The story so far: David and Agnes are the junior partners in a firm of solicitors. After years of working together they are firm friends and spend time together outside work socially, they have so much in common – a shared career, shared goals, the same taste in coffee and they both enjoy doing The Times crossword (in fact, the highlight of Agnes’s day is racing David to complete it). Not surprisingly, Agnes has fallen for David and it looked for a while as if her feelings were being reciprocated.
Dora, the boss’s daughter comes to the office for some work experience. She’s about the same age as Agnes, but has never managed to hold down a job for more than a few months and her daddy feels that if she works for him she may get more organised.
She is, Agnes realises, as dippy as a rollercoaster, as innocent as a butterfly, as cute as a fluffy kitten and as helpless (or should that be useless?) as a two year old. Everyone likes her though, especially David, who defends her every mistake, opens every door he can for her, notices what perfume she is wearing and ensures her favourite biscuits are in the tin for their elevenses.
At first Agnes cannot believe that David would be so taken in by the artificially sweet voice of Dora, that he would find her mistakes so cute and that he could possibly fall for the eyelash fluttering way she whines “but I just don’t understand!” whenever she is expected to do more than shop on the net. But smitten he is and Agnes is heartbroken, she doesn’t show it though – she pragmatically goes to see a counsellor. Now the counsellor Agnes went to see was a firm believer in Transactional Analysis, he knew everyone was OK (even if their behaviours weren’t) he lived in the here and now in the Adult ego state. As soon as he heard Agnes’s synopsis he declared that David was in the unhealthy position of ‘Nurturing Parent’ to Dora’s ‘Adapted Child’ – the whole thing sounded dysfunctional in fact, the best way for adults to interact was with both in the Adult ego state. Agnes left the office determined to refuse any invitation to be a Parent or a Child, she would invite her co-workers to be healthy Adults just as she was.
By the end of the month Agnes had never been healthier, boundaries were in place, she was in adult, she refused invitations to play games – she was also miserable as she felt David slipping out of her life and into Dora’s. (It is worth mentioning here that all research is limited and sometimes a behaviour can work and make people happy, even if ‘unhealthy’ by academic measures). In a moment of rash desperation she signed onto the on-line Fascinating Womanhood course, desperate times after all call for desperate measures.
Light began to dawn in her academic and self sufficient brain. David was smitten with Dora because she gave him the chance to express the nurturing, protective, masculine qualities that were latent in him. He wanted to be Adult with his friends and colleagues, but not in his love life. Agnes had a choice; either she accepted David would keep her as a friend while devoting his nurturing side to Dora. Or, Agnes had to unleash the Child within, she had to transform into the kind of feminine dainty creature that would give Dora a run for her money.
She chose the latter.
Now to transform overnight into a fascinating woman would be both impossible for her and it would seem a touch false, she would take baby steps. The first step in her 101 point plan was to feminise her texts, she started to *sigh* and *giggle* and say ‘ooooops’, and *pout* and *swoon* and leave lots of ;o) at the ends of sentences. Next she replaced the certificates that hung on her walls with pictures of flowers. She started to find things “AAAAH soooo cute” and “just darling and adorable” and she noticed babies in their prams and darling little fluffy hamsters in their cages (although her eyes looked a bit damp as she thought about those nasty metal bars). She took all the effective things Dora did as an example to follow, while keeping the practical aspects of her own persona to keep life running smoothly. She stopped beating David at the Times crossword and started asking for his help with the Guardian’s cryptic crossword, which she really struggled with “how clever of you” she said “I admire a man with brains!”. Little by little, she started to giggle at funny little nothings rather than taking the world seriously. By the time step 101 was completed she was the happiest, sweetest, friendliest and most vulnerable solicitor EVER while still being efficient and organised.
Dora meanwhile had been put out. David showed plenty of friendly respect for Agnes as always, but now he was opening doors for her also and the biscuit tin was so full of her favourite biscuit that Dora’s got broken and crushed. Little by little the charm of Dora faded for David, the office was chaos now she worked there, valuable work didn’t get done or was done wrong. She caused headache after headache for everyone and pouted and sulked when she was called to task. On February the 13th David sat at home with his pen poised above a card – to whom should he send it? Dora had once made him feel special and needed and oh so masculine. But when he thought of Agnes he felt she needed his protection and help as well, besides she was a good friend who laughed at his jokes and added sunshine to his day, things ran smoothly when she was around, and she admired and adored him – she had told him so. On February 14th there was a card on Agnes’s desk, but nothing on Dora’s.
The moral of this story is: If (like me) you are a natural Agnes, release (or find) the Dora within ;o). Fascinating Womanhood is a good place to start.