Scholar

Frowning at my phone. Glaring, really. Regan is on her own phone, kicking my ass at Word Scramble, as usual. So she’s distracted.
“hey, what’s this word?”
She reaches out for my phone and I hand it to her, hoping she doesn’t look too close at the top.
S_H_L_ _ is where I’m stuck.
“Scholar,” she says after a brief pause, and hands it back.
“thanks!” I try not to let the giddy relief of postponing my inevitable loss sound too clearly in my voice and I finish my turn without laughing.
I hear her phone alert her that it’s her turn.
“Whose word was that?!”
I can only keep a guileless smile up for so long before I start cackling hysterically.
“you’re ridiculous.” she says without heat, mildly disgusted but more amused, and I lose my shit still further, doing a little footloose dance of glee in my 8 inch heels. She’s shaking her head at me.
“your turn!” I gasp.

Regan and I have two new games we play. This partially accounts for my slacking here; also there is the fact that Beautiful Professor sent me some very true feedback that had me sobbing in therapy, whereupon we spent the next hour constructing potential scenarios in which I do not faff off and read fantasy, leaving 15 page term papers til 5pm days after they are due. I have actually been timely (well, with studying. Being consistently on time to a morning class is a work in progress) and only missed one class, last week when my engine died.

Let me tell you about being relegated to biking and public transit. It is rapidly sending me back into the baleful vale of hate that caused me to have a total meltdown and quit dancing because men on the street seem incapable of allowing a woman to simply go about her day, and life, unmolested.
I got a taste of this on my first trip to the grocery store without a car:

“hey, how about you come over here and make fifty bucks the hard way?”

This alluring invitation was issued by a creepy white dude in a creepier white van. I’ll pass, but thanks for reminding me again of reason #3 on the list of Why I Love My Job[1].

However. Despite assholes inside the club and out, and despite rapidfire word games with Regan, I remain on top of things. I paid 1,000$ on my student loan, my new engine is paid for, and I even got an A on that midterm I thought I did poorly on. My classmates remain ridiculous and mockable, particularly a long-winded and begoateed[2] fellow I have dubbed Shakespeare-in-Love.

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_______________________
1- While on the street I’m fair game to any creepy asshole misogynist laboring under the (notreallymis)-apprehension that he can harass, follow, and even potentially assault me with impunity, the club destabilizes this. It’s the one space I can think of where this sickeningly prevalent idea about the easy availability of free female attention–or forcing that attention if it isn’t immediately given– doesn’t hold. In the club, if they want my attention, they pay. Through the nose. And even that doesn’t give them the unfettered access to my attention and person that they can force on me outside the club. I say what happens when, and I can choose to walk away.

Stripping lets me profit, even from interactions that anywhere else–and let’s be real, they happen almost everywhere else– cost me a sense of security and peace of mind and make me dread running simple errands. In the club it costs them.

Although, honestly, unlike street harassment, the vast majority of customers run the gamut from nice to boringly innocuous to harmlessly weird or gross. Only the ones that stick in my head for being outstandingly awesome or hilariously terrible make it on here.

2-I learned years ago from reading the scrabble dictionary that “be” in front of anything is a valid word. My personal favorite, and one that made me laugh for ever, was bevomit. Like bedeck, but more acidic and foul.

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