»

Jul
15

IS THE RISK WORTH IT?

What I’m about to do, is build the kind of blog I would want to visit. It would be a place where content is expressed within stories; dramatic, suspenseful, and meaningful stories. It would be a destination where everyone’s ideas are as important as the site’s host.  And it would be a forum where people can talk about what people do and why they do it; not as objects of gossip, but as human beings with feelings.

 

So I’m nervous about this blog.  I’m not going to pretend I’m not.  I am.  In fact, I’m intimidated by the bar I’ve set for myself.  And for you too.  I don’t know if I can pull this off, writing a story segment a week that has sophisticated depth about situations and characters, and then asking YOU to figure it out, and talk about what it implies on a global scale. In essence, you and I will be co-writers, which means this blog is not about me.  It’s about YOU, and your ideas.

 

So here’s how we’ll begin.  I’ll start the discussion by writing a few scenes each week. They’ll be episodes of a longer story.  They might emulates a scandal that’s hitting the media, or they may come from a personal situation I’ve gone through myself.  After each weekly segment, I’ll invite you to publish your opinions about why the characters are doing what they’re doing and saying what they’re saying.  If I’ve done my job, the scenes should reflect a life situation that relates to you or someone you know.  And by discussing the theme and implications, we’ll explore twists and turns of the mind and how it leads us into dark caves or toward the light of wisdom.  It’s an amalgamation of a book club party, a writing class, and a group therapy session. We’ll exchange ideas and absorb the communal wisdom, week by week.  I’ll write – you’ll leave a reply – I’ll write – you’ll comment, to me, to each other.  The story grows, the characters grow, WE grow.

 

Okay.  So where shall we begin?  I’ve chosen a subject that keeps coming up again and again: Men with power crashing when breaking the rules, specifically with women. I didn’t make up the “rules” nor do I agree with all of them.  But when a public figure crosses that moving line and it goes public, his or her “Oh God, I DIDN’T!!!” mistake makes headlines.  Why?  Because we’re interested.  It’s drama.  And that’s what we fiction writers do – write about drama.  So here goes, ready or not.  Here’s my kick-off  story, starting with Ronnie’s side, which explores: How good girls get into trouble.

 

 

 

IS THE RISK WORTH IT?  Even when you’re broke.  [Part 1 0f 8]

 

The room could more tidy. Actually, a lot more. So could the bed and the gal lounging on it, uncased pillows bunched up behind her back softening the space between her half robed, curvy body and the hard metal headboard in need of a dusting. An open MacBook Pro lies open on her lab. Her long bare legs extend toward the foot of the mattress, toes bending as she scrutinizes her layout of a wire framed website in progress. With five quick clicks she imports the skyline of an American metropolis into the header box. Below that photo she types: MAYOR JONATHON STEADMAN – OFFICIAL WEBSITE. She reaches for a half eaten banana lying on a stack of books next to the bed. No table. Just a stack of thirty hardcover novels re-purposed into a night stand.

Her Mac dings, an alert that signals an email just flew into her life. She brings up the new window, reading: Hey babe! How’s the site coming? Wondering… When’s the ETA? Let’s meet. Love to see the new theme over late lunch. Near my office OK? The Hilton, great menu, private booths for your show and tell. 2:30 pm. Quieter then. Let me know. Jonny.        Sent from my iPhone

“Not again…” she sighs. It’s his second advance. This time even more blatant.

She glances at the clock under the harsh white light of the plastic Walmart lamp standing on her table of books. It’s 8:48pm, which means, he’s either leaving the office, at home with family, or someplace else. Where would that someplace else be? Just who is this man who seems so noble on TV? Is he another horny dude with a trust-me smile and great PR campaign? Or is truly he the man-of-the-people with a few quirks?

If he’s just another pushy guy, Ronnie knows about that breed. She’s been dodging them since the tenth grade. It’s not easy being smart, young and a women when you’re afflicted with DDG; as in, drop dead gorgeous. Once seen in the flesh, her art school sculptures and paintings fade behind her perfect shadow, as well as her A’s in math and science. All people see is a face and a figure.

“Oh, you should be a model, or an actress,” was a comment repeated again and again as she grew into womanhood. And sure, she test drove her tight new body and showed it off in her teens and up into college. But wearing eye-candy costumes eventually got old, and she came to realize she wasn’t connecting to the type of boys she liked. And later, the young men she wanted.

