Coffee bars, like restaurants, develop a specialized slang vocabulary to describe the product (and the customers). According to this article in the New York Times, “Marmot!” lets employees know that an attractive customer is present. (Presumably because everyone pops up to have a look, like meerkats alerted to a hawk. Or maybe because the customer is as irresistibly cute as a marmot?)
14: The Tooth Fairy
Manhandling can be a useful technique during the end game. If she resists your kiss, press her body firmly against you, and gently grasp her chin. Hold it still while you kiss her, then let her go quickly and act as if nothing happened. Observe her response carefully. If it is positive or neutral, repeat the kiss after a couple of minutes. You can manhandle at other “block points” too, like removing her bra or panties. Lots of girls find it exciting. But this is advanced stuff. Don’t try it unless you’ve learned to tell from her body language and verbal cues whether a girl is interested. If you have no idea what’s going through her head, you’re better off with beginner techniques. –Inclusus Amator
To: Inclusus Amator
Amator, do you really want to advise men to force themselves on women? This would be sexy with a man if I knew him well. With some man I just met, not so much. In fact, it would be a turn-off. And while I am on the subject, why do you always speak of “girls” and never “women”? –Yours Truly, Cloelia
From: Inclusus Amator
Subject: Politically Correct = Not Sexy
Cloelia meae deliciae: It “would be” sexy “if” you knew a man well? Does this mean that you, O Cloelia, have never tasted the joy of being manhandled by someone who knows how? I can only express my regret that you and I lack a (much) closer acquaintance. If you re-read my article, you will see that I recommend this technique only for advanced students of my methods. As for the use of the word “girl” on the site, that is for marketing purposes. College-age (and older) guys want to read about how to pick up “girls,” not “women.” Sad but true. Some of us enlightened males find a woman delightful. But we are a minority. –Semper tuus Amator
“A Frankencaf and a Why Bother —both topless,” said Gaby to Amber. They were working the counter at the Blue Squirrel. “Frankencaf” meant half decaf, half regular drip coffee, while “Why Bother” referred to a decaf latté made with skim milk. Amber swiftly assembled the drinks and left off the lids, setting them on the little pedestal where customers received their goods after moving down the line from the cash register. She glanced over and noted that Hector Hernandez, a regular customer, was next in line. Amber began to pull the shot for his usual, the Depth Charge, which was a 12 ounce drip coffee with a single espresso dumped in.
“Hola Gabriela,” said Mr. Hernandez. As usual, he favored the Spanish form of Gaby’s name. “Coffee with a shot, por favor. Do you have any of those sugar cookies with lime today?” His eyes strayed downward to Gaby’s exposed cleavage, and lingered for a moment.
“No, but we have cinnamon,” answered Gaby, counting out his change. “And my favorite, chocolate with chile. You’ll like it.”
“Ah, a couple of those, then. Muchas gracias. I’ll see you tonight.” Gaby was in Mr. Hernandez’ evening class, The Craft of Short Fiction. He was one of those profs who liked to hold his office hours in the coffee shop. Bridget, their boss, didn’t mind, because the students who came to see him usually purchased something. He gave Amber a smile and left a generous tip as he picked up his order. Mr. Hernandez was old, of course, but still good-looking, with his dark, slightly wavy hair and keen brown eyes. He kept himself in shape, and didn’t have a spare tire like most middle-aged guys.
When the rush was past, Amber asked how things had gone with Gaby and Dwayne at Dr. Dog. Gaby sighed and said, “I can’t even get a pity fuck. Here I thought Duh-wayne was being all nice and helpful because he had a lech for me. I was actually looking forward to it, even though politically speaking he’s like a cross between Ted Nugent and Dick Cheney. When he lifted me back into the truck, it was really sexy, and I told him so. Then he said he’s not sure whether people should have sex outside of marriage! He’s praying over it.” She grimaced. “Can you fucking believe it? Fucking Christian Boy!”
“Don’t look so hurt,” said Amber. “You knew he was pretty religious. Besides, it sounds to me like he wants to. Just think, he’s probably having an epic inner struggle over whether to yield up his virtue.”
Gaby looked unconvinced. “Maybe. But that asshole is dead to me.”
Amber checked the time and began to pour a tray of chai lattés to load into the pannier on her Vespa. Her shift was almost over, and she’d talked Bridget into donating up to twelve beverages to the AFSCME bargaining team this week, while they were making a final effort to settle the contract. If they failed, a federal mediator would be brought in to work with both teams.
During her first sessions as an intern observer, Amber had been struck by the obvious gap in social and economic status between the two sides. The AFSCME team had no meeting room or headquarters of their own, so they made illicit use of a small storage room in the bowels of Chester Hall. (Dennis told her that there was no fear of discovery, as his supervisor “ain’t been down here since Rome fell.”) This was where Amber brewed Maxwell House coffee in an old Mr. Coffee machine of dubious cleanliness, and transferred it to a carafe, which she toted, along with cups, powdered creamer and sugar, to the Student Center rooms where the two teams met. Each team had its own caucus room, from which the members periodically emerged to face each other across the bargaining table.
The AFSCME team normally wore their work uniforms to the sessions, since most were either coming off a shift or about to start one. The administration team, by contrast, always filed in wearing what Amber thought of as their battle armor: dressy business suits, with ties for the men and department-store jewelry for the one woman. They invariably clutched tall cups of coffee from the Starbucks in the Student Center. According to Virgil, nobody in AFSCME ever bought coffee there. It was way too expensive, and besides, only wusses drank that stuff. On special occasions he went to Dunkin’ Donuts, and he didn’t order no chai latté.
