I rarely take my clients up on their offers for dinners or drinks. Mainly because I work with a bunch of gossipy bitches and I don’t want stories circulating about my inability to keep my pants on. Convention Guy Syndrome is real and it’s not to be toyed with. I treat this condition with the care of a petrie dish of Ebola or a brick of C4.
But Ebony is a fellow black woman of a certain age who has had to balance the shaky tightrope of talking professionally and talking white. She’s tiny and fun and someone who I look up to professionally. She can talk to anyone at any time, flawlessly. I fully expect that if she was dropped in the middle of a KKK rally, she’d have them in conga line singing “I’m black and I’m proud”. She’s THAT good.
After a hectic day at work, I was exited to see her pull up in her giant SUV with gorgeous smile. Of course, she’s a master multitasker so she was finishing a phone call as I ambled into her truck.
We hugged, we laughed. She was telling me about her new husband when she stopped abuptly, mid-sentence to ask “Hey, do you mind if we make a quick stop before we go to dinner?”
We continued to chat and laugh until she parked the car. In front of a piercing shop.
ME: You getting something pierced?
EBONY: Yup, my hood!!
She went on to tell me how she’d been thinking about it for awhile, that her husband is out of town and she wanted to surprise him when he got home. I mean, her smile was so big. Like kid-gets-Xbox-on-Christmas big. I didn’t have the heart to curse her ass out for springing this on me.
We walk into the shop with all the grace of hippos on rollerskates, giggling and clicking our heels on the wooden floor.
Not So Subtle, Party of 2.
The Piercer was not amused and had that look of a Planned Parenthood doctor the Sunday after Spring Break. Ebony wanted the shiniest piece they had on display, but The Piercer said that piece was better suited for belly buttons. After a very clinical, and not all that titilating, discussion about the variety of hood sizing (there’s lots) and aftercare (there’s washclothing involved), and heeling (about a month), and bacterial avoidance (use condoms); we went back to the room to see what size rod Ebony needs for her hood.
SIDENOTE: This this only the third time I’ve seen Ebony ever in life and the first where we’ve hung out socially.
While Ebony dropped her pants, I become deeply fascinated by the photos in the wall. I assume the awkwardness of the handholding here is implied and there is no need to detail JUST how strange an experience it was.
Ebony and The Piercer settled on a size and we went back to the waiting room for paperwork and crack. OK, there was no crack but I would have tried it had it been available. Because sitting in a room with someone I semi-barely know with her pants around her ankles is also on my last of things I never thought I would do.
I was perusing the other patrons, wondering how many of them were also putting holes in their nether regions, when Ebony shouts “I wonder what SHE’S getting done!”
SHE was clearly a stripper.
ME: I’m pretty sure a piercing shop is kind of like ‘the clinic’– you can’t just run around asking people what they’re in for.
EBONY: No, that’s prison. Hey, what are you getting done?
SHE: My nipples.
EBONY: I HEARD THAT HURTS!!
SHE: I heard that, too. But the hood was quick. You’ll be fine.
Ebony heads back into the room and I try not to fantasize She’d backstory. Is she a mom undercover in a strip club trying to find evidence for her wrongfully jailed son? Or is she saving money to escape her abusive husband like Jennifer Lopez in’Enough??
FRONT DESK GUY: Um, She? You indicated that you haven’t has a substantial meal in the last 2 hours. When was the last time you ate?
SHE: Um… Breakfast?… Yeah, it was breakfast yesterday?
(What the what?!? I ate 2 hours before Ebony picked me up. And I could totally eat again! Remember to research ‘Tweaker Stripper Diet’ when I get home).
FRONT DESK GUY: Well, you’re going to experience a rush of hormones in your body and you could pass out. You really should eat something.
SHE: Can I eat this candy on your counter?
FRONT DESK GUY: you really need something more substantial. Try a granola bar and a Coke.
Kudos to Front Desk Guy for making the experience of poking permanent hole in your fun bags a safe one.