Part 1 of the Love Gone Wrong series
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She couldn't help the fact that men were attracted to her.
There was an air of inevitability to their arc of failure. Reputable men. Solid men. Men who'd never cheated in their lives. Good... Republican men. Churchgoing men. Even spectacularly boring men, men who were barely men, who were on the fringe end of manliness, who'd assumed their lot in life was to do science well, to the exclusion of female companionship.
These were the men who jumped off the high board into the empty pool.
All it took was a look. They were goners.
Scholastica was named by her father, a professor. She was destined for academia. She sailed through undergraduate without even trying hard, and that doctorate was a foregone conclusion. She spent nights in the library, let her hair grow stringy and oily, wore bad clothes, avoided makeup, and still men glommed onto her like T cells to a phage. The academic committee was asking her questions about transcriptase and Golgi complexes, which she could answer even after a double hangover, and all she worried about was the effect that crossing her legs would have on their powers of concentration.
Then, check the boxes:
- A tenure track position at a non-boring university. check
- Faculty senate. check
- Write a textbook. check
- Create a research group check and attract funding. check (Usually also attracted the contracts officer.)
- Publish. check
- Tenure. yawn
- Rock climbing. just for lulz
- BASE jumping. Needed an adrenaline rush
- Chair of the department. check
- Fellow of the something or other corporation. check
- Board of directors of a few startups. check
- Patents. check
- Accidental wealth. Oops, how did that happen? check
- The unwanted and inappropriate attentions of a bunch of alpha male CEOs. check
- Board of Directors of a Big Fucking Corporation. check
- Remember how to dress in pantyhose and heels when attending BFC BoD meetings. check
- No, I don't want to meet your wife and have a threesome. Fuck off and die, asshole. check
- NAS. check
- Charlie Rose. check
- Being called an antichrist by a religious group. check
- Bill Moyers. check
Oh shit. Bill Moyers. Married Bill Moyers. Bill Moyers who was married for a billion years to the same woman. A known faithful man.
Bill. Bill. Stay focussed on the interview questions. We're on TV ferchrissakes. My eyes are up here, Bill.
Why was he following her around? Why the flowers? Why the "thinking of you" notes in the roses?
Picked up the phone:
"Yo, Bill. I'm allergic to roses."
"Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I'll send orchids next time."
"That's not what I meant."
"Hullo? Bill, you're married."
"You have fantastic legs."
"Focus, dear. Focus."
"You called me dear."
"It was better than calling you an asshole, which I'm inclined to do on occasion."
"You can even make that horrible word sound charming. How do you do it?"
Click. Eat my dialtone.
The rest of the story was a fait accompli. He left his wife and ruined his life. He pined for Scholastica. She motored on in her usual high speed low drag way, completely oblivious to the wreckage in her wake. He began enjoying Scotch. Then lesser forms of alcohol. He took up smoking unfiltered Marlboros, because, really, what was the point of living?
Then he found Jesus, became a Republican, and hung on to the Old Rugged Cross. He began to pray for his mama. That's what Southern boys do.
She actually knew most of the members of the Nobel prize committee in medicine.
She bought some Louboutins. In Stockholm, she shook the Queen's hand. Then she shook the King's hand. Then she looked into his eyes, and saw that glazed-over look.
"Oh, hell no."