On the way to the dining room, Dominique links arms with Godfrey and comments, “Although over the hill and alcoholic, you’re still handsome in houndstooth. I’ve always had a soft spot for you Godfrey.” To the rest of us, she comments, “He took me out of my hometown (and I’m sure took advantage of my naïvety) but it was a mutual use so I won’t ever hold it against him. Archer’s life was so suffocating that I went a little wild and Godfrey did manage to keep me out of a fair amount of trouble. He was my first long-term lover, he’s known me the longest, (technically) and even to this day, he’s played with me the most.” Godfrey is a little more than a decade older than Archer which makes him closer to 20 years older than her—certainly a “father figure” in the non-biblical sense. He’s taught her many ‘various and assorted skills’ as Dominique says, both in bed and on the general ledger. Archer doesn’t seem amused…The rest of us are highly amused to say the least. Apparently I was wrong…Dominique is going to torture Archer the entire day. Bad for him, good for the rest of us.
Dominique suggests, “But let’s put this talk aside until after lunch.”
We all agree—why wouldn’t we?…Godfrey’s alcoholism is the least interesting thing we can possibly talk about. But before the subject is changed, I have to get in one last jab—so, once we entered the dining room, I declare, “Oh good…lunch—thank God, I thought Godfrey might die from alcohol poisoning before we ate.”
“Don’t be silly Milton, if someone were to die on my island—I’d either know about it or have something to do with it…Rule #39, ‘Always know more than the other person.’”
“That’s not Gibbs’ Rule #39.” I comment. (NCIS trivia is something I know more about than anyone else currently on the island.)
“It’s not. Although I do agree that ‘there’s no such thing as a coincidence’…these are my rules. I’ve been compiling them for the girls. Although I do wish I had cross-referenced Gibbs’ Rules before I started numbering my list.”
“Since when is there a list of Dominique’s Rules?” Archer asks, obviously wondering, as I am, how we’d been left out of the loop on this project.
“Actually, it was Godfrey’s idea.” Dominique beams at Godfrey and hugs him around the waist.
Godfrey interjects, “They’re really based on my rules for dating.”
“As we’ve discussed, I was pretty naïve about dating when I moved to Chicago, so Godfrey did have to teach me a lot…I think the first thing you taught me is still the most practical, ‘Taking financial advice from a poor person is as smart as taking health advice from a fat person.’ I already followed the fat person diet rule, so I easily grasped the financial concept. (This was before the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad was published.”)
“Ha!” Archer laughs. “Yeah, that sounds just like Godfrey.”
Gleefully, Godfrey quips, wagging his cigar Groucho Marx style, (he really is from an older generation) “I try not to be usual—but occasionally I am pegged as one of the ‘Usual Suspects’ at the Pump Room.” We all roll our eyes except for J.R. who, (I’m assuming) doesn’t get either reference….Godfrey continues, “To entice Dominique to come to Chicago when she was 18, I set her up with a place in the Gold Coast on north LSD—at the curve.”
J.R., (obviously impressed) whistles and comments, “That’s a really nice address for a teenager.”
“It is.” Dominique responds, “Godfrey was generally very generous—but I did have a rather rude awakening when he cut my allowance after the first month.”
“Don’t even start. I only reduced it to 10k a month because you got more than a little carried away with your shopping sprees….Granted, I shouldn’t have ever given you a black card to start with…But, I didn’t think I’d have to give you spending limits upfront, I had no idea you were such a big shopper.”
“Well…” Dominique whined, “It’s not easy to resist something beautiful when Gucci and Chanel are steps away from your apartment building…and I did need to level up my wardrobe. A once yearly shopping trip works fine if you’re living way out in the country, but city living requires dressing daily. Besides, if you didn’t want me to spend your money,” Dominique teased, “you should’ve put me further away from the Gold Coast and all that tempting, tempting shopping.”
“And not keep you close. No way. I didn’t know how naïve you were when you moved down. I thought you were more sophisticated….You were dating a billionaire, and had worked parties with hookers…so I assumed you knew what you were doing…Especially given the rumors….I knew you originally back when you were part of the party scene…remember? And I know Archer was in college and you were in high school when you started dating.” (It was the 80’s, you could still get away with that stuff back then.) ”And…according to the rumors, he did a lot more than beg on his knees.”
I confirm Godfrey’s suspicions, “There is video proof of that happening on more than one occasion…Unfortunately, it happened in private, behind locked doors, and the only copy exists in her private video collection, so I can’t share it.”
