Transcript of 8th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, August 27th, 1996 at 4 pm.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor. How are you today?
Dr. Balis: Hello, Sylvia. Fine, thank you. And you?
Ms. Bows: Actually, I'm tired. I think I need to get away for a couple of days.
Dr. Balis: You sound like you didn't have a good week.
Ms. Bows: I had a confrontation with my parents. My mother in particular. My Dad and I are just saying hello to each other and not much more then that. I think he just doesn't know how to handle the whole situation. I'm sure that he and my mother talk about me all the time. But he just can't face me directly. My mother, on the other hand, got brave last week and we sort of had it out.
Dr. Balis: What did your mother have to say?
Ms. Bows: A lot of things. Mostly that she thought that I was making a mistake. Her basic point was that Tom is not all that bad compared to other men. She even went as far as telling me that she had to put up a lot with my dad. And I know that's true. Moving to the U.S. was definitely not her idea.
Dr. Balis: You said that your mother had a successful business in Paris.
Ms. Bows: Yes. She made a lot of sacrifices for my dad. But that's her life and those are her decisions.
Dr. Balis: Did you tell her that?
Ms. Bows: I tried. But it's like we are from two completely different worlds. I don't think that she could really understand what I'm going through even if she wanted to.
Dr. Balis: Do you think your mother is trying to see your point of view?
Ms. Bows: I know she loves me and is trying to understand me. But there is this barrier. People talk a lot about the generational gap, whether it's real or not. I think that this might be that. You have to understand that I think my mother is a very strong woman. She was managing a business when most women were staying home and raising families. Not that I think that staying home is bad. That's not it. It's just that I think that my mother was very progressive for her time. There were not that many women running businesses back than. For that matter, there are not that many now. But somehow, our attitudes about life and living are different. The ultimate life choices in our family were always made by my father. There is this dynamic between them and my mother seems to be on the submissive side. And all her life decisions and all her attitudes come from that perspective. When Tom discussed his vasectomy with my mother, he kept stressing that that was a decision made for the benefit of our family and for my benefit in particular. And my mother believed that he knew better.
Dr. Balis: That Tom knew better than you what is ultimately good for the two of you as a family?
Ms. Bows: Yes. She did not perceive what Tom did as cowardly, but as courageous. He knew that I would be upset and furious and yet he did it anyway because he believed that that was the right thing to do. I think that this is how my parents see the situation.
Dr. Balis: Did you try to explain to your mother your point of view?
Ms. Bows: Of course. But as I said, I feel like there is this barrier between us. I can not seem to get through to her. And Tom is instigating my parents by telling them that I went insane and have drug induced behavioral problems.
Dr. Balis: Do your parents know about your recent sexual activity?
Ms. Bows: Somehow I just don't think that they would understand my interesting social life.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Bows: If you're having difficulties with it, Doctor, then think of my mother. Or father.
Dr. Balis: So Tom never mentioned to them your...
Ms. Bows: My indiscretions? I don't think so. I bet he doesn't think that it's in his best interests. Although, I don't know what his plan is. But he seems to leave me alone and that's all I want for now.
Dr. Balis: And what about your parents?
Ms. Bows: You mean Tom talking with them?
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Bows: I'll just deal with it later. One thing at a time. I'm sure I can work it out with them later.
Dr. Balis: So you are just going to leave things with your mother the way they are?
Ms. Bows: I don't know. It takes a lot out of me to talk to her. I just need some time.
Dr. Balis: You keep saying that you need time, Sylvia. But it is not clear to me what you are waiting for.
Ms. Bows: Oh, I don't know. For things to settle down a bit. Maybe I should get away, even if only for a weekend.
Dr. Balis: Where would you want to go?
Ms. Bows: There is this little place down the coast. It has a feeling of being nowhere. It's a collection of cottages but each cottage is a treehouse.
Dr. Balis: A treehouse?
Ms. Bows: Yes. It's very charming. The rooms are nestled in trees right on the coast. And none of the rooms are rectangular. They're all made up of strange angles and shapes. There is something very soothing about being there.
Dr. Balis: You were there before?
