Six is the Loyalist, the Defender, the Devil’s Advocate, the Doubter, the Questioner. Sixes’ minds run on overdrive a great deal of the time worrying about many different things, and yet they’ll spring into action in an emergency, or when pushed – especially by an abusive authority figure.
Carrie Fisher was in her late twenties, on a date with Senator Chris Dodd, and found herself at a restaurant with Ted Kennedy, his date and another couple. She describes her awestruck reaction to his presence:
“Well-spoken, extraordinarily intelligent, poised, thought-provoking – he was a statesman in every sense of the word. I was intimidated by him, in awe of him, overwhelmed. He has something, for lack of a better word, heroic about him…. Who was I to contribute to a conversation being conducted by such lofty, learned men? Men who ran things. Men who talked the talk. Men who not only knew the law, but wrote it! Surely I was out of my depth as I ever would be. It wasn’t my even my depth, it was theirs! I was sinking to the bottom of this erudite, senatorial swamp as they rose higher and higher with each cocktail.”
So here we see a characteristic of Six – inflating the status of others and deflating her own, which sets her up for what happens next.
Kennedy turns to her and says “So, do you think you’ll be having sex with Chris at the end of your date?”
It was a first date.
Her date doesn’t intercede, but smiles at her.
The other guests try to pretend nothing untoward has been said.
Fisher responds just like a Six would when confronted with what she perceives as a shove, and from someone abusing their authority at that:
“This would not do. Seriously. There was no other way to look at this than completely not okay. Even if this man’s brother had been a hero. Even if two of his brothers had been heroes. Even if he, in his legislation-passing, cause-confronting way, was a hero. I was not just going to lie down and let this man moonwalk all over me.
“‘Funnily enough, I won’t be having sex with Chris tonight,’ I said, my face composed and calm. ‘Not that probably won’t happen.’ People blinked. ‘Thanks for asking, though.’”
When put in the fire, a Six’s nervousness evaporates. They’re calm and in the zone as they act – in this case, seconds after she’d been quaking in intimidation.
Kennedy keeps pushing.
“I tilted my head, my head, my mouth pursed, and glanced at Senator Dodd’s expectant face. ‘Not too good, no just… ‘ I shrugged. ‘I’m newly sober, you see, and I’d have to be truly loaded to just fall into bed with someone I’ve only very recently met. Even if that someone is a Democrat.’
“Now the air around us hung back, holding itself in check to see what would happen next. But I knew that I would not let this man get the upper hand, or somehow discomfit or shock me. I had some laws and this was one. Whatever this imperious… I want to say drunk, but he wasn’t that, not yet… whatever this imperious inebriate-to-be threw at me, I’d say something right back.”
A Six will stand up to anyone when pushed. It doesn’t matter how much they might seem outmatched. And they’ll do it with a strength and certainty that would make a giant pause.
Kennedy then asks her about having been a drinker. She responds that acid was her preferred intoxicant. He asks if she ever had sex on it. Nope. How about masturbation?
I don’t know enough about Kennedy to know his type, but his behaviour in this anecdote makes him seem like an Eight – the Challenger. He enjoys pushing someone’s buttons. He’s being intentionally provocative in order to see if the person can take it, to find out what they’re made of.
Fisher describes masturbation as playing with oneself, and proceeds to play peekaboo, putting her hands on her lap and opening and closing them, saying “peekaboo, I see you!” as the rest of the guests freeze solid.
“By now we had blundered headlong into a world of who could outshock who. Which one of us would say the thing that would stun the table into silence?”
The subject of Fisher’s father – singer Eddie Fisher – comes up, and Kennedy eventually challenges her into singing one of the songs he used to sing with her as a child.
So she does. A showtune. At full volume. In a crowded, expensive restaurant.
She sings the entire song.
And eventually the evening wraps up. Kennedy’s parting words to her: “Would you have sex with Chris in a hot tub?”
“I’m no good in water” she responds.
Years later, a woman told Fisher she’d been at the restaurant that night, saying she’d talked about that incident for ages: “It was incredible. We’d waited for years for someone take him on like that.”
She remarks to herself “So it did happen! I didn’t make it up, didn’t hallucinate it, didn’t forge it out of some gray lying part of my brain where dreams go to die. There really was a night that I sat and sang at this famous senator from New England. Sang the entire song without once breaking free from the cage of his gaze.”
Although few people have had encounters with the famous and powerful, most Sixes will be able to recall some occasion where they felt pushed by some bully, and rose right up to his or her face, refusing to back down, defying the fear and anxiety that usually grips them.
And then after the fact they’ll wonder if they did the right thing, if they over-reacted, if that even happened at all. They’ll probably leave that out of their picture of themselves, continuing to believe they’re the scared little person, until the next time someone powerful gets in their face, or the face of anyone who can’t fight back. Then watch out!