“Well, that’s a shame.” Godfrey replies.
Dominique sways the conversation back in the direction she wants to take it, “So, you didn’t realize you were breaking the taboo that’d haunted me all of my teen years?…The taboo of being Archer’s?…No one else would even touch me because…as I was ‘informed’…(on multiple occasions) Archer basically had ‘dibs’ on my virginity….I’m not sure why he thought I was a virgin, (I wasn’t particularly experienced, but I wasn’t a virgin.) Well, technically, I was when we met, but not when we started dating. Regardless, his friends were gentlemen…except for you Godfrey—you’re a southern ‘gentleman’ in title only.”
“I knew what I was doing.” Godfrey counters, “As I assumed you did, as well.”
After a long pause in the conversation, I decide to redirect the conversation myself. The subject matter was getting a little too personal for my comfort anyway. “If we’re not going to learn anything new about your teenage sex life, can we get back to discussing where Dominique’s Rules came from? This is the first I’m hearing of them.”
Dominique, picking-up my cue complies by sharing, “Once he discovered I was more of a little girl, than a grown woman, Godfrey made me memorize his rules—verbatim…It’s still the only way I can recite them—completely, and in order. Which is not necessarily useful, especially when in a high stress situation. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, and also why I use the Gibbs’ Rules format for my list of rules for the girls.”
Dominique pauses to compose herself before starting, “OK, so here goes…
Godfrey’s Suggested Dating Requirements are as follows:
When you first set the date, use the foot in the door technique (ask for something small to get your foot in the door, before you ask for something big.) For example, start with a drink then find out how often they come to town, and once they’ve shown interest, lay out the rules and state your requests using phrases like, ‘I’d love to but…I’ll need a hotel to stay in because….’ and move on to the next step of defining the parameters.”
For some bizarre reason J.R. interrupts Dominique, “This is salesman 101 information. We already know all this stuff….you’re not teaching us anything.”
“Stop! This is ridiculous, you’re not literally going to read though Godfrey’s version of the rules of the game are you?” Archer was back to being disturbed. (Other than being a ‘hot, young, billionaire’)…It really is a bad week to be him…
“Shhhh….Don’t interrupt. There aren’t very many rules…you two can manage to ‘somehow’ suffer through another couple of minutes of something that doesn’t directly affect you. Of course, now I have to start over. But I’ll recite the first part again only in my head so I don’t annoy everyone else who has a semblance of common courtesy, and just in case, and I can’t believe I actually have to say this, I (or Godfrey) will answer any questions when I’m done. All of you have heard me rant before, and I promise you, Godfrey’s Rule Book is much shorter than the majority of my rants (especially the political ones.) So suck it up!” What the fuck was J.R. thinking! He knows better than to interrupt Dominique. He’s slurring, so maybe he just needs to slow down on the whiskey sours he’s drinking—we’re only at lunch (granted it’s late) but still only lunch.
Dominique picks-up near where she’d left off, “defining the parameters….You want to ask specific questions directed at the man, designed to make him accomplish a task to win your affection. A good way to do this is to escalate the requests, starting with one innocuous question then leading him to a call of action, a good script is:
Where are we going so I can dress appropriately?
What would you like to see me in?
Why don’t you just leave something for me at the hotel?
But I want to make you happy and wear what you want to see me in.
BTW—I need to have my hair and nails done…do you think you can do that for me?
I’d hate to go out with you looking like a mess.”
Dominique pauses to take a breath, no one comments this time. “Any man of quality should provide these few amenities for their date:
Enough cash to cover spa services for the day of the date.
All the clothing, jewelry, accessories (and especially lingerie) for the date.
And, at a minimum, a hotel room. (Where else are you going to change into the things he’s purchased for you? And finish getting ready for his date?) This must be in neutral territory. No visiting his hotel room, until after the date.
If a man can’t provide these basic amenities, he’s taking advantage of you.—And finally, on the date, remember ABC (always be closing.) Ask for something outrageous…you might just get it…at the very least you’ll get what you expected in the first place—what do you have to lose?”
Dominique stops speaking and turns to address J.R. directly, “Just in case you haven’t noticed, sales and seduction skills are the same…I understand that you already know all of these techniques because you’re an ‘uber excellent sales dude,’ but it’s important to note, I hadn’t made the connection until Godfrey pointed it out to me, which is why I now teach these things to all of my girls.”
“In that case, it’s a good thing you started out dating a virtuoso or we might not be having the discussion of the origin story of Dominique’s Rules.” Godfrey jokes.
