The Cleveland Indians mascot “Chief Wahoo” has come in for a good deal of criticism over the years. Wahoo is a caricature of a Native American face. He first made his appearance in the 1930s and has remained popular among Indians fans ever since. Despite the controversies surrounding the use of the image, the owners of the team have not abolished Chief Wahoo, although they have introduced alternative logos.
22. Heavy Investments
Investment is key to seduction. The more a girl invests in you, physically, verbally or emotionally, the more likely she is to sleep with you. Your job is to get her investing from the minute you meet her. Learn to recognize investment (any effort a girl puts in with regard to you), and reward it. Let’s say a girl offers you one of her french fries, or asks whether you like a song she likes. Don’t refuse the investment, even if you’ve had enough fries and think the song stinks. Reward her and encourage further investment. Don’t ignore subtle forms of investment: she sticks close to you, leans in, starts a new topic of conversation and looks for your reaction. If you reward her enough, she’ll end up chasing you, right into the sack. –Inclusus Amator
To: Inclusus Amator
Subject: B. F. Skinner Not Particularly Sexy
Amator, your column on investment sounds like advice on dog training (no dog jokes please), or maybe a manual on how to peddle magazines door to door. I grant that a friendly man who recognizes nonverbal cues is more likely to meet with success than an unresponsive, unobservant one. But you’re outsmarting yourself. By paying so much attention to whether a girl invests, and constantly rewarding her for investing, a man is himself investing lots of effort. I picture an Art of Seduction for women, in which the female guru says to her disciples: offer him a french fry, lean in a little, touch him on the arm, and watch his tongue loll out. Get the boy to invest, and then it’s up to you whether to make his dreams come true or leave him burning.
From: Inclusus Amator
Subject: Female Guru Very Sexy
Cloelia mea lux, you wrong me. I would never compare a woman to a dog, though I might compose an ode to her puppies. Yes, a man who follows my advice is investing in multiple ways. The question is whether there’s a return. Unlike the disciples of your guru, who seem undecided about their investment goals, a man is looking for a very specific dividend, and my proven methods help deliver it. Still, I’d like to make the acquaintance of this guru. I picture her clad in nothing but a loincloth, sitting on a high mountaintop where the breeze induces, shall we say, a nip in the air. I would offer her the warmth of my body, and a job as my Preceptress of Love for a new website, written from the woman’s perspective. –Semper tuus Amator
Amber watched from her observer’s chair as Ray Morland, the chief negotiator for the university, pushed a piece of paper across the table toward Larry. “Here’s our final offer,” he said. “You’ll note that we have reduced the health insurance premiums.”
Larry examined the paper and then laid it down. Amber could tell he was angry, but he mostly succeeded in keeping it out of his voice. “This is still a twenty percent increase. When your wages are twenty-five grand a year, that’s huge. So you’re offering zero in response to our proposals on safety equipment, and zero on supervisor accountability?”
“Those proposals aren’t productive,” said Ray. “So no, we won’t have a response.”
“You always say they aren’t productive. What does that mean? I’d like an explanation,” pressed Larry.
“Not productive means they won’t yield anything helpful,” replied Ray, as though speaking to a child.
“Won’t yield anything…” Larry’s face went completely still for a moment, and then he turned to Doris, who was glaring at Ray like a basilisk, and to Dennis and Virgil on his other side. “Come on. Let’s go.” They all stood up, and Amber hastily closed her laptop, gathering the power cord in an untidy coil.
Back in their caucus room, Larry was furious. “He thinks I don’t know what the word productive means? That arrogant shit.”
“You should be used to Ray by now,” said Doris. “He just did it to get your goat.” It was true, thought Amber. Ray had a way of subtly suggesting that Larry and the rest of his team were ignorant, and ought to defer to people who had a real education.
“Guess we got to work with the mediator now,” said Dennis. The two sides had already agreed that if they had to involve the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, they would split the cost. Financially speaking, this meant nothing to the university, but it was a heavy expense for the union. Both sides had agreed to use Conor Flynn, the mediator who had been successful in making peace two contracts ago, when a similar impasse arose.
“So how does it work?” asked Amber.
“He meets with us, hears our side, then does the same with them, and tries to find some common ground,” said Virgil. “It ain’t an easy job, but Lord knows he’s well paid. Say Amber,” he commented. “Maybe you’ll be doin’ that some day. Listenin’ to all of us bellyachin’ about our bosses. Rakin’ in the dough at $400 an hour.” Maybe I will, she thought.
Having agreed to wait for news of the mediation schedule, the team went their separate ways. As Amber and Larry were headed for the elevator, they ran into Ray. “That was very dramatic, Larry,” he observed with a condescending smile. “Walking out on us. Am I to assume that I need to call Conor?”
