Saturday, October 27, 2007

the giver

Last night I sat on my friend Maria's couch, watching her coax her live-in boyfriend Arthur into getting her a glass of water from the kitchen. Her eyes were droopy and winsome as a sleepy puppy's, her legs curled listlessly under her in the cushions. "Please, baby? Please?"

I was fascinated. It was so foreign. The art of asking for things, making people want to tell you yes. I can pull it off sometimes, but I haven't mastered it, can't do it on command. And honestly, I've never liked the kind of men it works on best.

It's not working on Arthur. Arthur has narrow lips and pale eyes. Arthur is thin and wry. It's a hard type to coax. Coaxing works better on fleshy folks, full-lipped, dark-eyed folks. They like it. Arthur is kicked back in his chair, amused, watching Maria work. He likes the bedroom eyes, but he's not getting the water.

I like Arthur's type, the bloodless type with the cold blue flame. Last time I was at their house he and I hugged goodbye for a fraction too long. I think Maria noticed.

Mr. K has been to see me twice now. He's a U.S.-educated Indian, young and well-placed in the tech industry; handsome, wealthy, and sheltered; fanciful, sweet, and lonely. Dark-eyed. Full-lipped.

The first time he took me back to the Champagne Room he tried to put his hand in my thong and I told him no, and he hugged me and told me if I ever needed anything --anything--all I had to do was ask.

"I'm a giver," he said. "I'm a giver, not a taker. I want to take care of people. I love to take care of people."

His family wants him to get married. They would arrange a marriage for him. They are wealthy, and would find him the prettiest, nicest, most cultured girl money could buy. "But what if she doesn't really like me?" he wants to know. "What if she's just pretending to like me because I have a good job and live in the U.S. and have a lot of money?"

I nod understandingly. I do understand. At least, I've got a vivid imagination, and that sounds like quite a pickle. I don't point out that, of course, the reason I'm here is that he's got a lot of money, too. That would be tactless. Besides, he must already know. Isn't that part of what's so reassuring about paying a stripper to hang out with you? You don't have to wonder if she's doing it for the money. She's doing it for the money. And when you're sick of her doing it, or out of money, no hard feelings.

Mr. K loves to travel, and play tennis, and, apparently, take care of people. He really is a catch. Maybe. For a certain kind of girl. I don't know why he's chosen me, though, because I'm not that kind of girl. I have no idea how to let someone take care of me. I don't even know what that means, really, but the whole idea make me sort of suspicious. You don't get something for nothing, right?

"I won't ask you to be my girlfriend," Mr. K says. "I know that's not appropriate. I just want to come and talk to you once in a while. And I just want you to call me if there's ever anything I can do for you. Anything. Can I bring you presents? What kind of things do you like?"

Uh. I'm such a bad stripper. I don't even know what to ask for. Seriously, I have no idea. Pay my bills? Give me diamonds? Maybe I should work up to that.

Mr. K tells me he wants to adopt a child. He doesn't think he will ever get married, now, because he is too old. "My years are almost over," he says. "But I would like to pass on what I have to someone." He's 33.

I suggest he adopt a cat, and he really liked the idea. He asks if I'll go to the shelter and help him pick on out. "Then when I am petting it I will always think of you." I resist making a joke about petting the pussy. I say I might go with him, maybe. We'll see. I wouldn't mind actually.

My guilt and suspicion over accepting things from someone so (pathologically?) eager to give them are abating. If giving presents really, really makes him happy, why deny him that pleasure? He'll just find another girl to wax generous with if I do. Another girl whose better at accepting presents. And I don't want that. I'll just have to work on my bedroom eyes.


Anonymous said...

Interesting how often your issues seem to dovetail with mine. I have a boy now who makes me feel like your Indian. My boy is a giver, and he doesn't know how to take. Somehow this makes me want to give him everything, just to try to even out the balance of the universe a little. And because he deserves it. And because he's beautiful. (It doesn't seem like it would be as much fun to give to a taker. Giving to a giver -- that's the challenge.)

I'm afraid of freaking my boy out with how much I want to give him without asking anything in return whatsoever. And he's been avoiding me lately, and I suspect it's a combination of his insane busy-ness (giving, always giving) and a fear that I also want something from him that will tip him over the edge. I don't know how to get across from him how fully and completely I would enjoy being his Geisha. (I'm not using this term accurately, but you know what I mean.) I don't know if it's even possible.

Which is too bad, because I suspect that he would enjoy and appreciate an on-demand massage or orgasm without any strings attached. And I would enjoy giving it, too. (Until I stopped enjoying it, at which point I'd stop doing it.) But sometimes there's a round peg, and a round hole, and never the twain shall meet, for whatever stupid reason, usually a combination of suspicion and misunderstanding.

And just to add to the mix, sometimes in these situations, the suspicions are entirely justified. Sigh.

Croaker said...

Definitely a certain personality type. Probably feels very awkward about accepting gifts or needing things. Some people base there desirability on being needed not wanted.

Going to a strip club and paying for your time makes him feel better because he can understand the dynamic. He needs the intimacy but is unwilling to admit he needs something.

Sixty said...

This guy just sounds plain old lonely to me. Handle with care.

Anonymous said...

Grace, you write extremely well. Each blog is so interesting...I think you should be published.

A fan in Round Rock

Clea Summers said...

>>I'm a giver," he said. "I'm a giver, not a taker. I want to take care of people. I love to take care of people." <<

I get this a lot too, and I never know what to say. I mean, I don't want to take advantage of these guys, but I also know that by not accepting things I'm pushing them away. It's a very strange dynamic for a feminist, independent, educated lady.

What I'd really like my supremely rich clients to do is pay off my student loans, a la Shopgirl. That would be much more of a gift than a diamond or trip to France. But its a lot less glamorous, so they don't want to do that. Again, it's all about his fantasy, not mine.

So I guess if I am every truly in such a horrific dilemma, I shall just have to accept the diamonds and sell them to pay off the student loans.