Ms. Bows: About five years ago, Rene and I went down there for a week. I think this is what I'll try to do this weekend.
Dr. Balis: It might be tough on a Labor Day weekend.
Ms. Bows: I have connections.
Dr. Balis: Oh?
Ms. Bows: Victor Woodward's sister is part owner. And Victor just might be the perfect companion. It could be very romantic.
Dr. Balis: I see. Is he on your approved list?
Ms. Bows: Doctor! Well, as a matter of fact, he is.
Dr. Balis: I think we should talk more about your list.
Ms. Bows: I thought we settled that last time.
Dr. Balis: Not really. I think we raised several ethical issues with you behavior. Aside from the basic rights of these men to keep their medical records private, there were several others. One of which is a consideration for these men's feelings. You said that you are not worried about them because they know that you're a married woman.
Ms. Bows: I did think about it, Doctor. And you are right. I'm not really being fair with them if they are expecting to start and develop a relationship with me. By the way, I only think that my actions could be misinterpreted and deemed unfair in regards to Richard and possibly Bruce. The rest were strictly one night stands. And I think it was clear from both sides that there were absolutely no expectations or follow-ups to be made. But I do think that I might need to have a discussion with both Richard and Bruce.
Dr. Balis: There are other issues as well.
Ms. Bows: I don't understand. What do you mean?
Dr. Balis: You are having affairs indiscriminately without regard for these men's positions in the company.
Ms. Bows: Ah?
Dr. Balis: I'll be more direct. When you have sex with someone in your company whose corporate ranking is below yours, your actions could be misinterpreted as sexual harassment. Did you ever consider that some man would feel like he couldn't say no to you?
Ms. Bows: No. Look, I know it's possible, but this is really only an issue when a man is the boss. Besides for that movie with Demi Moore, I've never heard of a woman as the harasser. I bet the men would get laughed out of court. And I would never force anyone to have sex with me. Please Doctor, believe me when I say that all of the men I made love to so far were very willing participants. And I don't think that any one of them regretted spending time with me. Trust me, Doctor, I was there. I should know.
Dr. Balis: I just want you to keep in mind that you might be very difficult to refuse.
Ms. Bows: I will take that as a compliment, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I would rather you took it to heart and thought about it the next time you made a pick from your list.
Ms. Bows: I will, Doctor. It is not my intention to hurt anybody.
Dr. Balis: On that note, how was your week? Socially, I mean.
Ms. Bows: I know just what you mean. There were three, including Victor. Victor is also from the Future group at SII. He and Richard work together and this is one of the reasons that I will talk to Richard about our relationship. Although I don't believe that I will break Richard's heart. Richard has a very open mind when it comes to love and sex. But you are right. I would rather not have a misunderstanding.
Dr. Balis: Good. Now how many men are in this Futures department?
Ms. Bows: I cannot help if I find men with a high intellect sexy, Doctor. And SII seems to have a high concentration of these men in its Think Tank. This doesn't mean that I'm planning to do the whole department.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad.
Ms. Bows: I'm just considering a few.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Bows: Sorry, Doctor. I just couldn't resist.
Dr. Balis: You said you had three affairs?
Ms. Bows: The other two men are also from SII. One writer and one programmer.
Dr. Balis: Is the writer from your department?
Ms. Bows: No, why?
Dr. Balis: This is what I meant when I was talking about sexual harassment. People who are working for you, directly or indirectly, might feel pressured to say yes to you even to their personal detriment.
Ms. Bows: I will make it a rule never to have sex with anyone from my department.
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, I hope you are being serious.
Ms. Bows: Sorry, Doctor. I do think that it is probably best that way, too.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Our time is up now. I will see you next week?
Ms. Bows: Absolutely, unless I decide to spend more time in my tree house with Victor.
Dr. Balis: Then please give me a call.
Ms. Bows: No, no, Doctor. I'm just kidding. It's so easy to get a reaction out of you sometimes. I will definitely be here next Tuesday at 4 pm as usual. I came to depend on you to provide some center and stability in my otherwise crazy life.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Goodbye, Doctor. Thank you.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia.
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