Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The March, Chapter 18: Ooh La La

I’ve got two words for you: shut the fuck up
Midnight Run

Wally had managed to wrest ten bottles of cheap house wine and two hours worth of free domestic tap beer from Bulstrode’s notoriously tight fist.  This made the Ooh La La party a much more appealing fete to the ladies of Lightweight Group.  Those who knew Wally were fond of him.  And those who didn't were most likely still fond of free wine on a Sunday afternoon.  And Wally was counting on all that free wine loosening their grip on last night's tips.

Celia and Brooke walked into the March for the party at the same time, both smiling.  When Brooke had gotten home last night, Celia was gone.  So she went to bed with her secret intact.  When Celia had come home the next morning, Brooke was excited to tell her her big news.  But Celia had her own news to tell.

Before we get all up in the love connection conversations, I’ll tell you that neither girl was burdened (or blessed) with what you might call an ample romantic history.  This is not to say they were virgins.  Neither was. Brooke had rolled around at time or two with various goatee-ed activists, equally as (purportedly) uninterested in conventional partnership as she.  Celia had gone on dates and been to parties with cute guys who made her laugh and turned her on.  They'd both had sex. They'd just, neither one, been in love.

There is, of late, a certain hysteria surrounding the "hook up" culture.  Hook-ups, of course, being the modern parlance for sex without commitment.  This is a vaguely paranoid and misogynist position.  After all, there's been no historic hand-wringing when it was only the boys seeking out the commitment-free sex.  But, once the girls started doing it too, a collective "oh, this will not do" breathed out from a large swath of American culture. 

As we said then and now: whatever.  Brooke and Celia were part of a burgeoning American feminist ethos that believed that girls could have sex for fun too.

This was liberating and exciting.  But sex for the sake of sex does not mitigate the awkward learning curve of adult relationships.  Celia, the practical sister, was much more prepared to fall in love because she was the one whose sexual history was made up of pleasant, impractical events.  She'd had her sex because she'd wanted to have her sex (always the best reason).  Brooke, on the other hand, had turned sex into a political act.  In an effort to prove that she was free from convention, she'd approached her sex partners in a blunt, business-like fashion and then had brief, unsatisfying sex with young guys who were probably a little terrified of her.  She'd never given into the feeling.  She'd always been guarded and costumed.

You can see then, how Celia was more prepared to fall in love.  She’s spent the last few nights with Jorge, having lots of sex and conversation; laughter and pizza. They’d had so much fun.  She'd never have guessed at how sexy Gio was!  Celia was glowing. 

Brooke was thrilled to hear about Celia's night with Gio.  He was perfect for Celia and Brooke was glad they'd both finally figured it out.  It made her even more excited to tell Celia about Teddy.
They'd been talking about Gio all the way down to the March.  When they'd found a seat and poured some wine, Brooke said, "I have some news too."

"Really," said Celia, suddenly wary.

"Teddy and I made up," said Brooke, beaming. "We're in love and I'm moving in with him."

"WHAT?!" should Celia.

"I'm in love with Teddy and I'm moving in with him," said Brooke, defiantly calm.

"You barely know him," said Celia.  "He's too old for you and he's... mean!  And you barely fucking know him!"

"I know I love him," said Brooke.  "And he is not mean.  He loves me and we're going to do important work together."

They argued passionately for 10 minutes.  Celia was the "he's too old and you barely know him" immoveable object and Brooke was the "I love him and we'll change the world together" unstoppable force.  It was a classic impasse.  Brooke got mad and told Celia she was moving out today.  Celia said, "fine."

Neither stayed for the party, which was a success.  Wally moved a lot of product. The young women of The Lightweight Group got some good advice about skin care, some pretty decent cosmetics and lightly buzzed.

When it was over, Wally moved to the bar to enjoy a well-deserved martini.  Fred was passing his afternoon there as well, alternatively pouring over box scores and staring wistfully at Mary, who was behind the bar red-inking a piece she was submitting to the law review.  She was bucking for editor next year and was sweating the piece.  The way she saw it, editor of the law review at a second-tier school would look better than middle of the pack at a first tier.  She'd be in the US Attorney's office by next year.

From the other side of the bar, Fred was sweating yesterday's box scores.  He wasn't the only Bulstrode who liked to gamble, but he was the only one who did it semi-professionally.  It was getting tougher and tougher to get money out of his father and he was pretty sure his credit card was going to start being declined any day now.  So he'd taken to making some bets here and there until school started and his father loosened up the purse strings.  But he'd been on such a losing streak lately.  Fucking Cubs!

"So," said Wally, settling in.  "Let's gossip a little.  What were Brooke and Celia girl-fighting over?"

"Brooke is apparently moving in with Teddy," said Mary.  "Ain't that a pisser?"

"Ugh," said Wally. "I don't blame her sister for freaking out.  Teddy is one of those guys who's always been a horrible old man. Even in his twenties.  While I, on the other hand, have remained a carefree bon vivant all these years."

"You sure fucking have," said Mary, laughing.  "But it is too bad about Brooke.  She's going to end up as miserable as his is. Frankly, I think Gio got the better end of the sister deal there."

"Maybe someone should talk to Brooke," said Wally, sipping his martini and planning an intervention.  "And tell her how miserable she'll end up with Teddy.  He'll ruin that girl."

"Teddy will make her miserable," said Fred, sill pouring over the sports page.  "But she'll figure it out herself.  She'll be OK."

Mary stared at Fred, surprised and a little touched by his rare perspicacity.