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Sandra Newman @sannewman
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1. This is a thread about being a professional gambler, and generally about trying to be cool while female. It comes with a trigger warning for misandry. Anyone who doesn't like misandry shouldn't read this. I'll be misandering up a storm in this thread.
2. So when I was in my twenties, I answered a job ad in a newspaper for a "Professional gambler's assistant." Remarkably, this turned out to have been placed by a real professional gambler who really wanted to train a team to play blackjack in casinos around the world.
3. So I took this job and was trained blackjack strategy, how to count cards, etc.—generally how to beat the house at blackjack. It's a very nitpicky, geeky, repetitive thing to do, and you have to play eight hours a day every day, never making mistakes, to turn a profit.
4. On the other hand. your job is traveling the world, playing cards in casinos & beating the house until the casino throws you out. We wore disguises. We went to New Orleans & London & Holland & Australia & Malaysia & even Nepal. We counted heaps of money on hotel beds.
5. When I started, I assumed this would make me glamorous and cool and sexy to other people, and particularly men. I thought my feelings of low self-worth were over. But I'd forgotten I was a woman. Or rather, I still didn't fully understand what it means to be a woman.
6. So first, consider this: the boss, a sixty-something man, had hired a team of twenty-something women. He told us this was because he found women more "docile." Bad enough. But of course it was really because he wanted to try to fuck a lot of 20-something women.
7. Keep in mind we all lived together & traveled together, so this was intense. Women were always quitting and going home without explanation, only to be replaced by other attractive 20-something women. There was a constant undercurrent of creepiness and paranoia.
8. The boss also didn't want us to talk to other people, partly because he was carrying a ton of cash and it was dangerous, but also because many of the other people were men who were hotter than he was. Obviously we defied him and did it anyway.
9. So we would sneak out to a bar and chat up men. And we found it irresistible to tell them what we did for a living. This always played out in the same way. And by "always" I mean ALWAYS.
10. First, the men would be incapable of understanding what we'd said, and would think we'd said we were croupiers who worked for a casino dealing cards. Sometimes we had to set them straight three times before they could hear what "gambler" meant when applied to a girl.
11. Once they understood, they would try to explain to us how to win at cards. ALWAYS. They knew nothing, and they were preposterously wrong. It was like a four-year-old explaining to a pilot how an airplane works. It was also, after the first time, intensely boring.
12. It was impossible to stop them doing this. If we interrupted to explain how they were mistaken, it only made them pause with a pitying expression on their faces. If we got frustrated, they acted as if we were hysterical women who couldn't admit we were wrong.
13. But on some level they knew this had failed, because they then moved on to gambit #3—warning us that what we were doing was dangerous, and we were going to get hurt. This was delivered with a worldly-wise, "Let me tell you how the real world works, little lady" air.
14. As a result, none of us got laid the entire time we worked at this professional gambling job. All our interactions with men were fucked-up and acrimonious. Let me repeat: WE COULD NOT GET LAID BECAUSE WE WERE PROFESSIONAL GAMBLERS.
15. Any of these men could have slept with us, enticed us away from the boss, been taught how to be professional gamblers. Maybe we even would have been willing to steal our boss's $30,000 in cash. None of them saw this temptation. Not that they resisted it: THEY DID NOT SEE IT.
16. Anyway, in my opinion, this kind of bullshit is a major reason girls, especially straight girls, give up doing cool things. Instead of getting glory, you get relentlessly patronized & insulted by the very people who are supposed to find you sexy BECAUSE you do cool things.
17. And I know—maybe better than most people—how spurious the glory of most cool things is. In particular I know being a professional gambler is bullshit. But I worked for my spurious glory and I wanted it. I WANTED TO GET LAID FOR BEING COOL.
18. In my later life as a writer, I've often been treated as cool for the gambling, including by men. Maybe I meet a better class of men, or maybe it's easier for men to accept in the past tense. Anyway, when it happened—nothing but bullshit. I'm still amazed by this fact.
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