“Speaking of my rules, before we go there, you might have noticed one inconsistency—I’ve never required any of you to follow Godfrey’s Rules…Fortunately, each of you has specific skills or talents which makes you extraordinary, so you’re either immune or an exception.”
Gritting his teeth, Archer poses a question to Dominique “Besides teach you the rules every escort follows, what else did Godfrey teach you?”
“OK, I’m going to skip the part about you knowing way too much about the lives of escorts, because frankly, I don’t need to (nor do I particularly care) to know…Although it would explain why all of your girlfriends had (with the exception of me) a very ‘specific’ look.”
Dominique scowls at Archer for a minute longer, (no one dared say a word, after her last scolding) and apparently makes up her mind to address him head-on. Dominique answers Archer in a slow and deliberate voice, “Because you asked, I’m going to share, for the sake of clarity, what the few other things Godfrey did for me to help me build my business and brand with men were….Firstly, because I was new to town, Godfrey took me to every worthwhile nightclub, bar, restaurant and private club. He provided introductions for me to all of the managers, owners, key staff, and investors and ensured they all knew I was a ‘good girl’ who knew how to behave, how to bring men in, how to keep them spending, and how to convince them to come back. As a side effect of this process, Godfrey managed to introduce me to quite a few executives, both local and those who traveled to Chicago regularly. Oddly enough, most of the men who ‘took a fancy to me,’ back then were European. (Hence my preference for European men.) Unfortunately for me, it’s also the reason why I couldn’t travel to the continent when I was in my twenties. It’s easier for everyone if the wife and the mistress are on separate continents. Just ask Sebastian when he arrives.”
Dominique pauses to pour herself a glass of wine. “But back to the origin of this discussion, most of the list of Dominique’s Rules, start out as quotes or paraphrased quotes. Whenever I find myself repeating a phrase in the ‘three times is a coincidence,’ way, I make it a rule. However, since everyone seems short on attention right now, I won’t bore you boys with the list.”
Archer objects, “No fair, now I’m curious.”
“I agree.” I concur. Glad the discussion was finally back on a topic I was interested in…Dominique.
“OK…I’ll humor you and tell you a couple…but only because you boys are adorable. “You’re already familiar with Rules one through three.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot about those rules…So, I guess there is a list.” I muse, aloud.
“Oh course there’s a list, there’s always a list…” Dominique looks mockingly in my direction until I eventually realize my mouth is hanging open—and shut it.
“What?!” I reply incredulously.
“Do you think I don’t know what you’re saying about me when I’m not in the room?” Dominique asks sternly.
“No, it’s just sometimes I forget that I don’t have a private life.”
“That’s not true Milton, your private life is whatever you do with whomever you do it with whenever you’re off duty, and doing something that doesn’t include me, one of my boys, or one of my girls.”
“Like I said, by that definition, I don’t have a private life.”
Dominique decides to ignore my sidebar and returns to the original topic, “For obvious reasons, although not Rule#1, (technically, it’s Rule #4)—the first new rule is more important for my girls than for you boys, although it’s still very relevant….According to Fernando Lamas, ‘It is better to look good, than to feel good.’…I agree. You get a lot further on your image, than your gut…until you prove your gut is accurate. (Provided you back-up your intuition with proof and/or math)…But before you can even have the opportunity, you have to get your foot in the door.—And good looks gets you in the door pretty much anywhere.”
“You do look mahvelous, my dear.” Godfrey cooes.
“Why thank you.” Dominique replies, snapping me out of my reverie, “I know we already covered the ABC’s of selling, but it’s even more relevant for my girls, our profits need to come in multiple income streams, and our gross margin is greatly enhanced by add-on services.”
“Is that a euphemism for escort services?” Godfrey asks.
“Great call back.” I chime in.
“No. Outside of the assumed tips, you know I always advise my girls to only accept gifts. They’re non-taxable income. Although I do know a guy from Chicago who can find me pretty much any type of woman my clients are looking for.”
“Of course you do.” I comment, not meaning to, but actually sounding slightly bitchy this time….This part of her world is something I could never quite get used to.
“Back to the actual discussion. (You boys really do have sex on the brain.) My favorite rule, at least for the moment, is inspired by a quote from Peter Diamandis…Rule #16 is ‘If you can't win, change the rules. If you can't change the rules, ignore them.’ Oh, and just to make it clear, how important this rule is, it’s the only rule whose number is intentional.”
