Interviewee

bins

March 9, 1994

Had an interview at an agency. I made an immediate, intense connection with Jeanette, the interviewer. By the end of the interview we were practically crawling across her desk to claw at each other’s clothing. I don’t know what came over me (us). She called my references preparatory to the meeting and I got good press. She said, “Mark, everybody loves you.” I said, “Do you mean all around the world?” She was flirtatious. It wasn’t my imagination. This time.

She said without a college degree there’d always be a glass ceiling at any company I worked for, which is the truth I resent the most. At the conclusion we shook hands but wouldn’t uncouple. We just stood there looking at each other. Blue eyes and nice teeth. I said, “I don’t know if I should cultivate a professional relationship with you or seduce you.” She smiled. The next day she called to give me the specifics of an interview she’s arranged and kept calling me “honey,” in a soft tone, which has always been my kryptonite. Laura used to do it and I think that’s why I fell so hard, so fast, so irrevocably.

I went to opening night of Merce Cunningham’s “Sounddance” at City Center with Ann and an uber-wealthy family who are clients of hers. It was absolute torture. I’m so ill at ease around wealth. The kids, 16 and 18, have never wanted for anything. They were perfectly charming and polite. They weren’t precocious, snotty rich kids, although at intermission the dad whispered to me that they were both spoiled rotten.

The son goes to Dalton. The daughter is on her way to an Ivy League but will first spend the summer with her friends at their Hamptons home (which, Ann later told me, is palatial). She said she got valuable lesson on how unfair life can be when she saw how many of her friends got into Ivy’s. Apparently, intellectual capital doesn’t count for everything when applying to top colleges. She said if you not well-heeled with connections or a minority you’re “screwed.” Then the two of them told me all about last year’s trip to Cambodia. It was agonizing to listen to. They were nice kids but I was so consumed with envy and self-loathing that I just hated them, which is to say, I hated myself. The performance, a revival from 1977 was very good. Very energetic.

Read a Joyce Carol Oates interview in Playboy. She said she uses every single waking moment to take notes and jot down ideas. Said sleeping is a waste of human existence. That’s what it takes. Everyone knows it but few are willing to pay the bill, present company included. Bukowski died today. He had leukemia. It gives me the dirty low-down blue blues.

29 thoughts on “Interviewee

  1. After reading one of these “way back machine” posts, I end up thinking about what I was doing at that time and how different our experiences were (of course, part of that is because I’m so damned much older than you!). Your interview experience wouldn’t happen today that’s for sure! But, sadly, we’re still seeing legacy admissions to colleges/universities. xo

  2. Nope, that interview style wouldn’t happen today. Them’s firin’ words!

    And yup, legacy admissions are still alive and well. My son’s dad graduated from Yale and our son, who is intelligent but not inspired by academics, was accepted. He passed his grade 12 but with nothing higher than 70! He didn’t attend as he was mature enough to realise that university wasn’t his road, at least not then.

    • Ah, the good old days. When you can let yourself become overwhelmed with passion for no good reason and not suffer consequences.

      You are very evolved for not forcing your son to take a path he knew wasn’t for him. I’ll bet there are lots of parents who would’ve forced the issue.

  3. Only ever had one job interview…with a bunch of elderly chaps who would have qualified for the finals of ‘the least likely to arouse passion in the female breast’ contest.

  4. Oh come on, all you dismally-minded interviewees out there! Of course it can happen nowadays. It happens! If it’s not you’re either retired or closing yourself down in some way.

    I loved reading this Mark. I was with you all the way, and fucking brilliant that you said that to her.

    • It can happen today but if it goes wrong there are real consequences! Women don’t put up with unwanted advances anymore. And, lets face is, most men, myself included, can’t distinguish between polite conversation and a come-hither look. I think I had more confidence then. And nothing to lose.

  5. I work in a hospital with surgeons, now there’s a place for envy, at least with some of them. They’ve studied and worked hard though so their kids could possibly be like the ones you described. Your interview sounded a bit Film Noir.

  6. Great story. This is why you should quit. What will the daughters and wife think of you? Even though it is the opposite roles of job interview sexual harassment, it doesn’t matter. You will never be the victim. Also having sex in 1994 after just meeting the recipient is not very smart. IMHO LOL

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