I'm not good at wooing.
According to my assistant, women like to be wooed; therein lies my problem.
It's an especially challenging problem since I am attempting to woo my assistant.
Sleep didn't help me much. I'll give you three guesses as to what I dreamt about last night -- if any of the answers are Donna and stamp collecting you'd be right -- or how if we put her on a stamp, I could do a little stamp collecting of my own.
And I mean the non-self-adhesive kind of stamp.
But back to the wooing.
What *do* women want?
Flowers? Evidently not.
A trip to Hawaii? Probably.
Mango smoothies? That's a big yes.
Mandy wanted my balls in a wicker basket but I think that's a character flaw on her part, rather than a general desire most women have -- I could be wrong about that but I'm going to assume that I'm not.
Okay, to be fair, Mary Marsh might want the above item too, you know for some right-wing, evangelical, black mass or something but those two are probably the only women wanting my testes as some sort of evil, decorative, coffee table centerpiece.
Well, hmmm...okay, maybe CJ after my press briefing that one time but that's really it -- I think.
I think I'm going to revisit the whole 'what women want' question a little bit later because, quite frankly, this is depressing me.
I'm wearing my good suit today, maybe I can go for charm and good looks until I get a better handle on this whole wooing thing.
"Joshua," as soon as I'm in my office she's on my heels with my schedule.
"A very good morning to you, Donnatella," I smile. Oh, what the hell was that?
"Okay, who are you and what have you done with my Deputy Downer?"
She follows me back out to the hallway, where I look to see if Sam is in his office.
I stop abruptly as I confirm that he's not; Donna, uncharacteristically walking behind me to avoid Margaret, who was running down the hallway with a stack of papers in her hand, slams into me and her hand kind of.. ummm... grabs my ass. Okay, it was more of a touch than a grab.
Now, this accidental ass touching by itself is not that strange of an occurrence.
I mean, this is a pretty fast-paced environment with a lot of running around and accidents do happen. Once, about a year ago, I elbowed Donna in the chest while I was trying to open a stuck filing cabinet, I've slammed into Donna before, as well as CJ, Margaret, and even Cathy countless times, and there was that one mishap right before the first State of the Union address that Sam and I never talk about.
But this is different, she's not moving her hand, in fact, I would even say that she's groping my left cheek, applying a gentle yet firm pressure as she...
"Sorry, sorry, you stopped walking," she moves around to my side, trying to look innocent. She's certainly not fooling me.
"So...umm..what, ahh, were you saying before?" I ask nonchalantly, trying to pick up our earlier walking/talking rhythm.
"Oh, yeah, 'a very good morning to you'? What, are we in some sort of a British play or something?" she asks.
We've resumed our gait, side by side now, as she accompanies me to the coffee maker.
She hands me a cup.
"You gave me a coffee cup.." I'm staring at her, then at the cup, then at our fingers that are touching as we're both still holing on to the cup.
"So," she asks, giving me a sly look.
"So, isn't this against all that you stand for?"
"I'm not getting you coffee, I'm assisting you while you get yourself coffee."
"Right," I pour some into the mug and we start back to my office, "I thought you were a drama minor?"
"Yeah, but only for a semester; I only took History of American theater and Intro to Acting, I don't know much about British theater."
"Okay," I can tell she's not done yet.
"But American theater...surprisingly, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -- not about a cat."
"Right, Donna, were you going to tell me my schedule or we're we now going to discuss how a Streetcar Named Desire was not really about a car?" I can't help but smile at her as I say this.
"I was, before you got all weird with your greeting -- you usually just grunt." She's looking at me oddly now.
"Well, I'm turning over a new leaf. Pleasantries for all."
"Right, that'll last about an hour.." she snickers.
"Okay, fine, staff in twenty minutes, Sam and the thing at 11:00, Leo at noon, Senator Harris at 1:00, frozen yogurt with me at 2:10, the other thing with Toby and Sam at 3:00.."
