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.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Love Above Ground


I rarely date. As you can imagine, dating, with my particular background as a handicap, tends to be a bit awkward. To say the least.


And then there’s the problem of how to meet someone. Yes, it’s true; I meet men all day, everyday. You know the answer to that.


But every so often, this hankering comes over me to be loved, to be in a relationship, to have a partner—call me crazy! And before I can stop myself, I do something madcap, like go on the Internet match sites and troll around.


Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of bad Internet dates that lasted two glasses of wine, ten cigarettes and an oath to never do that again. But we do. We do. We climb right back into our office chairs, fire up the monitor and off we go, searching again.

And why do we do that? We do that to find love. Oh I love to be in love. Don’t you love to be in love?’ (alla ‘the Rose’)


But truly, I spend so much time with Love as a verb, creating it where it wouldn’t normally exist, that I long for love as an adjective—a great tidal waves of feeling that just sweeps over me carrying me off in it’s powerful arms.


One night, almost a year after I’d sworn off Internet dating, I open my email to find a note from a man responding to my Internet ad. I thought I had removed my ad, but apparently, even though I was no longer paying for it, the site left my picture and bio up anyway. Driven by curiosity alone, I opened his mail. Not only was he handsome in a distinguished, thirty-something, investment banker sort of way, but he was clever and funny as well. An irresistible combination.


His email read:

Dear Jessica Rabbit (people tell you, you look like her right?) (If they don’t, they should.) Any desire to have a drink in Toon Town? Neil


I answered:

Dear Neil, I am looking to escape Toon Town. Tired of this two dimensional life. Any hopes for a rescue? Jessica


A day later:

Lovely Jessica, I’ll bring my steed. How are you at ‘paddy-cake’?


I wasn’t sure how to take that so I waited a few days and finally determined it was just a playful question so I responded:

Dear Neil, I suppose it’s as good as anyone else’s. Depending on whom I am playing with. Jessica


He wrote back:

Seven is my lucky number. I want this to go well. A man only gets one chance with Jessica Rabbit. How about a drink at Seven, the bar on 7th, on the 7th, at 7.


I couldn’t resist.


On the morning of the 7th, I purposely awoke at 7, to keep the luck in place and went to work. I had a busy day ahead—three clients booked before my evening with the ‘who’ I hoped was finally going to be ‘him’. The one I had been waiting for. High expectations, I know. But what do you expect? I am buried so long underground that when I finally find someone I want to see, to take a night off of work for, to accept a date from, the load is heavy.


At work, I am tingling. I am feeling so lovely, so wanted. I pretend each of my clients is Neil and each gets more than he expected. Normally, I am not a strict clock-watcher, but my last client gets the finale and is out the door exactly at the end of his time, to the minute. I need precisely two hours to get ready and arrive on time.


Make-up, thigh-highs, g-string, ankle-strap high-heeled shoes, black, low-cut cocktail dress, earrings, all go on smoothly. Even my fine, limp, per-Castro Cuba, always in revolution hair, has taken a day of rest and by six-thirty, I am out the door.


I arrive at Seven at 7 sharp. The bar is a row of empty stools. No Neil. Yet. I take the last seat at the end of the bar so he will be forced to sit on my left side—my more pleasing profile. Did you know that most people’s faces look different in profile depending on which side you look at? They do. I learned this doing photo shoots for my website. I order a glass of champagne, 14$ a flute and pretend to be interested in my paper napkin.


At 7:06, I take my sweater off, deciding I look sexier without it. It’s quite chilly in the bar, but first impressions are important so I decide to freeze.


At 7:11, my cell phone rings. Neil. He’s running late but will be there soon. "No Problem." I say. But a little dark ball fills up the hollow in my neck. ‘It happens.’ I think. ‘Not by me. But it happens.’ I have this terrible habit of always being on time. So anal-retentive.


At 7:15, I need a cigarette. New York has instituted the no smoking law. Some bars you can still smoke at. They were grandfathered in because they were cigar-bars. This is not one of them. I debate. Do I go outside to smoke and risk him showing up just then? I don’t want him to hate me right away because I smoke. Plenty to hate me for later. One flaw at a time. And if I do go have a ciggy, will I have time to come back in and brush my teeth before he gets here?

Before I can settle my debate, he arrives. He doesn’t look much like his picture. Luckily he’s cuter. He doesn’t smile when he sees me which sinks my heart and causes me to go into ‘hooker-needs-to-get-in-the door-mode’ and I end up with a smile much too big for my face.

He doesn’t apologize for being late, instead asks if I waited long.


