the ad

She was a woman pained by her own beauty, and mistrusting of it. Compliments would form haltingly on the lips of men wishing to flatter, but fearful of offending. She knew they meant well, but she'd rather they didn't try at all, so uncomfortable was it to hear the same carefully chosen phrases trotted out over and again. Their translations trailed in the air behind them, unspoken, but no less tangible. Amazonian. Freakishly tall. Lascivious smile. Toothy. The woman had never understood this need of theirs, to spin sugar from air. She hated to feel patronized. And once placed in her lap, the praise sat there unwelcome, like an infant she'd no interest in dandling.

But she was gracious, and she hid her impatience behind a smiling sip of her cocktail, or the slow crossing of her legs. Soon enough the facade would drop away, as it always did. And accumulated experience had emboldened her to cut to the chase quicker each time. 

"Let's talk about the ad," she'd say, leveling her gaze into one part challenge, one part invitation. "Why did you answer it?"