Apr 18, 2009

I ran into Arty while circling the polo fields this morning. "Arthur Strife" we call him because his last name rimes roughly with strife and life. For him the two are synonymous. There's always some calamity with his children or one of his ex-wives. He would like you to think he comes to the track to run off his frustration but really he comes to talk about it.

"Did you read the New York Times Sunday Magazine last week?" he asked.

I had not.

"You got to read it. They had an article on SeekingArrangement dot com."

I don't know what that is.

"It's a website for sugar daddy's looking for little side dish. But boy is it expensive."

So this is where you find each other.

"Correcto. And then $3,000 to $5,000 a month. And that's in a recession."

Sounds like alimony to me.

"Correcto. That was my very first thought, but then of course you can stop it at any time, although I wasn't quite clear on how that works. I mean what if the side dish wants to blackmail you with your main dish. You know what I mean?"

Uh huh, I said. And then Arty stopped running, which means he wants you to be his therapist and grant approvals.

"But see it's not just sugar daddies looking for sugar," he said.

What are the other possibilities?"

He was so glad I showed interest.

"Well, you have 'sugar daddy', 'sugar baby' (female); and 'sugar daddy' (male)." He made the quote signs each time with his chubby fingers. "But then you also have 'sugar mommy'."

What's that?

"Well that's what's interesting. It's kind of eclectic. You have your Mistress Cruella who whips the shit out of you and for that you pay, get this, are you ready for this, I couldn't believe this number... Twenty-thousand dollars... Not for a life time of abuse, not for a year of abuse, but every month. 'Are you fuckin' kidding me?' I said. And in a recession."

But Artie you're not looking for abuse are you? I thought we'd finished with that.

"Well, yes, but see here's what else there is under sugar mommy. They have women who actually want to be your mommy. And of course they don't charge as much."

How much do they charge?

"Maybe a grand a month if you don't take up too much time. More time and you pay maybe 2 grand. But even then you're actually getting something."

You mean you're getting 'mommy sex'. What is that? You recreate coming out of the womb? Something like that?

"Sure, you could get that. But I'm looking for a different kind of mommy. Sure, sex has to be there, definitely. But I'm looking for someone that you can go to for...."

Emotional stuff...

"I know this going to sound strange. But I'm just thinking of someone who knows you, you know what I mean, who can talk to you and make your lunch and make sure you've done all your errands, but in a nice way, and can pay your bills and make you a really good peanut butter and jelly sandwich and tell you jokes, reassure you if you've had a bad dream, which I'm having more and more lately, be optimistic about the economy, and then, and this really important, they remember who you were when you were growing up. I've told my wife all these things about my childhood but she doesn't remember a thing..."

But Artie, do you remember anything about her childhood?

"Absolutely, when she ran away, her first boyfriend. All that. But I'm talking about the nuances. Like when I used to go shopping for shoes with my Dad. Very important themes in my life."

I completely understand.

"So I found someone who might be able to do it."

You're kidding.

"I think I have."

When are you going to see her?

"Soon. I'm getting together all my old picture albums, books I used to read, journals, some old vinyl records, short pants I had when I was five. Did you ever see 8 1/2. that scene where he's having this fantasy of being at dinner with all of his mistresses and his wife, who is wife and mother at the same time, is managing it all." He shook his head as though to say, "idn' that the truth? "That's my fantasy," he said and ran on.


Anjuli said...

I've been away for awhile so I was reading from latest update down...and I thought the previous one was 'stranger than fiction'- but this one actually is the icing on the cake!!

As always- your writing makes me feel as though I am standing right there in the midst of the conversation...my head jerking back and forth from person to person as they talk...my head shaking in amazement...laughing (my normal 'Asian' reaction when I don't know how to respond to a situation)...your writing is exemplary!

Anonymous said...

Interessante. Ma credo che quest'uomo non abbia detto questo del film 8 1/2. Non e lui...
(Trivia: Sai perche il film ha il suo nome, 8 1/2?)

Anonymous said...

Yes. You have a way with dialogue that gets to the heart of things...

Keep us in touch with the further travails of Arty and his quarry. He could probably use a kindred spirit, but nothing that would cause more ex wives.

The mommy thing might be safe, but forgive me if I shudder. I've never been a man that goes for older women. Well at least not women older than me. That limit keeps getting higher for some reason.