Stories. Entertain her while she plays.
And found I had an edge; the drier the material, the better an opportunity for me to outperform my classmates.
First semester was Torts, General Contracts, Federal Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law. I buried my nose in the books, memorized holdings and statutes and aced all but one of my finals. I even held the top grade in my section for Contracts and Civ Pro. I went into second semester confident that my grades would make me a strong candidate for internships at Manhattan's top firms.
Over President's Day, my mom met me at a diner in Union Square before going to a recital uptown. "We should go shopping then," she announced munching on her order of Cap 'n' Crunch French toast with whipped cream. "An interview's like an audition. You've got to look the part." She shimmied her breasts at me and giggled as I rolled my eyes at her. "You're going to need a new suit. One that shows lots of cleavage. And shoes. You need some of those expensive, sexy shoes for this. The kind that exaggerate the arch of your foot and show off a little bit of toe cleavage."
Mom spread her hands and smiled wide, as if she'd postulated the perfect formula for all success in a woman's life. At forty-two years old, my mom's formative years had somehow been suspended in her early twenties, a time in which she'd had, and been acutely aware of, a powerfully flirtatious beauty. If you asked her (and honestly, even if you didn't ask), she would describe herself as "a Carrie." I think sometimes she felt disappointed, and possibly even like a failure as a parent, that my personality isn't flirtatious and girly like hers.
"The interviews are important," I agreed, pushing my eggs across my plate and my loose slippery strands of hair behind my ears. "But I don't have money for new clothes. And I promise you, hiring managers at these types of law firms will be far more turned on by my class rank than my cleavage."
"Don't underestimate yourself, Cara mia, it's not attractive." Like a teenager, my mom took a long loud slurp of her coffee. "I know you're an important law student now or whatever, but you should always listen to your mother. It doesn't matter how smart or stuffy or straight laced they are. If the interviewers are men, they'll care about your breasts. And if they're women, they'll care about your shoes. And if they're gay men, they'll really care about your shoes.
"And you shouldn't worry about money, you should think of this as an investment...." My mom paused dipping a bite of her sugary French toast in sugary maple syrup. "You know, if you need it, I'm sure I can drum up a little something to loan you." My mom's eyes lit up in surprise then, and she excitedly looked me over. "I just thought: you would look amazing in a Tom Ford pantsuit! The ones at Saks this season. You have my long legs and that perfect little bum and tiny waist. With a little bodysuit underneath, omigod! You'd be so sexy!"
"And so broke," I frowned. "Seriously, mom, who can even afford that kind of stuff?"
She frowned back at me. "From the looks of it, every woman in Manhattan." She stabbed her French toast and sighed enviously, "I mean, really, how is every woman here so well-dressed and with such great skin?"
I laughed, shaking my fist. "Don't worry, I'm single handedly going to bring down the city's average."
Mom frowned over her coffee mug. "Don't underestimate yourself, Cara bella, it's not attractive. If you had just a little confidence, you'd be a remarkably beautiful woman."
Later that week, Herman took my mom to Sandals in the Bahamas as a late Valentine's Day present. I called and texted her that I'd received my first round of internship interviews but knew I wouldn't have any response until she'd returned and sufficiently gushed about her trip.
The stand out of my interviews was Reedland Kirk LLP, scheduled for March 23rd.