Two thousand and nine was her year of awakening, the spring she graduated the university into an atrophied job market and a pool of poverty seeping into her future. Boyfriends quickly sunk in priority as she applied, endlessly, for any job that might match her degree and help pay off college loans. There wasn’t much out there. No surprise about that. But what she didn’t expect, or rather what she denied to be true, is that pretty girls have an advantage. They can always get hired, doing something. In corporate, it’s called “FOA” – front office appeal; a meet-and-greet minimum wage do-nothing job that places pretty girls square in the sights of every gent who steps into a lobby and asks, “You gotta boyfriend?” Yep, there’s always a demand for eye candy.

More sounded alerts, now from her phone nowhere in sight. Covers get tossed. The tones carry on. She leaves the bed and sprints her twenty-four year old frame to a cluttered desk next to tall, filthy windows. City lights twinkle below through the smudged glass. RING…RING…CLICK, followed by, Hi, It’s Ronnie. Can’t answer so leave a…  Message stops. Ronnie found her phone, and she knows who called. “Hi Beth…”

“Did he send another one?”

“No. But now he wants to meet me at some restaurant at the Hilton. He says it’s business.”

“You gonna do it?

“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I need this job so bad…”

“It’s gonna finish, isn’t it?”

“Hope so.”

“I’d go. It’s the friggin’ mayor!”

“Sure…the Mayor.”

“Play’im.

“What?”

“You know. Keep it going ‘til you get paid. Maybe you’ll meet somebody else. You always do.”

“Beth…”

“Okay. Not your style. But at least see where it goes. Let him know, like in a nice way, that you didn’t like the picture.”

“I didn’t like his picture?”

“You know what I mean. That you’re…different.”

“This is not helping.”

“All right, subject-change. Did Rob call?

“No.”

“No loss. He was another loser. Why do you fucking always go for ass holes?”

“Because YOU introduce me to them.”

“They don’t start out that way!”

The conversation went nowhere, ending five sentences later. Back on the bed, Ronnie reopens her app to reopen an earlier email. This one shows a close-up photo of a man in a beach volleyball game. He’s wearing skin-tight Speedo trunks, plainly revealing…well, what do you think? Caught in stop-action returning the ball, this ‘manly’ photo is all about Sausage-in-a-Blanket. And he sort of pulls it off. For his mid-forties he’s almost buff. Almost, despite a balding head and bow legs.

Under this photo show the words: ARE YOU SPORTY?  Jonny.

She clicks back to his last email, reading: The Hilton, great menu, private booths for your show and tell. 2:30 pm. Quieter then. Let me know.  Jonny.

What to do? She needs this job. If it goes, it’s over. As much as she hates this one room shelter, she’ll lose it. And she can’t go to her folks. Well, she can, but she won’t. They’ve got money problems too. Always have. So, no. Plan B does not exist, except to look for more work, which she does everyday.

Her gaze shifts to the glowing night sky, and the distant purring din of traffic outside her windows. She’s sinking into emptiness, into that place where all joy and the reasons to get out of bed get sucked from the soul: the Soul that’s whispering, ‘Don’t do it, Ronnie.’  But she has to answer him, one way or another. So her eyes return to her Mac, and to the name Jonny, and to his Hilton invitation. She hits REPLY, and starts typing.

 

To be continued…07/22/2011

 

So what is Ronnie about?  Do people misjudge you because of the way you look?  Have you had to take a job when you knew your boss had other intentions?  Or disliked you from the get-go? Let’s talk about it.

 

 

Share:

19 comments

  1. Greg says:

    Interesting questions. I’d like to get the ball rolling by replying with a question: Did you maybe believe yourself that people judged you because of your looks? That zhey never did and it was all in your head? More to come!

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Most people have no idea WHAT I’m like in the inside. Even after they get to know me, I’ll mention an idea that comes from someplace in my past and they AGAIN will be surprised. This reaction gives me the impression that many of us, maybe all of us, overlay expectations onto people we know, or want to know. It’s a way of organizing our lives, whether it represents reality or not.

  2. Jerry's cousin says:

    This sounds like the beginning of an affair that dozens of our politicians have today. Yes, looks can get people further than brains, to start.. If they are lucky, they can stay in their new position, just getting by, by being eye candy and a bit more. That’s fine for lots of folks. Others must prove themselves to others and to themselves. They want to climb the ladder to the top and will do whatever it takes to get there. Some, men and women, have “screwed” their way to the top, only to come crashing down later. I’ve known some of these people. Most of them are survivers, pick themselves up and try again. They make interesting friends. Fun to watch, but not to follow.
    Ronnie hasn’t made up her mind yet, but is certainly thinking about taking that leap into that bed to get on the road to where she wants to go. She needs a better set-up if she plans to bring them back to her place. My suggestion is to go to their “love nest” and keep hers to herself. That way, when she leaves, she has a place to go. It’s easier to leave than to get someone to leave. That puts Ronnie in charge.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Yes, segment one does sound like the beginning of an affair, similar to scandals we read about in the media. But this is a different kind of shades-of-gray path. If Ronnie accepts the lunch date with the mayor, MUST it turn into an affair? Are her choices with Jon only about all or nothing? Are there ways woman can work around flirting men? Must women give up some personal power to keep a job? OR get a job?