As usual, I was the first to bite, (figuratively speaking, if we were speaking literally, I’d put my money on Dominique…she’s a biter…just ask Archer.) “OK, so I have to ask, why #16?”
“That’s private.” Dominique responds with a smile.
“Since when do you have a private life? Godfrey inquires.
“Oh Godfrey, my dear, sweet, Godfrey—who’s naïve now? I’ve always had a private life—just ask Archer.”
With his hands up in protest, Archer backs away from the group, “No, don’t ask. I’m not going to go there…I’m pleading the fifth. End of story.”
J.R and I give each other a look to say…How interesting?…What are those two hiding? “Oh, damn. This really is ‘pick on Archer week’ isn’t it? Oops. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”
J.R. says exactly what I want to say, but won’t because I’m afraid of the repercussions, (I’m not a big fan of discipline.) “I knew it! I knew you two had sex…you did it when she was sixteen didn’t you!”
“Have sex, no.” Archer replies.
“Seriously?” I question.
“Seriously.” Dominique firmly responds. “New subject please.”
“More rules, please.” I ask, in my most subservient voice.
“Well, we discussed Rule #39 already.”
“What was that again?” Godfrey asks.
“Rule #39 ‘Always know more than the other person.’ Just for context, I’ll tell you that I learned this lesson from back in my consulting days. The only problem with consulting is—every 18 months or so, you have to basically go out and find a new job….and you’re not going to get hired, if you don’t know (at a minimum) more than the hiring manager, otherwise why would they bother spending the money?”
“What other wisdom do you have to share oh, wise one?” Godfrey teases.
“Well, maestro…”Dominique teases back, “I know things you can only imagine, but they’re not relevant to this conversation.”
J.R. exclaims, “Burn! The student’s outpaced the teacher, hasn’t she.”
“To be honest, and as you well know, you can’t build a house before first laying the foundation…So I will give credit, where credit is due…Without Godfrey training me, and then giving me the opportunity to open and operate Miss Dom’s, (which was an education in itself)…I wouldn’t have had the basis for Dominique’s Rules…..That and Milton making me watch every single episode of NCIS with him. (So you’d think I’d know all of Gibbs’ Rules by heart.”)
I reply with a heavy layer of sarcasm, “I know it was such a ‘hardship’ for you to be altruistic enough to give up your time to watch your Hollywood crush Mark Harmon for hours, and hours, and hours.”
“Har, har. If you’re going to give me a hard time…I’m going to change the subject again. It’s not really any fun when I’m the one with the hard-on.”
J.R. questions Dominique, “I’m surprised more of your rules don’t have to do with control—or are there other ones dealing with your obsession that you just didn’t share with us?”
“Your assumption is wrong. They all (pretty much) have to do with self-control, habits, and delayed gratification….And those three things are just control in a different form from you’re used to seeing with me.” Dominique replies with a wink and a wicked smile.
Seeing he wasn’t going to get anywhere with that line of questioning, J.R. pivots, and asks Godfrey, “OK, so we know the what and how, but why did you choose Dominique Godfrey?”…And why did you fund Miss Dom’s?” J.R. really is hung-up on Miss Dom’s…I’m starting to wonder what his angle is…he must be looking for something specific, some particular information….I’ll have to do some digging when I have a chance.
“Well, J.R., there are girls, there are women, and then there is Dominique. All she needed was a little mentoring and the right introductions—I knew she could rule the city if she wanted, I didn’t think she’d take on the world.—She brings a whole new definition to the oft-used sports phrase “Go big, or go home.”
“It’s true. My reward for following his rules (and a few other more ‘interesting’ favors) was Miss Dom’s.”
“Well, it wasn’t entirely altruistic, you did have a list of very specific attributes that made you a perfect potential bar owner.”
Archer raises an eyebrow and inquires, “Oh, do tell, what are these ‘special attributes’ you’re referring to?”
“I said specific, not special attributes, so stop thinking about things that normal people do in bed. But I’ll give you the list…It might not be what you expect, but I’ve invested in hundreds of successful bars, restaurants, and nightclubs—so I know what I’m doing.” Godfrey pauses to take a drink of his gin and tonic before proceeding. “Firstly, the last thing you want in an owner or a manager is someone who has an addictive personality…Dominique’s quite possibly addicted to sex, but I gave her a pass on that requirement because it’s closer to an obsession than an addiction with her. That, and drug addictions are way more destructive than any sexual perversions.”
“What about alcohol addiction?” J.R. asks, obviously needling the old man.
