She dons no makeup, goes unjeweled, and arrives habitually under-dressed in the simplest of outfits for an evening, her hair almost too casually pinned or arranged, as if hastily done up at the last minute for whatever black tie dinner has been arranged. A slender, long-waisted figure and you tell me over and over and over again fine cheekbones and dark brown eyes. The mouth is generous, the complexion an even ecru paleness that, unblemished by any deviation, seems dispensed over her face as if by lighting. This Slavic evenness, particularly at her forehead under the pinned slant of hair, may account at least in part for her reigning mien.

Her glance across the club is almost mournful, a moment of declared trust, as if sworn to someone in a secret ceremony whose terms and responsibilities had not been defined. Her quiet bearing comes across as aloof, and you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction as if she were thinking of something else, as if she is somewhere else surrounded by the banal festivities of the sordid bump and grind of the gentleman’s club interior. Because she does not demand attention, she could seem entirely ordinary among the scantily clad women cavorting on high heels. Yet she is always the object of their not quite distinguishable admiration.

She dwells within a genuine state of integrity, a woman of unstudied grace, with none of the coarse ideologies of the time adhered to her. She is the servant leader of her domain, whether a world in need of her guidance or a seamy strip club on the edge of town.

Section 11
Section 9