All the LA plans are in place and I’m so excited. Jessie Spano levels of excited. Also like Jessie, a little scared—the stakes are so high for the long overdue sex Ian and I are totally going to have. There is no room for error here, which of course means something will go terribly wrong. Like…what if we’re having amazingly intense, passionate sex and I go and ruin it by queefing or something even remotely human?
I’ll only be in town for three nights, and Frank even asked me if I have any friends on the West coast who I’d like to visit while we’re there. “We have a dinner one evening, but the other two nights are yours to do with as you please,” he said. Oh, I will do with them as I please, thankyouverymuch.
In the meantime, I had some business to attend to on the homefront: That wax I desperately need, laundering my favorite pairs of Hanky Pankies, and cutting out carbs so that my stomach looks flat when we try weird sexual positions, which we are totally going to do.
Oh, and want to hear something really bizarre? Ashley found a therapist…and she wanted me to go with her for a session. She said that her therapist suggested she bring in an unbiased friend who can provide an outsider’s account of what Ashley had just gone through, and she knew I would be brutally honest.
“I know it’s a lot to ask,” Ashley said, “but it would mean a lot to me.”
“Are you going to be there when I’m talking to her?” I asked. “I don’t want you getting all annoyed with me if you don’t like my version of things.”
“I will be there,” Ashley said. “But Bess said it would probably be better if I leave while you two talk.”
“Your doctor’s name is Bess?”
“Well, it’s Dr. Schweiger,” Ashley said. “But she said to call her Bess.”
I found this all very unconventional, yet also extremely intriguing. I personally love the idea of therapy. If I was willing to give up going out and shopping to be able to afford therapy (I’m not) and if I felt like I really had some serious issues to work out, I’d totally be one of those annoying people who is all like, ‘Well, my therapist says that…’ all the time.
Ashley had already seen Bess the week before and given her the general rundown about her situation. “I think she wants to hear about it from an outsider to determine, like, how I perceive things,” Ashley said.
On Wednesday evening, after work and before my drink with Morrison (so fine, I didn’t cut out all carbs), I made my way to the Upper West Side. Ashley met me outside of Bess’ office and we headed inside together.
Bess was in her mid-40s, with dark, perfectly blown out hair and a Cartier Love bracelet on her wrist. No wedding band. I always find it interesting when therapists who specialize in relationships aren’t married.
She thanked me for coming in and asked me some basic questions, like what my relationship was to Ashley and how long I’d known her. After that, she asked Ashley to give us a little alone time.
“So,” Bess said, “I’ve heard from Ashley about why she thinks she needs to be here. But I’d like to hear it from you.”
“Well,” I said, “I don’t think Ashley needs to be here more than any of us do, but I think it’s smart to look at yourself and see a pattern, and decide that you don’t like it and that you want to fix it. I’ve been there before.”
“And what was your pattern?” Bess asked.
“I hopped from relationship to relationship, even when I knew the guy wasn’t right for me, or that the timing wasn’t right.”
“You’d be surprised how much our patterns are a result of our blueprint, and how we were raised,” Bess said.
“I can totally see that with Ashley,” I said. “Her parents aren’t the most loving people and I feel like that’s the example that’s been given to her of what a relationship should look like. But my parents are awesome, so I don’t think that’s true with me.”
“It actually doesn’t matter how great your parents are,” Bess said. “I’m sure your parents are wonderful, selfless people who only want the best for you. They can still leave an impression on you that can be problematic when it comes to finding a successful relationship in your own life.”
We were totally getting off topic, but Bess had me hooked. “In what way?”
“Just a shot in the dark,” Bess said, “but were you a daddy’s girl when you were younger? Did your father light up when you walked into a room?”
I wrinkled my nose. “Gross, no. I hate that cutesy daddy girl stuff. Weirds me out.”
Bess just smiled.
“What?” I asked.
“Again,” she said, “just a thought, and I don’t know you well enough to say, but did you ever stop to think that because you didn’t get that adulation from your father at a young age, that now you seek it out as an adult through this incessant need to be in a relationship?”
I felt like I was drunk and someone had just dumped a bucket of cold water over my head. No, Bess, I’d never stopped to consider that before, but it made perfect sense.
“In any case,” Bess said, “we should get back to Ashley. But if you ever want to talk more about your own patterns, it could do you some good.”
And here I was, all cocky that I didn’t have issues. Apparently I was a textbook case!
I took Bess through my version of events with Ashley and Luke, and Ashley and Tom. The forty-five minute session flew by. Before I left, Bess pressed her card into my hand. “In case you ever need me.”
“She is good,” I said to Ashley, as we said goodbye.
Ashley smiled. “I know. I’m excited. I feel like this is going to help me turn over a new leaf.”
I gave Ashley a hug goodbye and we are not huggers. Then I made my way to my favorite wine bar by my apartment. Morrison had some business to take care of at Barney’s, which is only a few avenues from my apartment, so he said he would be happy to meet me somewhere in my neighborhood.