      These are the questions we will be addressing as this scenario develops, with Ronnie sailing a sea of dangerous waters.

  3. RENE VAN SAUTER says:

    looks will always help women and men. many job recruiters will only hire pleasant looking people ,but it wont keep you there with no action,what i am saying, it opens doors .and that will get you to your next level to show what you have to over

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      It’s my opinion, what advances people most of the time, is a compatibility with his/her supervisor, the feeling of, “He’s like me.” In fact, I’ve seen many times in the work place where mediocre performance is accepted when the supervisor feels her employee is in her camp and totally loyal. So we’ll see if Ronnie takes that path, if she chooses to accept the mayor’s job.

  4. Tim says:

    I think Ronnie will meet Jonny. She doesn’t want to have an affair but if that is necessary to get a job or money she will do it.
    I think you never have to take a job. She could search for other possibilities but she probably won’t. Maybe she is to lazy or what ever.
    A person’s look is very important nowadays. Both women and men are being misjudged because of their looks. If a man looks like a bodybuilder then he must live and sleep at the gim and so on… The same with women. If a girl’s face is painted then she must be a Bit….

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      It’s interesting, that you are the second person to think that Ronnie will trade sex for the job. I’m wondering if this assumption is also in the minds of those who read the first segment but didn’t comment. Although Ronnie is desperate, she never once tells her friend Beth that she will even take the job, let alone sleep with the mayor. Yet you and Jerry’s cousin think she will. Is this because it happens so many times? Do we, as a Western culture, generally expect that beautiful woman will sleep their way through the job world? Do we have a tendency to see the world in just black and white? I’m not saying YOU do, or Jerry’s cousin, but perhaps we all to some extent have lost faith in morality and integrity. Maybe most of us believe that we must now sacrifice our values to compete. I see this happening all the time. Not with everyone, of course. But enough times to remind me that people ARE desperate, and do desperate things.

      Follow the story, Tim. You may be surprised as to how Ronnie handles this situation.

  5. Max says:

    Seems Ronnie’s got the best of both world’s: incredible intelligence, both logical and creative. She sounds like an Athena, springing forth fully formed, with the splash Aphrodite, but will she be abducted like Persephone? She needs the currency but not the creep. Since Mr. Jonnie has obviously let his intentions be know, I think she should be straight up. Let him know she’s not interested in the chaser just the job. And if it falls thru improvise!

    As for me, I never had to worry about the being treated differently because of my looks. But I have treated others with “the looks” as if they were somehow special, different, touched, like the Greek ideal; beautiful body=beautiful soul. Perhaps survival is just to deeply ingrained in us to escape it, “those who have the pretty display feathers mate and survive.” Is it just natural? I don’t necessarily think a “culture” can completely dictate what beauty is. It certainly doesn’t dictate what it does. But can a culture dictate what it’s mores, ethics, values are? Or do these grow out of it. After all, one generations vice often times becomes the next’s virtue. And one culture’s history is another’s hysterics.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Well, Max, yes, Ronnie’s beauty can be a double edged sword. How will she handle this? And, how does the Mayor’s advances make her FEEL? If it’s negative, it would be difficult to work with him, correct? We’ll see where this goes. Friday noon is the next installment.

      And as for cultures…the idea of “beauty” changes from culture to culture and through the generations within a culture. So I wonder, just where does the idea of “conventional beauty” begin? In the minds of a few artists leading a trend? Or within a mass psyche which somehow arrives at a common definition?

      Thanks for your comments

  6. Les says:

    What’s Ronnie’s phone number?

    Anyway – coincidently – yesterday I had lunch with a wonderful, brilliant, funny, creative and generous early 30’s-ish woman who also happens to be georgeous.

    She was telling me about some difficulties she’d been running into due to her appearance. People she was dealing with in regard to a charity she’s organizing were treating her less-than- seriously. Mostly because she hadn’t introduced herself credentials first (which are easily as impressive as her looks).

    I don’t know, I guess its just human nature to process the visual initially. Bark, bark ….

    (ps – Kudos Irv, really nice concept with the blog!)
    (pps – any playwrights out there who’d like to talk with a composer about writing a musical, please get in touch via Irv!)

