could talk to him. Club owners keep mum in Very Important People, wheeled out on occasion to dispense snide little pot-kettle remarks disparaging everyone involved in nightlife save themselves. I doubt the folks at Tao H.Q. got there as the commenting sort. Loose lips sink whaling ships. But I’m not undercover, at least not on behalf of serious people who want to read serious things about his world.

We’re taken to our table, which club staff just booted some promoters from to free up for us. A few of the girls with them are really glowering at me, They must really have something else going for them, to have a girl like you with them. Client-something privilege. Billed as a privileged look into the lives of the illegible moneyed elite, clients are rarely studied up close as individuals by the book vis-à-vis their debaucherous proclivities. A peek at the underbelly, rather than a beholdance of the entire beast. Some are interviewed, twenty in all, but they’re rich, so count on that sample to lean heavily self-selected. There’s very little rich folk are better at than self-selection. Throughout the entire book, we only get one show-don’t-tell depiction of a client:

Next, the whale played a game. He held out his Cristal bottle to nearby girls’ faces for them to drink from. This caught most girls by surprise: they paused for a second, registered his invitation, and accepted a drink. Most did this by holding onto his bottle with one hand as he pushed it to their lips.

But one girl, who looked like a model, declined his bottle by turning her head away. In an instant, he grabbed her chin and pulled her face to the bottle of Cristal. She frowned, but he held her face in place and managed to dip the bottle into her mouth. She swallowed some of it, but the fizz was too much, and she had to spit it out with a little spray, wiping her face and scowling. The client quickly turned away and ignored her, pumping his fist into the air to the DJ’s set, the bottle of Cristal in the other hand, while the girl sat down, shaking her head and wiping her face, looking disgusted. She left shortly after this…

…As I thought this, the client turned to me and held out his bottle. I put a hand on the side to steady it, drank, and said “Thanks!” in as chipper a tone as I could muster.

But even that’s interspersed with a less-than-chipper generalization:

…This scene of masculine domination should give anyone pause. When scholars like French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu use the concept of masculine domination, they usually do so to describe the subtler registers of the symbolic realm, those small ways in which women come to view themselves as inferior relative to men. But here, with a $1,700 bottle of champagne, brute masculine power can be symbolically and physically wielded over a woman…

Both the big game and the hunters, clients aren’t where Very Important People is keen to spend its limited human-interest budget, overwhelmingly favoring the hunting guides. This is largely to the benefit of the book written, a book about one surprisingly intricate impedance-matching mechanism within the larger apparatus that launders wealthy individuals’ unlimited means and churns actual atoms into the manna that satiates their equally unbounded appetites. Skimming the research appendix, it doesn’t appear Mears went out with any clients as their guest during her time in the field, save for one group trip to the Hamptons which she notes was organized through a promoter. The general aboveboardedness of the effort was in all likelihood a limiting factor here:

With permission from the Boston University Institutional Review Board for research with human subjects, I began to observe and interview promoters systematically…

Review boards are notoriously Kafkaesque, and no researcher was ever inquisitioned for making a Type I error. This goes double for sociology, since one isn’t potentially saving lives in exchange for accepting…what sort of risk, exactly?

Strategic intimacy is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as the parties involved share equivalent understandings of the degree of economic utility.

Ah. Another double-bind. Do you see it?Very Important People is about systems that aren’t quite systems, or are perhaps more than systems, in that they perform real coordination without much in the way of straight lines. There are no statecharts here, only strings attached. And this success isn’t by dint of some metis they’ve accumulated over the eons—potlatches were very different back then, subwoofers are hard to justify lugging around if you’re nomadic—so the curvy contradictions of the modern nightlife economy are not reflections of some hyper-dimensional optimization going on under the hood. They are not elaborate rituals for processing cyanide-laced tubers

Sociology largely concerns itself with attempting to straighten out these lines, and proceeds as if the resolution of contradictions is the surest means by which we may gain insight into the nature of contradiction itself. However, here, more is different: At each level of complexity entirely new properties appear, and the understanding of the new behaviors requires research which is as fundamental in nature as any other. Complex numbers have no natural orderings, and likewise, in many arenas, there simply is no up. In both cultivation and fruit, Sociology hopes to remain in the real. But the complex beckons: abstract, imaginary, magical means, by which meaningful results about the real world, those not amenable to straight lines, may be elucidated. These methods were not readily accepted by mathematicians, nor were they in the arts, and other disciplines have not even begun in this. 

