pretend this is lucid because my feeling-generating mechanisms have scutted into potshards with stick drawings of flippy-haired copywriters and beehived/queenhived partners:
This is Atia in the series finale of Rome, the empress at the triumph, perfumed & burnished & resplendent against the roar of the unknowing rabble. Only instead of Marc Antony’s charred remains on display, the corpse is Joan’s — her belief that the SCDP heads respected her for her intelligence, her belief that her bodily autonomy is more important than any account. Pete Campbell oozes to her of Cleopatra and the man who buys her calls her Helen of Troy, and there are so many names, so many names that all mean the same thing. This is her prize: Her silent coronation as a partner, a supposed equal to these men who abided her prostituting herself, these men who voted on a cash amount to buy her assent, these men who will alternately pity and disdain her for what she has done. A supposed equal to men who are inferior to her in every way.
So the else-proclaimed Whore Queen turns with ashes smeared into her lips and catches Peggy walking away, coat in left hand, thermos in right, plain and lithe and free, this wayward stoneborn protege who never did purr or hiss but sat haunch-side and roared.
And Joan, lashed to the ground in emeralds and gold, prays with grief/envy/pride that feels like grief, Take me with you.
I’ve more or less been told the same thing as Joan.