Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Friday, November 19, 2004

"Always expect the Unexpected."

"Always expect the unexpected."

When I accept a new client for an appointment, I never know who will be coming through the door. Or what baggage might be coming in with him.

This is a source of some anxiety but also, admittedly, some excitement—the thrill of the challenge; the thrill of the unknown.

There are only two groups of men, past experience has taught me never to see anymore. Physicians, and Frenchmen.

Physicians because as a whole, they are always late, never seem to be able to follow my directions to my place just a few doors away, usually argue about the price and don’t seem to have the ability to relate on any human level. Not all, but so many that the experience leaves me feeling depleted.

(Nothing personal. I myself, have a mad crush on my own GP.)

Frenchman because as a group, they tend to be arrogant and make me feel as if I should be grateful they have dained to see someone like me when they are usually with women so much more beautiful. This too leaves me feeling yucky.

(Question: How does a Frenchman commit suicide? Answer: He climbs all the way up, on top of his ego, and he jumps.)

(Actually, I love the French. I love France. I love the language and the culture. It just seems, Frenchmen, as clients, are a breed unto themselves.)

So even though I am sure there are many good Physicians and Frenchmen out there, I don’t like to take the chance anymore.

Other than that, anyone from any race could walk up my stairs.

A few months ago, my visitor was a Hassidic man. This was not something I could discern over the phone of course, so when he came to my door, I was a bit surprised. I haven’t seen many Hassidic men. It tends to be a rare occurrence. But I have seen a few and the experience was nothing out of the ordinary.

The bigger surprise was the baggage he secretly brought with him.

I buzzed to open the security lock downstairs, then opened the door to my apartment to watch him ascend the stairs.

He was a stout man, his beach-ball belly straining to their limit, the buttons on his white collared shirt. The fringe of his tzi-tzi hung below his belt. The combination of the black curls lining his face, his full mustache and tangled, billowing beard, hid all flesh on his face except his forehead, his pudgy pink cheeks, and his proud nose. His demeanor was all seriousness, belied only by the sparkle in his blue, startling eyes.

Closing the door behind him, I embraced him, as I do all my visitors and was immediately set upon by a pungent odor that emanated from him.

I ushered him to my sofa where we sat side-by-side. Ignoring the smell, I proceeded to make chitchat, finding out more about him; why he chose to come see me in particular? Why now, at this time in his life? Where was he from? What does he do for living? Etc. And while my mouth and mind were talking my nose was frantically trying to discern what that peculiar smell was that seemed to surround him like a bad aura.

I also began to wonder how I was going to make the intimacy happen in these conditions.
Once we got the pre-lims out of the way, I suggested he take a shower first. It was the only way I could think of to be able to move forward with our ‘date’.

He replied firmly, that it was against his religion.

I explained that in this situation, it wasn’t such an unusual request. I ask this of all my clients. (Not true actually. Just the ones who seem to need it. Few and far between.)

He again staunchly declined.

To buy time, I engaged him in more conversation to give myself time to think. While he was talking, I became somewhat hypnotized watching his beard move as he spoke. It was a wire-y, thick beard, streaked with all shades of black and gray, which hung from his cheeks down to the curve of his belly. As I sat near him, it became clear to my nose, it was his beard that the main odor arose from.

Fish. Onions. Stale milk.

How did his wife deal with it? I couldn’t imagine.

When I began to speak, giggly, cheerfully, about nothing really, I suddenly noticed that although he was not now talking, his beard was still animated. It seemed to take on a life of it’s own. The way a man sometimes finds it impossible to remove his eyes from a woman’s cleavage, so it was for me, as I was unable to take my eyes from his active, bustling beard.

Time was ticking and I could sense his restlessness to get on with the ‘good part’. Once again, I gently suggested a quick shower.

He once again, stiffly refused.

Just at that moment, his beard began to rustle fervently; ardently moving on it’s own in all directions. Then suddenly, out from the center of the beard nest, leaped an enormous cockroach. My hand grabbed my client’s arm, but neither of us made a sound. We watched as the creature landed on the coffee table. The roach too, seemed to be a bit startled as it stood, antennae circling, trying to discern it’s new whereabouts.

Slowly, not to scare the roach into a run, I whispered to my client, "Don’t take your eyes off him." and I made my way from the sofa toward the kitchen. Due to my earlier experience with these treacherous creatures, I was going for the Tupperware and the Raid.

Just as I was returning armed, the roach, probably sensing the impending danger, broke into a sprint, and we were all off to the races. A crazy, cartoon-like chase ensued around my apartment, in which the Hassid and I, scrambled in all directions. Leaping onto the couch, tipping over chairs, pushing tables in pursuit of this road-runner beast, we finally cornered it, sprayed it to it’s death, and triumphantly tossed the Tupperware coffin on top of it.

For a moment, we stood, catching our breath.

Finally, I looked at him. His face, the little that was visible, was a beet purple-red.

‘Where is your shower?’ Was all he said.

I smiled and pointed the way.

While he was in the shower, I sat bewildered. ‘What is it with me and these roaches?’ I was living some kind of Kafka-esk nightmare.

The rest of the session proceeded in the usual fashion. The roach adventure broke some invisible barrier, bringing out the boyish sense of humor, hidden earlier in his eyes. When he left, we embraced in an odor-free hug and promised to get together again.

A few months later, he called for another appointment. He has a very common first and last name so as I was chatting with him about dates and times we might get together, I was also looking through my files to find his card. I wanted to check any notes I might have on him that would jog my memory as to who he was.

When I found it, I had written only two words to remind myself: Gregor Samsa.

"I would love to see you," I say, "but next time, you have to promise to come alone."

I could hear his eyes smiling on the other end of the line.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger Tinwa said...

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I have been doing hours of research on hair removal and it brought me to your blog on . Anyways, Persephone N. Hades I was reading your blog and I think it is really cool. It’s really a pleasure reading your posts! Keep up the great work.

Keep blogging away :-)


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