This was a spur-of-the-moment creation for Esoterotica based, like most things of mine, on the title’s pun. Sorry if the punchline is too New Orleans-centric for people not from there to get.
by Zach Bartlett
You’d probably expect some arm of law enforcement to come down on you if you set up a little practice calling yourself a psychologist when you don’t have a license or a degree, but I guess in New Orleans the law figures they have bigger problems than that. I wouldn’t be surprised — lots of people here have problems. And a lot of those lie in the field of psychology, or at least my hobbyist’s understanding of psychology.
I think the biggest factor in both the success of my practice and my lack of legal attention is that I’m the only psychologist I’ve ever heard of who works third shift. This helps accommodate clients in the service industry, and that career field leaves you with oh my god but the worst issues to sort through. Which I do for a reasonable price.
My odd hours also net me some clients who don’t even want to be seen going to a normal psychologist, often due to the sexual nature of their troubles.
I could immediately tell this one guy I had in last week wasn’t of my usual waitstaff demographic. He even bothered wearing a tie pin on his first visit, as though he needed to impress me for some reason. I’d definitely get him back in for that issue at a later date, but on his first visit he was concerned about stress management and its effect on his libido.
I asked about his career. He was a producer working in Hollywood South, and currently had his hands full with a film project where Adam Sandler plays a waaacky white Mardi Gras Indian. I didn’t need any more information on that field, so I moved on to other traditionally distressing areas.
“So how’s your sex life,” I said.
One of his hands tensed around the other in his lap.
“Do you mean with my wife, or my secretary?”
“I think I’m starting to identify a significant stressor in your life. Let’s start with the wife.”
“Well, things haven’t been going so well there.” I could only nod. He continued: “We’ve been trying to have a kid, without results, for about six months now. We’re going at it practically every night, and it’s kind of. . . like we’re just doing it as part of our nightly routine along with brushing our teeth. We’ve also been having arguments about where we should move once our current lease is up. I’m adamant about wanting to get a penthouse in the CBD so I can be closer to the office, she wants to move to the Marigny because it’s sooo quaint. She also got this file-your-own-noise-complaint kit as a white elephant gift last Christmas that she’s really been wanting to try out.”
“And this constant tension and repetition has resulted in a loss of sexual passion for both of you.”
“I suppose that’s the cause for her. I think Marcus is the reason I’m not so passionate about her sexually.”
“I’m sorry; Marcus?”
He nodded. “My secretary.”
“And you think the fundamental reason for your lack of interest in your wife lies in him, not in you?”
“If by ‘reason’ you mean my-”
I cut him off, and asked him to keep it PG-13.
“Sorry. If you mean what it is that attracts me to him, well,” he blushed slightly and his gaze lowered, “he calls me Boss when we’re going at it.”
“And I assume your wife does not?”
“I’ve asked her a few times, but she’s not in to it.”
“So it’s the power fantasy that arouses you, regardless of the gender you’re subjugating.”
“I don’t think it’s a power fantasy; I actually am his boss.”
“But it’s having that feeling of authority over him that you’re getting off on.”
“Usually it’s the small of his back that I ge-”
“PEE GEE THIRTEEN,” I interjected.
“Sorry.” He fidgeted with his hands for a moment then leaned forwards and whispered, even though we were alone in my office: “Do you think I’m not able to get my wife pregnant because I’m gay?”
I wasn’t prepared to explain what was wrong with his question on short notice without cursing, and placed my pen over my lips to make it look like I was just thinking instead of silencing myself.
Based on how the conversation leading up to that had gone, it seemed that any reasonable discussion of his issues was going to just bounce right off of him like his wife after four or five minutes. We were nearing the end of our 30-minute session, and my next scheduled client was a lady with a Chelsea haircut, so I was interested in concluding things. I began to tally up his situation as it had been explained to me.
“So, you’re upper-middle class despite lacking ability in any sort of productive field, you have an unhappy marriage to a woman you aren’t attracted to, are sexually repressed, can’t decide where to purchase your next house, and get off on feelings of power.”
“That sounds about right,” he said.
“I’m afraid for this session I can only really advise you on one of your issues, though all of your other issues have helped contribute to my advice on that one.”
His eyes brightened as though he were expecting me to tell him about a pill that cures infidelity. But what I said to him was: “You should be purchasing a house Uptown. You’ll fit right in.”