That should warn you about the content of this post, lol.
Had a night out last night. That is rare. Nothing spectacular. Not at all. Just going to some friends’ house to watch a game and have a red wine or two.
‘Cept there was someone there I didn’t expect. Who is not a good drinker. Who I have clashed with in the past. Who I thought I had mended things with. Who is normally fine.
Oh boy. Now, this is going to sound like the synopsis of Mean Girls. But we are supposed to be grownups.
Background. Roger’s oldest-friend-in-the-world is a lovely man called John. Now John may be lovely, but as time has gone by, we can see how ineffectual he is. He is so laid back he is horizontal. He eats too much and drinks too much, but is the sweetest guy. He wound up his business and retired a few years ago – not even 50 – and hasn’t really DONE anything with the extra time. He was married to a woman named, “Priscilla,” and she was a bit of a ho-bag and cheated on him. More than once. In less than seven years of marriage. He never knew until Mr Sparkly-Pants was “the One” (her business partner, and best friend’s husband – yep) and she left him, and he left his wife, and they set up house together – two kids each – and lived happily ever after.
Until they didn’t.
And Mr Sparkly-Pants fell for someone else thirteen years later. You know how it goes. (But she was never holier-than-thou, either, so….whatevs…)
Anyway, back to last night. John immediately started seeing HIS BROTHER’S EX – I mean, immediately. She came ’round to comfort him with pizza and vodka, and stayed the night – with a few other friends – the night Priscilla’s whoring was discovered and left him. I know, I was there. Aghast. With a small baby. Horrified. Heartsick. John and this woman-not-Priscilla were joined at the hip from then on. Now, I know people are gonna think, “hang on a minute here, IMMEDIATELY??? They were already having an affair.”
Nope. Not even. But John-the-lovely is weak. He has always had a girlfriend. His entire life. He came out of the birth canal and grabbed hold of the closest girl-baby’s hand.
Anyway, long story short, his brother’s ex eventually became second Mrs John. We shall name her Lucretia. Lucretia had cheated on her first husband, but he never knew, she left him, not for the OM, but because she realised she was a skanky ho-bag and shouldn’t be married to him. Lucretia was desperate for a baby. Problem. Her ex’s brother, John (stay with the story here guys) who she had shacked up with, had had a vasectomy. Fact. Known to all. He had his two, and in his 30s, got the snip. He wanted no more. Lucretia decided he did indeed want more children. And of course, Mr I-Am-So-Strong, got a reversal. About five years after the original procedure. They got preggers, miscarried sadly, but very-soon-later had a little boy. Then the scar tissue built up around the re-connection zone, and there were no more bubbas to be had. But Lucretia needed more babies. So they did IVF seven times, with epididymal sperm – yes, the sperm you harvest by inserting a large needle into the testes to draw them out, bypassing the vasectomy ten car pile-up. They had a little girl, Betty. Everyone is happy.
But back the truck up a bit. BEFORE Betty showed up, Lucretia used to go out and get a bit tipsy and tell everyone how terribly unfair it was that she couldn’t have more children BECAUSE John had a bitch first wife who made him get a vasectomy. And his first children were so HARD to step parent. BULLSHIT! And she knows it, and so does everyone else. Firstly, those first children – much to their mother’s credit – had totally accepted Lucretia and all her idiocyncrasies (read, she could be a nasty bitch to them back then.) He had ACTUALLY had a vasectomy against first Mrs John’s wishes, because he didn’t really like children very much, and it was all a bit hard, nappies, and all of that. They cut into your drinking and general good times. One night – about the seventieth – she and I were at a girls’ night out, and she started up on this theme. People left the room. Other people shuffled to the sides. Yet other rolled their eyes. But good old Muggins here, when she had me up against a wall, well, I said, “hey, Lucretia, I know it is a bit sad for you, BUT YOU PICKED HIM. You knew he was incapable of siring your children, and you picked him anyway. Be happy you have a man who adores you no matter what.”
That was it. She started spitting in my face, and screaming at me. I didn’t react well. I bit back. It was ugly. Ugly in a way I had never been so humiliated in public before. But I was sick of her whining. And I had enough Dutch courage to call her out.
She has never forgotten this, obviously. I talked with her about it some time later (hey, our guys were BFFs, she is normally a pretty caring person, a bit psycho, I’ll admit, but a doting mother, a much nicer stepmum now, and a generous person.) I thought we had buried the hatchet.