"Since 7." I say.
"What’re drinkin’?" he asks as if he doesn’t recognize a champagne glass.
"Champagne." I answer.
He orders, yes, a Seven and Seven.
"So what happened?" I want to know what would make him late for this very important date.
"Oh yeah. I was playing a game of hoops with some buds and the game ran OT."Huh. Interesting. I decide to let it go.
We chat a little about our lives. I lie about mine. I don’t know if he does the same.


We get on to talking about the ‘Match Sites.’
"Have you had much luck?" I ask.
"Some." He says. "I usually date models, but you know how they are."


I don’t, exactly. I do know that he means ‘tall’. And ‘tall’ is the one button I hate to have pushed. It’s the one irrational trait I am grit-your-teeth, nails-on-a-chalkboard, jealous of. Because it’s the one thing I cannot be. There is no plastic surgery for it. If there were, I would have done it. And throughout my life as a woman, I know it’s the one thing that cannot be trumped. You can be curvy and tight. You can be gregarious, funny and throbbing with warmth. You can have a face like a Goddess. None of that matters. A woman whose lucky enough to be tall, even a woman with a face like a horse and a heart like a glacier, will beat you out every time.


"How are they?" I ask, smile plastered to my pseudo-curious face.
"You go on a date with a model, right?"
"Uh huh."
"First of all, they smoke like chimneys."
"Oh." So much for my slow ease into my cigarette confession. Cold turkey tonight.
"Then, they’re always on their cell phones, calling all their model friends and before you know it, there’s six of ‘em sitting at dinner and you’re paying the check for all of them."
"Why do you do it then?"
"They’re models." He says, looking at me as if I came from Mars.
"Do I look like my picture?" I need to change the conversation.
"Yeah, I suppose. It was a black and white so it had me a bit worried."
"Are you still worried?"
"No. You’re fine."
Fine? Fine, as in really fine? Or fine, as in, you’ll do?"You’re handsomer than your photo." He is but I throw him a bone as well.
"It was an old picture, for work."
He’s not as charming in person. I need to be a little less sensitive. I order a third glass of champagne.


By my fourth glass of champagne and his third Seven and Seven, the conversation is flowing. About what, I don’t remember. We are laughing together. He is becoming the man behind the emails. I am noticing little loveable quirks about him. I notice his habit of stirring his drink with his pinkie. I notice the way his pinkie sticks out when he tilts the glass back to drink. I notice the length of his black eyelashes. They make him look so vulnerable. So human. Watching his lashes, I can imagine what he looked like as a boy. Imagine how everyone must have commented on how cute he was then with those doe-eyes.


His hand is planted on my thigh, stroking it up and down, higher each time. He is wondering if I have thigh-highs on.

I do. But he’ll just have to find that out for himself.

His other hand is running up and down my spine, also seeking the knowledge of what type of panties I’m wearing, if any. I know what he’s doing but I pretend not to be aware. This is something I rarely get—this foreplay with an unknown destination. It’s utterly, soaking wet delicious.


Finally, he can stand it no more and interrupts whatever conversation we were in the middle of to ask,
"Are you wearing panties?"
I dip my head. My eyes coy, lookup at him. My lips form a closed-mouth smile.
"What do you think?"
"Where are they?"
"They’re very very small."
"Hmmm. Do you want to eat something? Should we have dinner?’
"Okay." I’m hungry now and a bit tipsy. I gather my purse and turn to get off the barstool when his lips fall onto mine. We kiss a little too long and a little too passionately for a public place. This doesn’t go unnoticed.


Four heavy-set women, probably my age but looking a bit older, perhaps from the suburbs, walk by us on their way out. The last one comments as she passes us,
"Get a hotel room."
Heated embarrassment rushes through me, causing me to go on the offensive.
"Probably a bitter divorcee." I comment, protecting myself.
"That’s not nice." He says, pissing me off, taking her side.
"Well, why’d she have to say that?" Knowing full well why. I’ve been her so many times watching lovers kiss extravagantly in public while my own heart was breaking with loneliness.
"I feel sorry for her." He said sipping the last of his drink.


He’s sweet. He has sympathy. I like him now.


The host shows us to a booth. My date chooses to sit on the same side with me. We hold hands under the table.

I ask him what the high point in his life has been. He tells me it was when he earned his first million. I ask him why. He tells me how he grew up poor, and the details of that childhood.
I am beginning to understand his desire for models, and no longer taking it personally.


He asks me what the stupidest thing I ever said in my life was.

I say,
"I had been an actress. I was on the road for a year with the same people in a bus and truck tour. We all loved each other but were highly sick of one another. One day, we were in D.C. to do a show at the Kennedy Center. They had us staying in Georgetown, and together we were all walking to the theatre. On the way, we passed an apartment complex called "Watergate" and I said, not really understanding what had happened back then, "Hey, you guys! Look! They named a building after the scandal. My compatriots groaned, rolled their eyes and walked on. Not in exasperation but in pure hatred."
He laughs. "So I’m guessing you’re in your twenties."
I raise my eyebrows and smile. Why not let him stay with that.