“Alcohol is a drug, kid. If anyone tells you it’s not, they’re delusional.” Hmmm…I think it’s interesting that Godfrey is so self-aware regarding alcoholism, (or maybe he just doesn’t think he personally has a problem.) I’m going to let this inconsistency slide for now, but put it in my ‘need to investigate further so I can eliminate the competition’ file.
“To answer your question as to why I gave Dominique the bar…well, there’s a list.”
Archer adds, “Of course there’s a list.”
“Har, har, yourself.” Godfrey replies and continues, “For one thing Dominique can sit at a bar for an evening (often just an hour) and tell you if it’s making or losing money and who’s stealing. Mind you, she can do this accurately enough to make a bet with you about how long the establishment will stay open…And as we all know, Dominique doesn’t gamble, so that’s quite a feat.”
“How many wagers did you lose to her?” I had to ask, ‘enquiring minds want to know.’
“I’d rather not discuss it.” Godfrey replies dryly.
“So, all of them?” Archer inquires.
“If you want to get in on the action Archer, I have a wager for you.” Dominique chimes in. “If you’re not afraid of the odds…”
“I’m in. I can afford it. Whatever the wager is…” suddenly, he realizes who he’s speaking to, and adds,“…as long as it’s cash.”
“Done.” Dominique proclaims, “By the end of this weekend, I will leave this island with at least one suitcase full of cash.”
“What are the stakes?”
“Winner take all.”
“Just to clarify, how much currency fits in a suitcase full of cash?” Archer asks, temporarily withdrawing his handshake.
“Several million….Somewhere between two and ten, depending upon the size of the—ahem, suitcase (and, frankly, the size of the man bankrolling it.)” Dominique teases, “Haven’t you ever tried it, just for fun?”
“No, not that particular flavor of interesting, but (apparently) my repertoire of interesting flavors is not as extensive as yours.”
“Don’t be so jealous, it’s a very ugly color…especially on you…now do we have a deal my darling Archer?” Dominique queries with an outstretched hand.
“What the heck, I can afford a few extra million. Why not.”
“Excellent. Now where were we? I believe we were talking about my skills, were we not?”
“We were.” I answer….Not sure how we’d ended up talking about a suitcase full of cash in the first place.
“Let’s go back to that, then. I am my favorite topic.” Dominique prompts with another wink.
Shaking his head, Godfrey starts, speaking slowly, “I’m not quite sure what just happened, so I’m going to skip to some of the more boring stuff…while I reorient myself. As I’m sure you’re all aware, there’s a lot of math involved in running a successful bar and even though Dominique jokes that she wouldn’t have almost failed algebra if someone had told her she needed it to calculate gross margin, she is a bit of a math whiz. Besides the obvious need for efficiency and elegance in processes (which is, of course, Dominique’s consulting specialty) bars, restaurants, and nightclubs all have supply chains with teeny, tiny, tight little margins…”
“Ooooh, just like so many other things that men like.“ Dominique interrupts, then pauses to look around at the group of us men, shaking our heads, Archer with his hand on his forehead. Dominique continues, “What?! I’m obviously referring to car suspensions.”
“I was going to point out that you have amazing people skills…but perhaps I’ll just take a pass on the point.” Godfrey responds. Obviously not quite sure as to whether or not he should proceed with his list, or let Dominique change the subject to sex…again.
“Oh, no, please proceed.” Dominique insists.
“As I was saying, because Dominique is a genuinely nice person (not the type of person who has to tell you they’re a nice person)…She starts from the assumption that mankind is generally good, and treats everyone accordingly (until they prove to be a bitch or an ass.) The skill set needed is more ‘people skills’ that ‘customer service’…Dominique can judge BS instantly. Sometimes the customer is wrong, and sometimes the customer doesn’t deserve good service, and therefore a bar owner needs to know how to ‘encourage’ them to find another more ‘appropriate’ venue.”
“She definitely has the right ‘various and assorted’ skills to accomplish that task.” I comment.
“That she does.” Godfrey replies. “But most importantly, she embodies the cult of personality necessary to create a following. She is (obviously) very charismatic, very beautiful, and very persuasive…For instance, have you ever seen her walk out on the dance floor, with a stream of girls following her, as the crowd parts to make them room?”
Archer confirms Godfrey’s assertion, “That is a beautiful sight to behold…Alpha men are rare, and Alpha women are an exquisite—I would say mutation, but exception is perhaps a better word.”
Dominique posits, “I’d say extraordinary, wouldn’t you?”