Any hint of quid pro quo and your results are impugned to death by committee⏤the tripwires are all cut, the superimposition collapses into a harsh, unflattering legibility. Thus, in order to do good work, any work, you must embalm your own élan vital, bottle it up until the substance is dead in heart and legible in word. That’s what separates us from the bad guys. Maybe, in the movies. Any hint you employed your personal accumulations of capital, your mutantness, too much to your advantage in ways others could not hope to follow, The Departments of Systems of Power Relations that Enable Value Accumulation from Bodily Resources that Aren’t One’s Own Studies are highly adverse to systems of power relations that enable value accumulation from bodily resources that are one’s own. They’ll brand you as an alchemist. But perhaps don’t go burning your papers just yet.

Who watches the watch dealers? Right now I do. Jeffrey seems to have roped in a few of the girls who were part of the departing promoter posse, and we’re all standing around the booth as we dance, Jason is slightly behind me and to the left, to his left are two of Jeffery’s girls, Jeffery, and then another girl. Two German citizens, three good citizens, and me, from Latvia or wherever. We have our array of bottles now, among them some good tequila, like, the good stuff, Jason already poured me a proper dose of it on the rocks, in a proper glass.

Jason and Jeffery frequently catch eye contact with each other for short periods of time, like telepathic deutschsprachigenis also within their repertoire. Double-key encryption. I watch on one occasion as they stare, and then break into smiles, nodding slowly, like they’re congrats themselves. I’m part dancing, part Steve Irwining them, when something like a pile driver squashes open-toed right big toe nearly through the raised floor our booth sits on.

‘Oh, oh, I’m so sorry!’

Pain, pain-pain, pain, pain. Fuck, I’m nearly doubled over. Jason doesn’t immediately leap in with a chivalrous shake-the-life-outta-the-guy-by-the-lapels because he was preoccupied by something  Jeffery was gesturing to him, of course.. Ah– Ah–  Oowwwwa–I bolt upright when I feel a draft because my entire bum is now exposed in this short fucking dress. Another grimace ripples through me and then, tranquility. I’m now staring through the guy’s chest at whatever’s behind him, pillowed in a sort of post-brainfreeze lull.

He notices the signs somebody’s home again, grips my left bicep, crans his neck to get closer to the ear on that side of me, and shouts You’re beautiful! in such a genuine way the compliment can’t possibly be misconstrued as an apology for the stomp, and moves on. Having only partially collected myself, I elbow Jason and motion for a refill. A question pops into my head, and I shout it into his ear after he’s returned and we’ve clinked our glasses:

‘Like, how much is a watch you guys usually sell worth!?’

I lean back as he untilts his head, smiles. ‘On this trip? We have six deals we have done. One of them was,’ he names a dollar amount in the upper-six figures.

One of them!? What abou–’

I fall silent as I track his gaze, which has fallen on Jeffrey, he’s reaching across the two good civilians for Jeffrey’s wrist, which the latter had stuck out before I even halted with my follow-up question. Jason holds his partner’s wrist perpendicular to the floor, like he’s just KO’ed a guy, and rotates the watch adorning it so I can see its face. I severely wish I had dated a watch guy prior to this. John Mayer, if you’re reading this, call me, you’re not too old. Because it looks like a watch. There’s no way Jeffrey heard what I asked Jason. They practiced or something. Jeffrey never even broke eye contact with Good Civilian Number Two. Jason is still grinning, and as he slowly releases Jeffrey’s wrist to melt its way back into the beat, now looking at me again.

He’s doing this anticipatory smile, he does this thing every now and then, both today and at Fleur, sometimes in concert with Jeffrey. Like I’m stringing them along as they await some shibboleth that’s scripted somewhere to come out of me and they’re nervously going Yes, and… until I get this train back on its tracks, to everyone’s great relief. I turn back around and close my eyes and pretend to be lost in the music. Like I’m a jazz drummer taking a solo, and they’re hoping I signal the one because they’ve otherwise lost track of it while they were mesmerized by what I was putting ou—

I feel Jason’s hand latch onto my inner right thigh and squeeeeeeeeze, and slide up to the cheek and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze again, he massages it for several more seconds before I register any of it, before I can register he’s past all my usual pre-confrontation defenses that have almost always handled these things in advance for me and shirked any conscious decision on my part. I have to decide something. I have to decide something. He’s making his way up to my crotch, I feel him start groping around there, and I decide I am not fucking chipper and that I want to march up to the DJ booth and handle the record scratch myself.