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Thanks for your comment, Les. I’m doing my best to emulate the real world so your validation that I’m on target with my story set up is encouraging. And yes, in order of external stimulation, I believe we respond first to sight, then to hearing and next to smells. But that order, that may be a guy thing. Woman respond to scents more than men, so I’ve been told. You guys out there – bad breath is not an option.

      I clicked on your name, which linked to your website advertizing “Karma.” So I’m assuming you are the composer looking for a playwright. I saw contact info at the bottom of your site so perhaps those who follow this post can contact you directly. Keep coming back and maybe this will help you make the contact.

      1. les says:

        Thanks Irv! Looking forward to watching the blog grow and to posting along the way. And thank you for hooking up my name to the Karma site. Keep rockin’!

  7. Edwin Tucker says:

    To this reader, it is very unlikely that R. will become involved with the Mayor in an affair. She may play with him to advance herself, but will always remain the one in charge. As Kissinger said “power is the ultimate aprodesiac (sp?) , and women gravitate toward men of power, for the man of power is “the big buck of the salt lick” that will ensure protection and security for her young (which may not be a part of concious thought, but works as a biological determinent). The mayor however negates his position of masculine power by acting in a very boyish fashion. Men sometimes envision female sexuality and engagement as mirror images of their own. If a man receives revealing photos from a women, that gets his attention and he may well be reved up like a black and tan hound dog on a fresh coon trail. A women receiving such photos from aman with whom she is not already intimate is apt to be turned off, it doesn’t matter what the guy looks like; an exception might be if the man isw such a popular and famous figure that she is already half enamored of him. The mayor is obnoxious in pressing his case, displays but adolesent undersanding of women, in other words he is not behaving like a true man of power, but like a low status male. This Ronnie will not be attracted to him, yet the good mayor will be enamored of her. It is said that love resembles a “war of position” and that the one who loves the least is the one who determines its course. So the mayor shall serve Ronnie. It is to her concern however that as the mayor unavoidably gets into trouble from this or other relationships, that she keep clear and above the fray. We see that it is not so much the affairs of the prominent that bring them done as the manner in which these affairs are conducted. I have more to say, but this boy has gone on too long, plus I am a little out of my element in blog frequented by the intelligent!

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Interesting comment, Edwin. Blogging is new to me too, for this is the first one of my own, and I’m glad you contributed your insight. So follow the story and see if you’re correct. I certainly can’t argue with your analysis of the mayor’s behavior. I think you’re right about him. You must be a writer.

  8. Writing Woman says:

    Well, of course Ronnie will go to the Hilton and meet the mayor–she has to, if we’re going to have an interesting story, right? This would be a big account for her, not even in terms of money, but in terms of connections and future contracts within the mayor’s power network. But will she be able to play him, as her friend advises? I guess she’s in her early twenties, while he is mid-forties and presumably better at manipulating relationships. So I’m hoping that she goes and tries to land the job by her great presentation. Of course, his mind won’t be on her web design, but she’s bright, has been dealing with men reacting to her looks for a long time, and maybe she’ll be able to keep him coming back, by relying on her persona as much-sought-after-lady. And she’s desperate financially, to boot. You go, Ronnie–get the upper hand over this taken-with-himself mayor. Waiting to hear more…..

  9. Mark says:

    You only live once, and you are only young once. Take advantage of your assets while you still can.

    Grab some racy photos of the mayor and you can go far! 🙂

    She seems to be smart, and there is plenty of time in life to use that once you get into a position to do so. This is time for a two pronged attack! Looks and brains.

  10. Marjorie Annapav says:

    When a young woman is starting out in the business world her youth and looks will open doors. If she is very lucky she will achieve success and be able to stay in her own right. Unfortunately we judge each other by how we look at how old we are. It seems somehow that society has got the notion that each year we live is somehow shameful morally. Youth is worshiped. Women and men for that matter lie about their age as if reaching some specific number constitutes some kind of a negative judgment made against them. I recently had lunch with a woman who has had what anyone would consider a successful life. Although I knew she was 86 years old, I asked her age and she would not tell me.
    I find this ageism or sad, but for my hope in this story is that Ronnie will use the mayor. I just hope she can put it behind her when it is done and considerate it just part of the dues that women have to pay.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      So true about agism. I’m glad you made that point.

      But you also said you think Ronnie should “use” the Mayor and pay the “dues.” To me, this implies having sex with him. Is that what you meant? And if is, you are not alone thinking that way. Both men and women have left comments suggesting that alternative. What does that say about our culture?

Leave a Reply