I was dying to tell someone about my conversation with Bess, and even though I don’t know Morrison that well, gay guys generally make good confidantes. Plus, with the crowd Morrison hung with, at least half his friends had to be in therapy, so he wouldn’t be that weirded out by it. A therapist on Park Avenue was better than the new designer handbag.
“Darling,” Morrison said, when he saw me. He pecked me on the cheek. He smelled like apartments that have washer/dryers and windows in the bathroom: expensive.
“I’ve had the weirdest day,” I said.
“Then you need a martini,” he said. He snapped his fingers at he bartender, which irked me a little (I was a waitress once and I just find it so demanding and rude). He ordered a drink for me, then rested his head on his hand, his beautiful hair spilling over his forearm. “Tell me.”
I told him all about Bess and her take on my ‘pattern’.
“One time a therapist told me that I would never find true love until my parents get divorced,” Morrison said. “They have a miserable marriage and she believed that I was subconsciously sabotaging my relationships because I didn’t feel like I deserved to be happy until my parents were.”
“Ohhh,” I said, “that’s deep.”
Morrison nodded and sipped his drink. “But if I’m really being honest with myself,” he smirked, “I think I don’t want to be in a relationship because I’m too horny.”
I laughed. “Speaking of…” I told him all about my trip to LA and Ian.
“Why didn’t you just sleep with him when you had the chance?” Morrison said.
I shrugged. “I’d just cut ties with my ex. I was all emotional and mixed up. I didn’t want to complicate things. But I feel much clearer now. Like I could just go and have a good time with Ian and not make it into a bigger thing than it needs to be.”
“I get it,” Morrison said. “So what are you going to wear when you see him?”
I laughed. “I’ve been agonizing over that for the last few days! I don’t know. It’s going to be warm-ish out there, so that kind of throws me off. And it’s LA, which has such a different vibe than New York. I feel like I should run all the nominees by you.”
“I think you should,” Morrison said.
I laughed again, then realized he wasn’t joking. “Wait? Are you serious?”
Morrison shrugged. “If you want me to. I love that sort of thing.”
I was feeling all warm and silly from the martini, so I said why not.
We paid for our drinks and made our way to my apartment. Morrison wanted another drink when we got there, so I poured us both a glass of wine and led him into my bedroom.
I pulled out my first choice, a pair of oversized white leather shorts that I’d snagged at a crazy good price from Ruelala, and a grey t-shirt.
“With black peep toe booties?” I asked.
Morrison shook his head. “Those are cute for like, brunch with your friends. But a guy is going to think that looks like a fucking diaper.”
He was so right. I took another sip of wine, feeling invincible. Man, I was so smart to get his opinion.
“Okay what about this?” I pulled out a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans and this cool white silk top that dipped down low in the back.
“That’s hot,” Morrison said. “Let me see it on.”
I paused for a second, waiting for him to leave the room so I could undress. When he didn’t, I figured, eh, whatever, it’s no different than if Nina were sitting there.
Still, I turned around when I pulled off my top. I was just about to put the white tank on when I felt Morrison’s hands around my waist. Instinct kicked in and I shoved him off.
“What are you doing?” I spun around, clutching my shirt to my chest.
“What do you mean, what am I doing?” Morrison grinned. He took a step closer and tried to get handsy again. I slapped him away.
“Aren’t you gay?” I asked.
Morrison’s eyebrows jumped halfway up his forehead in surprise. “Gay?! I’m not gay.”
“Oh my God,” I said. “Can you turn around so I can put this on?”
Morrison didn’t move so I repeated myself, much more shrilly this time. When his back was to me I pulled my shirt on quickly.
“Okay,” I said, once I was clothed again. “This is really awkward. I thought because of all the styling advice and the—”
“I work in fashion,” Morrison said, huffily. He delivered the word ‘fashion’ with dramatic flair, exactly the way a straight guy would. That is sarcasm, people.
“I thought you were interested in Kevin!” I said.
“Kevin?” Morrison reeled back, like what I’d suggested was so off the wall. “My co-worker was. That’s why we invited you two.” He held up his hands. “You’re not really my type, honestly, but you invited me up here and you were all on that kick about how you don’t want a relationship, just sex, so I thought that’s why I was here.”
I covered my face with my hands. “This is so uncomfortable. I’m sorry. You should just go.”
“Fine by me,” Morrison said. As he was walking out, he shrieked, “And those jeans are hideous!”
I held up the jeans and gave them a good hard look. He was kind of right. I threw them in the bag I reserve for Goodwill donations. I swear I will actually get around to taking it to Goodwill one day.
At least Morrison gave me some good advice before he stormed out! No diaper, no overworked jeans. Check, check. I set to work finding my new perfect LA outfit that would be sure to knock Ian right out of his hipster-y Chucks.