She set me up one more time, and I developed a “Lucretia Management Plan” – the first and only I have ever implemented in my time on the planet in dealing with a “friend.” If she is in a room, and I am there, I do not drink alcohol, and I make sure I am ever moving, and never get cornered with her for more than five minutes (I actually time it!) This plan has worked quite well for many years – about ten. Once, at a friend’s house, Lucretia had a glass of wine too many (I was abstaining, as per the LMP) and she turned and tore into me. I kept backing away, we did this merry dance around my friend’s island bench, all the while watched by Roger and John. John managed to lasso her and depart, meanwhile, I KNOW – and so did Roger, who witnessed the whole fiasco – that I did nothing to bait her. She was furious at the host – a mutual friend who had called her out on some nasty behaviour (God, I have/had GREAT friends, right?) – and they had some words, when Lucretia turned on me! I was gobsmacked. And as I implemented the LMP, she kept at me like a dog with a bone. I am not usually one to back down, or say it anything other than what it was – but for the sake of the social situation – and adhering to the self-imposed rules of the LMP – I was very calming, I spoke in low tones, and I was as agreeable as possible.
Now, Lucretia has moderated her drinking, a lot. And has been a much nicer person, and I believe it has saved her marriage, as John was in despair about her. But too weak to divorce her. He admitted to us that a second divorce would totally fuck him up.
But last night – I didn’t know she would be there – she was well oiled before I even arrived. It was so weird. She got pretty up in my face early on. This has not happened for nearly ten years. I was really taken aback.
As the night wore on, it became glaringly obvious that she had some kind of monkey on her back. I couldn’t work out what had pushed her buttons – this is a girl who is pretty damn tied up with her 15 year old son’s life and her 10 year old daughter’s. I mean, she sticks to them and their exploits like shit to a blanket!
I soon found out what it must have been. I had had a particularly difficult day at uni last week, and I posted “bad day in anthropology today” – and a Far Side cartoon on Facebook. D’oh!
Mrs First John, who I have actually kept in touch with (I know, I know, but she lives in another country, and is not all bad) and who is doing her Masters in Anthropology, offered some help with my theoretical dilemma. Lovely, I thought, and we had a two reply exchange on the public forum of Facebook, about some theory. Then we took it private, and she sent me some links/help. Of course no one knew about the private stuff, but those two replies totally got Lucretia’s back up. Now, to explain, Lucretia and Priscilla are fine with each other. Lucretia is the stepmother of Priscilla’s two kids, and has had the younger one live with them since he was 13. It isn’t like it is taboo, or anything, and Lucretia and I have previously discussed that I have contact with Priscilla, but only extremely sporadically. She was fine with that, it isn’t a tender situation.
But it obviously is, when you discuss academic material (albeit, there was a little jargon, I do admit that, but it was ONE REPLY) that made Lucretia feel …. like a pleb, a philistine. She, who has a good business degree, and runs her own consultancy company, said, “I had no idea what you two intelligentsia were on about.” Cough, cough, splutter, splutter! I am SO OBVIOUSLY NOT that – and WTF??? Hell, I was stating that I was having a conceptual drama!
So, after several hours of this weird shit, I got it. I had fucked up. I had talked to Mrs First John, in a public space, about something academic. Fuck me!
And then it got more personal.
Then, once I clicked in my brain (that old hamster was doing overtime, I tell ya) she got into some other crap. Like telling me that I was bad because I didn’t think family was the ONLY thing in the world worth anything. I gently deflected, and said, “it’s really important, but it isn’t everything, and my kids are a lot older than yours, I am contemplating/relishing the empty nest, and you are still fully in the parenting years. I lost myself there for a few decades in it, and I’m slowly coming out the other side.”
Red rag. Meet bull.
Apparently I am now a bad mother, who doesn’t care, who never cared because I had children I “didn’t want” and she had to work so hard to get hers.
Yep. Apparently that classifies your style of parenthood. Planning, or not. I just sat there, open-mouthed, the poor hostess (OMG, I’m still so embarrassed) beside me trying to mediate (mediate what, I was not taking the bait, but, she could feel the tension – a good mum, a chemistry-teacher-cum-careers-adviser-who-wants-a-life-after-kids.)
Then this, and I swear, I said NOTHING about affairs, heartbreak, “my journey” post affair, “well, YOU PICKED HIM!”
Holy fuck. Holy fuckity fuck fuck fuck. I mean What The Actual Fuck?!
I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until later that night, driving home (this all happened kind of on the down low, but Roger sensed something had happened) I related the synopsis of the evening. He said, “well, she got you there, that is back to the old, ‘well, you picked him’ you said to her all those years ago.”
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
He’s right. Bahahahahahahaha! She was actually trying to get me with my own words. The stupid difference is that she picked a guy who didn’t want more kids, AND SHE KNEW THAT – and I picked a guy who would eventually cheat on me – and there were NO warning signs.
Face. Meet. Palm.
That is all folks!