“Guess what I brought you, Virgil,” she said as she elbowed open the door of the caucus room. “Coffee from the Blue Squirrel, compliments of Bridget!”
“Now see Doris? What did I tell you? Amber has a hot crush on me,” drawled Virgil, swigging from the cup she held out, and then nearly performing a spit take. “Amber, what the sam hell is this?”
Doris pronounced the chai latté delicious, and Larry agreed. Denis Potts peered into his cup doubtfully; he usually drank water from the fountain in the hallway. “I dunno, Amber. I saved up for six months to have my teeth done. Tonya says coffee might cause stains.”
“Oh, come on Dennis,” coaxed Doris. “Don’t be so prissy about your teeth. It’s free coffee.” Even Virgil drank his, though he kept catching Amber’s eye and grimacing.
They turned to a review of the outstanding issues. One was AFSCME’s proposal that the university subsidize their safety equipment, especially the steel-toed shoes that were required for many employees. “It’s more than a hundred bucks for a pair of boots,” said Doris. “We got to have back supports for lifting, hard hats for the guys in the physical plant, ear plugs and safety glasses, you name it. And they say we’re responsible to buy it all ourselves.” The union had been trying to get this concession for the last three contracts, all to no avail.
The other sticking point was language allowing the union to file a grievance if a member was sexually harassed by a supervisor, as well as what Larry called “guaranteed accountability” for harassers. There was a predator on the loose who routinely talked dirty, demanded sex, and threatened to hand out bad performance reviews if the victims failed to comply. They were too fearful of retaliation to file formal complaints through the university’s notoriously ineffective Office of Equal Opportunity.
“You mean this is going on right now?” asked Amber, shocked at the idea that such behavior would be tolerated by management. “Isn’t there a university policy against harassment?”
“Sure,” said Virgil. “But nobody enforces it. Larry’s told the head of Human Resources about this person more than once over the last five years, and the university ain’t done a damn thing.”
“So they know who the man is, and they’re protecting him?”
Virgil’s face grew serious and the two ends of his mustache drooped below his jawline. “Oh, it ain’t a man, Amber. It’s a woman.” His eyes flicked to Dennis, who sighed and said, “You might as well know. It’s my supervisor, Libby Rowe. We call her Roseanne.” He explained how the harassment had begun with Libby asking Dennis whether he ever watched pornographic films, and joking about how he probably wanked off to porn on the office computers in Chester Hall. Then she progressed to slipping condoms into his mailbox, and finally to cornering him at night in the English department office, where there was a sizable sofa. The same thing had happened to Rufus Jordan, the custodian who cleaned Gordon Hall.
“That’s horrible,” said Amber, looking wide-eyed at Dennis. She wondered whether he’d given in to the demands, in order to keep his job.
“If you’re freaked out now, you oughta see Roseanne,” said Virgil, nodding for emphasis. “That woman’s got a head like a stomped possum.”
“Shut up, Virge,” snapped Doris. “It doesn’t make any difference what she looks like.”
“Don’t hand me that,” replied Virgil in his deep drawl. He turned to Amber. “Now Amber, tell the truth. Let’s say you got to be harassed, and there ain’t no choice about it. Would you rather the one doin’ it is really good-lookin’, or ugly as shit?”
“Um, actually, I think I’d prefer the ugly one,” said Amber. “That would keep everything clear in my mind.”
“You’re right, Virge!” cried Dennis. “Amber does have a crush on you!” He guffawed, showing off the caps on his large, snow-white teeth.
Virgil pointedly ignored his colleague’s attempt at humor, as Dennis changed the subject to his favorite topic, the evils of faculty who trashed their own offices. “I’ve always had a problem with them stealing extra chairs from the foyers,” he complained. “But lately, it’s the opposite— this one joker keeps shoving his own student chair outside his door. Every other night I come in and have to lug it back in. Who do these people think cleans up their mess every night? Do they think it happens by magic?”
Virgil raised a bushy eyebrow. “Sure they do, Dennis. Everyone’s heard of the Tooth Fairy.”
Copyright 2016 by Linnet Moss
Notes: Ted Nugent is well known to Americans as a former rock star and current advocate of universal access to guns. He recently got into trouble for posting anti-Semitic images on Facebook… as for Dick Cheney, I’m sure he needs no introduction.
The female sexual harasser at Parnell State is nicknamed “Roseanne” after the comedienne Roseanne Barr, who gained notoriety in the 1990s for her crude humor. When Roseanne’s TV show first aired, it was a bit shocking, but this kind of comedy has since become commonplace. In some ways, Melissa McCarthy seems to be the new Roseanne. It’s a plus for feminism, I suppose, that women can throw off gender stereotypes and be as gross as men (and be well paid for so doing). But it is hardly a plus for feminism when women supervisors harass their employees. This is not as common as harassment by men, but it does happen from time to time. Interestingly, one study found that 16% of sexual harassment complaints were filed by male victims, 5% against women, and 11% against other men. Women were accused of harassing other women in 5.7% of the cases.
What does Mr. Hector Hernandez look like? I have two choices for you…
One of the fun parts about writing this book was showing the men of Ellen’s generation from the perspective of Amber and Gaby. The manly playmates of the Libertine Belles occasionally make appearances in the lives of the younger generation. And even though they are “old,” they have a certain appeal…