Dessert is Key Lime Pie. Tart and luscious, he feeds me with our only fork and saves the last bite for my mouth. I take some wine in my mouth and bring his lips to mine, letting the wine pour slowly, like a Bacchanalian fountain, into his.
"You’re lips are like…pillows. Like clouds."
I know this. Listen, I’m not much in the tall model category, but one thing I do know is, I am the girl with the magic kisses. On the outside, I am just an attractive, interchangeable, petite gal, but one kiss and zappo! I am transformed. A spell is cast.
I kiss him again to set it in cement.


The bill comes. I excuse myself to the Ladies’ Room to brush my teeth and leave him in privacy to finish the business. When I return, he is standing with my sweater over his arm. This Knight holds it out for me to slip into.
"Let me take you home?" He offers.
He hails a cab and I give the driver my address.


In the back of the taxi, we are making out like high school kids in the back of a Chevy. I can feel my own wetness on the flesh of my thighs just above the line of my stockings. My hand brushes his lap. The bulge in his jeans sends a tingle I haven’t felt in ages, up my pussy.
The cab pulls to a stop in front of my address.
I don’t want him to go. I don’t want to sleep with him yet. I like him too much. But, ugh! I don’t want him to leave.


Upstairs, we tear our clothes off, falling into the cloud of my thick feather bed. We begin to kiss again, with momentum, but slowly and for no reason I can discern, the momentum fades. We seem to be going through the motions. The outcome is too certain maybe? We are not ready for intimacy of this sort yet? The dinner became so intimate. This seems like too much.


I don’t know why I said it.

Well I do, actually.

I said it merely to get the momentum going again.

At least that’s how I meant it.

There we were, I, in my lingerie, he is his boxers with a fine hard-on poking through when I whispered in his ear,
"Do you think I’m pretty?"


What did I expect? I expected him to say, "Oh God yes!" and then grab me and kiss me and start the ball rolling again. I wasn’t actually fishing for a compliment, just a way to get us moving again. I guess it was the wrong thing to ask because instead of answering me, he sat up and stared.


"Oh." I said.
"I’m not going to be forced to say something I wasn’t going to say in the first place." Is what he said.


Wow. That was like a two-by-four slamming into my skull.


"Come here." He holds my neck in his hands, moving my face toward his mouth. I resist, pulling backward.
"If I’m not pretty, what am I?"
"Oh come on. Let’s not talk."
"No. I want to know. What am I?"
He sits back on his heels and scans me.
"I’d say, you are…classically…sexy. Okay?"
Classically sexy? Classically sexy? What the fuck is that?
"Huh." Is all that comes out of me.
"Come on. Don’t do this." He takes my hand, forcing it to feel his hardness.
"I think you should go."
"What?" He has the audacity to be incredulous.
"I can’t make love to a man who doesn’t think I’m pretty."
"So you’re going to fault me for being honest?"
"No. You be what you need to be and I’ll do what I need to do."
"I’m not a wimp. I won’t be forced to say something that isn’t in my head."
"So don’t. But I want you to go."
"So you’re going to make me leave like this?" He gestures to his penis.
"I’ve had ‘blue balls’ many times in my life. Most women do almost every time they have sex. Believe me, you’ll survive."
"Why do you want to coerce me into saying something I don’t believe."
"I don’t. Get dressed."


He dresses. I put on a robe. We move in silence. I walk him to the door. I open the door to let him out. He doesn’t move.


"This is ridiculous." He says.
"You know what you do tomorrow? When you’re at the gym, in the locker room with the guys, you tell them what happened tonight. You tell them, that this girl, half-naked, on the verge of sex, asked you if she was pretty, and you tell them what you said. And you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to hit you upside your head. They are. I mean isn’t that something they teach all boys in the eighth grade or something?"
"What?" He says, crossing his arms over his chest.
"If you’re in bed with a girl, right? And your cock is this close to her vagina, say anything! Say whatever it takes to get in the door! Lie! Lie, for god’s sake. We know you’re going to lie. That’s what they teach girls! We know. But we don’t care! We want to hear it."
"Well, I don’t lie. And I don’t want to be forced to say—"
"I know. And so, goodnight."


I lock the door behind him.


Is this what girls in the ‘real world’ go through?


The next day at work, as a test, I decide to wear the same outfit I wore the night before with Neil. I collect three ‘beautifuls’, two ‘gorgeous’, and one ‘what amazing planet do you come from.’


I decide I like it better in the underworld.





























3 Comments:

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