Since my interview with the lovely Ángelita (see previous post), I have learned a darker side of skirt parties. I had been talking to “Madison” in Seattle, WA, about an upcoming event. These events, by nature of the fact they are conducted in secret to protect the identity of the female attending, are sometimes fraught with concerns we wish did not exist. While the occasional boyfriend or husband might encourage his partner to attend something like this, far more likely is the opposite reaction—jealousy, indignation, anger—so there is a real need to protect the woman’s identity for her safety, the continuation of Madison’s get-togethers, and obviously any other ramifications that can occur when something is made public.
I was scheduled to fly out a few weeks ago and meet Madison, but as the time drew near I became concerned. My emails were not getting returned. The last time that happened I was left stranded in a restaurant drinking several margaritas and left the place with 1) staff feeling sorry for me since they assumed a date stood me up, 2) a half tank of gas missing, and 3) no interview. It had been a prospective meeting with a different woman who was hoping to attend an event. Only Ángelita had been brave enough to meet me! Missing emails become very loud in their own way, particularly when Madison and I had developed a regular and friendly rapport. So I reached out again, and then simply realized it was a lost cause and sent a good-bye/good luck type of note.
She did respond to my last note, but not with a message I would ever have hoped to read. Ever since I had started asking her about her business and the potential for my attendance she had been receiving death threats, and one of her clients had been hospitalized. That this was more than a horrible coincidence is extremely unlikely, but I understand her getting spooked. I do not want to temper with anyone’s safety or perceived safety, so I will give it another go in another part of the country. I hope Madison and her client continue as before, enjoy their next event and many more, and I also hope some of this research gets less clandestine and a little more welcoming. Anyway, onward.