“Yes, you are to assume it,” replied Larry stiffly.
“Were you insulted by what happened in there? You shouldn’t be,” said Ray.
The elevator was moving now. Larry turned slowly to face Ray. “I was raised in Cleveland,” he said. “Do you follow baseball, Ray?”
“Sure, the Indians. I think the last time they won the World Series was in ’48.” Ray smirked a little.
“I used to be a big fan of Chief Wahoo, the Indians mascot. Until one day I met a member of the Shawnee Nation who pointed to my Wahoo hat and gave a thumbs down. I told him he shouldn’t feel insulted, and do you know what he said to me?”
Ray shrugged, but the smirk had fallen from his face.
“He said, you don’t get to decide that.” Larry faced the elevator door again as the car drew to a halt. “You don’t get to decide that,” he repeated.
The door to the second floor opened, and Ray fled without another word. After it closed, Amber said, “That was great.” Larry smiled grimly, acknowledging the compliment, but his mind was already racing ahead: “This mediation had better work.” Larry didn’t want to lead the chapter into a strike, Amber knew. Their members lived paycheck to paycheck, and going without pay, even for a few weeks, would be a serious hardship. The university had offered just enough of a raise to make it all the more difficult to convince the members to walk out. It was likely that the non-economic issues, like safety gear and sexual harassment, would be shelved once again.
“Will you let me interview this mediator?” she asked. Larry knew that Amber’s service learning project involved a series of interviews with the key players. He had forbidden her to talk to Ray until the contract was settled, since she might inadvertently let slip something strategic.
“I don’t know, Amber,” he said. “Remember, he gets paid by the hour. We’ll see.”
Whenever Amber, Gaby and Joan had lunch in the student center after Dr. Griffith’s class, Dwayne Hammond sat at their table, calmly eating his customary double Quarter Pounder with cheese, and ignoring Gaby’s indirect but regular verbal assaults. Sometimes she abused him so enthusiastically that when everyone else was finished eating, her food had barely been tasted. She seemed to draw a kind of alternative nourishment from thinking up new ways to insult him.
The first day after Dr. Dog, when Dwayne dared to approach their table, she resolutely refused to look at him, but remarked pointedly to Amber, “I have absolutely nothing against Dwayne, you know. I hope he and his Pillar of Virtue will be very happy together.”
Another time Gaby waited until Dwayne was present to announce, “Guess what we learned in Human Physiology today? Sexual abstinence makes testosterone levels plummet. In fact,” she added gleefully, “men who go without sex often have the testosterone levels of a child.”
Today, as he set down his backpack and hat, his eyes on Gaby, she said, “Amber, did you know there was a Saint Dwayne in the early days of the church?”
“Nope.” Amber rolled her eyes and shrugged at Dwayne, who placidly unwrapped his burger.
“He was so pious and pure, he resolved to imitate the Virgin Mary and remain a virgin forever,” said Gaby in dramatic tones. “He prayed over it, and suddenly, he received a sign: his dick fell off!”
This evoked a slight smile from Dwayne. Joan couldn’t help laughing, but said, “Gaby, I think you’re missing the target. Dwayne doesn’t care about saints and Our Lady. He’s a Protestant.”
“Yep, ah’m a Baptist, but ah reckon Gabrielle’s got good aim,” commented Dwayne. “It’s lucky for me she don’t own a firearm.” After a few more minutes, during which Gaby refused to look in his direction, he finished his food and gathered his belongings. “You ladies have a nahss day now.”
When he was gone, Amber said, “I thought Dwayne was dead to you.”
“I wouldn’t hook up with Duh-wayne if he was the last man on earth,” spat Gaby. She caught Amber and Joan exchanging a look, and growled, “I can tell what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. In fact, I’m seeing someone else. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to hit the books so I don’t end up on academic probation.” She wheeled herself off without another word.
“Seeing someone else?” said Amber. “How come we didn’t know about this?” It was true that sometimes when she texted Gaby late at night, she didn’t get an answer until the next day. She had assumed Gaby was studying.
“Poor thing,” said Joan. “She’s just making it up to save her pride. Dwayne’s rejection must have hit her hard. I think she’s got a huge crush on him.”
“Yeah. I’ve never seen her expend that much energy on a man. She’s making quite an investment.”
Copyright 2016 by Linnet Moss
Notes: The elevator conversation about Chief Wahoo actually happened to someone I know, under slightly different circumstances. The story has stayed with me. The descriptions of union negotiations are also drawn from my real-life observations.