I very much want to be an impartial detached observer right now, floating in my sensory deprivation tank. I want there to be something that separates me from the bad guys, I want this to be a movie. I want to consider all the narratives I’m being sold, and the pathways I’ve chosen, and the personal and societal costs of my choices. Fuck this, no, this is bad, not doing this, can’t do this and I whip around and grab his hand at the wrist and push it down from my crotch and off me, tripwire cut, string no longer attached. Idiotically thinking I’d get sole bragging rights to having kickstarted my very own discipline of Mutant Studies like it was Progress Studies’s cooler younger sibling, like I’d become some unique brand of wunderkind for parlaying a book review into public intellectualdom like it’s my sex tape or something.

I’m leaving, th-thank you for everything,’ why do I fucking thank him, ‘I have to go, home, I- I want to go home, it’s late…’

‘Okay, you go to get your coat from coatcheck,’ he digs around in his pocket and hands the ticket that corresponds to my coat and come back and we will walk out together. Okay?’

I nod and shout something in the affirmative and stumble down the first few stairs and catch myself and leverage myself up and pause and hold my hand holding the ticket in front of my face so I know I still have it and take the rest of the stairs one-by-one because of the tequila and onto the dance floor and squeeze between-along the mass of bodies and the wall and a rain of confetti and green and blue lights and if I drop the ticket I’m done for because of the confetti and I’m near the front and there are tables behind a velvet rope along the wall and a man with big biceps says to me as I walk past him in a loud magnimions tone Come join my table and I nod my head no no, no no and keep walking a few more steps straight ahead towards the curtain concealing the exit and another man who just unclipped a portion of the velvet rope that’s ahead of me how nice and I walk past him and shit and he this isn’t the exit clips it behind me as soon as I realize and I’ve just joined and turn around and look at the indoor bouncer and no no no wrong way sorry and it takes him agonizing seconds and seconds to realize what I’m asking and reunclip the portion of the velvet rope and I bolt and find the hallway leading out past the neon sign down the hallway coatcheck ticket initials what I need your initials and Someone did it for me I didn’t check it I need initials um  J G uh W please just give it to me she leaves she comes back coat shimmy in out North door bouncer? no hailcab traffic-notraffic-traffic cabhailed open dive West Village home key mat apartment bed. 




… …

Roll back over.

I gave in. With Jason. I gave in. I gave into it. The Bergeronian impulse. I gave in. Their handicap, it went off in my head, sent me stark raving out of there. I decided I had to decide, I felt what I felt what I should have felt I felt, ‘You’re not–’,  ‘You can’t–’, I was Girarded by The Cathedral. What’s the difference, where’s the qualitative difference, anyways? Between me getting dressed up like that and going out like that and being looked at like, you know, that, like that, and being felt up like that? The touch barrier? Are eyes dumber, less imaginative, than hands? And what about that guy who smashed my toe into the floor? By walking in there, like that, don’t you think, I’ve already sold my soul? And then they act like haggling over the amount is what capsizes the whole enterprise back into virtue. As if I’d actually have to pay up this one time, when that bill for selling my soul comes due, I don’t pay for anything in this world, that’s the golden rule here, you’re telling me this is different? What’s the difference, tell me, between Jason or any client feeling up your body, something you didn’t work a single second for, and the tsk tsks of some abstract Review Board you never once consciously invited into your very own head having their way with your research methods, your fieldwork, however anarchic or laissez faire, your sweat-blood-tears your—Would, on my own, my early warning system have tolerated his feeling me up much longer, much higher? No, probably not! Maybe! But we’ll never know, because I decided to—We’re supposed to be detached observers of reality, right up until we actu—

I roll back up, breathe in sharply, suddenly, and this trips the circuit on this whole mini Feyerabend firebrand episode of mine, and I lazily nod my gaze around my apartment on the outbreath as it all washes over me. Laptop. I grab it from my bedside table, open it, and soon enough I’m watching the noirish opening of Casino Royale. Why on earth I decided to decide to watch this movie, search me, you won’t find it anywhere, and I certainly can’t. Lord knows you’re probably better at it than I am: 

Well, your beauty's a problem. You worry you won't be taken seriously—Which one can say of any attractive woman with half a brain—True, but this one overcompensates… which gives her a somewhat prickly demeanor...

I suppose I don't have to tell you how beautiful you look…Half the people at that table are still watching you…champagne?

I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman—That is something to be afraid of

Dawn is breaking by the time Daniel Craig spits out The bitch is dead, and I roll back-back over to sleep for a few hours.

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