"Wait, what was that one thing?"
"The thing with Toby or Sam?"
"No, the thing after Harris, something about frozen yogurt?" She's parallel to me now and we're looking each other in the eye, across the disaster that is my desk.
"The most important meal of the day.."
"Not today." She smirks.
Damn, I said that out loud. "You're little thing there," I motion with my hand, "with the smirk and the 'not today'...it was cute".
For that I get a smile and a slight blush.
"What's going on?" She asks, still grinning at me.
"I don't know."
"Okay," she replies, eyeing me with an amused expression.
"Yes," she confirms and walks out to her desk, I watch her until she's sitting down and out of my line of sight
"Okay." I say to no one in particular.
There, I'm glad that's settled.
"Well, that settles that then." Sam takes his glasses off and rubs his eyes. That's a bad sign, it's only 11:45 and Sam is doing the eye rub.
"Yeah, that should work.." I get up, see that Toby's in his office and shut Sam's door.
"Oh, I just had a question."
"Well, Joey was out here a couple of months ago.."
"She said I had the cutest butt in politics.."
"Well, I'm not sure about that." He's saying that with a straight face and a slightly hurt tone, like he's offended somehow that he wasn't considered for the honor.
"Sam, I'm not debating it with you, I'm not even saying she's right, although -- she probably is, but here's my question," I pause, "she was hitting on me when she said that, right?"
He looks confused.
"I mean, that sort of a comment, it's usually reserved for those that you want to hit on?"
"Oh, yes, definitely."
"Okay, and perhaps this is a finer point, but hitting on me or flirting with me?"
"Perhaps both. Why? You going to finally ask her out?"
"She's in California," I reply.
"That's what I thought but you just..."
"No, I'm just asking about that to put another situation into perspective."
"What other situation? Did someone else say you have a cute butt?" He's doing an indignation thing now that's kind of scaring me.
"Okay, here's what we need to do, we need to not talk about my butt being cute with the door closed, it makes me feel all dirty," I joke, "and no, no one else said anything but someone grabbed me."
"Really?" His eyebrow shoots up.
"Yes, so, based on the earlier scale..."
"The butt-grabber was definitely hitting on you."
"Okay, that's what I thought."
I get up and turn to leave.."so we were walking at the time and I stopped and she bumped in to me." I say this all in a kind of rush.
"Oh, wait, wait, that's different then, that happens all..."
"Yeah, that's what I thought too but she didn't move her hand."
"Really?" Now the other eyebrow shoots up.
"She kept it there after the initial contact and she kind of...squeezed."
"Huh..light squeezing or moderate pressure?"
"Kind of a gentle..okay, I don't think that matters, she squeezed my ass. I'm just confirming that ass squeezing still means what I think it does."
"Yes it does," Sam confirms, "so, who was it?"
"It doesn't matter," as soon as the words are out of my mouth I knew I said it too quickly.
I should have been more casual, said 'Oh, it doesn't matter, Samuel, don't all women want to fondle my ass..?' in a carefree, lazy tone or even lied and said it was CJ or something -- let her deal with Sam asking her odd questions all day about ass-grabbing in the workplace.
Sam's eyes are getting all wide as he stands up and points at me.
"It was Donna! Donna squeezed your..." He's still pointing at me, kind of moving his finger back and forth for emphasis, like a big, blinking neon sign.
"Shhhhhhh... Sam, don't say it."
"It was Donna, Josh."
"Yes." I say quietly.
"Okay." He sits back down.
"I'm just confirming that it meant.."
"Donna was hitting on you." He nods.
"Yes," I answer, sitting back down too.
"What are you going to do?"
"Have frozen yogurt with her at 2:15."
"Doesn't matter," I stand up again and get ready to leave his office, "I don't think I need to mention that by the end of the day, I *really* don't want to hear how people in the White House mailroom are discussing how Donna grabbed me."
He gives me an innocent look.
"You bet, buddy."
"I mean it Sam, I also don't want CJ yelling at me or the president dragging me into his office for a little talk about my feelings."
"Josh, really, this doesn't leave the office," he pauses as I glare at him, "and I won't bring people in here and tell them so I can do so without breaking that promise. Really, my lips," he makes a motion of a zipper zipping across his mouth and nods dorkily at me.
"God help me.." I mutter as I leave his office and head back to mine -- I can swear I hear him giggling like a schoolgirl behind me.
"So.." Donna is sitting across from me and we're taking the promised frozen yogurt break together.
"Let me ask you something," I put the paper cup down on my desk, "earlier, when we were walking.."
"Yeah?" The woman has the audacity to look demurely at me.
"Well, umm.. I stopped and your hand.."
After jumping in my seat at the unexpected intrusion, I peer in the direction of the shout, to see Leo hovering in my doorway, with 'the look' on his face.
"I didn't do it." I say automatically.
"No, surprisingly, you didn't. House Resolution 214, Mural Room, now."
He's gone in a flurry of efficient dust and curmudgeoniness.
"Donna, I need the.."
She puts a folder in my hand.
"Okay, I'm going to go now."
I back out of the room as we continue to smile at each other.
This assistant wooing thing could be a little distracting.
Josh has been looking at me all day, well, more so that usual.
It was the butt touching thing. I know, I shouldn't have but he's wearing the nice suit and he just looked so cute. I mean, it was really an accident to begin with but then... it wasn't. I mean, it's not like it was pre-meditated groping, it was definitely more of a heat of the moment ass fondling. Oh dear, that sounded bad.
Speak of the devil.
"You got a second?"
I follow him into his office and he shuts the door behind me.
"So, you did something earlier..." he's doing the smug grin.
"Finished the EPA research?"
"No, not that.."
"The medicare bill thing?"
"No...the hallway and the stop and the..."
"Ohh, that," I respond, letting him off the hook quickly.
"Yeah. What was that?" He's looking right at me and he seems amused and confused and flustered all at the same time.
"Oh, yeah, you know, that was probably inappropriate. I apologize."
"Well, it's just that we seem off now. I mean, the balance is.."
"Yeah, don't you think?"
"Because I accidentally touched your backend?"
"Yeah and I'm protesting the spirit of the word *accidentally*...I'm also mildly disturbed at the term 'backend' for some reason."
"Are you accusing me of calculated bottom groping?" I ask.
"Calculated? No, but I feel that, yes, you took certain liberties with the situation and the proximity of my hindquarters."
"Okay, so what are you saying?"
"Well, I..uh.." He's stammering now.
"Do you think we need to balance the situation?"
He's looking a little flushed, this is kind of fun.
"Well, Donna, umm, I wasn't..."
"Okay." I walk over to him and turn around, "Do it, Josh."
"Donna! Ummm...vengeance isn't Jewish.."
I choke back a snort.
"What? Our balance is off, we need to rebalance our relationship and we can't do that until you right the wrong that I visited upon your 'hindquarters'." God, that was hard to get out without laughing.
He's not doing anything.
"Okay, how about this, if you hold your hand out I could back into it..."
Suddenly, his hand is on my butt, I close my eyes as I feel his other hand grasp my other cheek.
Well, the big cheater.
After a light squeeze and a circular rub that brushes his fingers over the total circumference of both cheeks, he releases me and I turn so that I'm facing him.
"Donnatella?" He's looking at me with an innocent expression plastered across his very un-innocent face.
"Are you accusing me of calculated bottom groping?" He mocks. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't be surprised.
"No, but I think that we both realize that you took certain liberties with the situation and the proximity of my hindquarters," I repeat his words in a flirty tone, never adverting my eyes from his gaze.
"Well, then, you'll just have to right that wrong sometime, won't you?"
He walks past me with a super-sized smirk, taking extra care to brush against the side of my body as he passes.
Damn, he's good.