Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


Time, the great leveller?

Although I didn’t experience trickle truth to the same degree that many other betrayeds did, there is certainly a parallel with how time uncovers or changes perspectives. Roger was very aware that any further lies would mean I would lace up my marching boots and get the fuck outta there. I also think the relief he felt at discovery was palpable. He no longer had to lie and be deceitful. He could once again be who he used to be, and tell me the truth, tell me everything about his world, his day, his feelings.

That said, I didn’t/couldn’t know the whole truth on D-night. There are nuanced things that pop up from time to time, yes, even now! I told him about my recent bout of recurring dreams – I still have them most nights – about the first night he fucked her, and my mind movie of how it panned out. He was horrified, and said, “it wasn’t anything like as sexy, or romantic, or hot, as that. No way, this is what I remember happening, and my memory of it is not great, I thought I had told you this,” as he then described what he could remember of him entering the dangerous and slippery slope to where we are today.

I was very conscious my ignorance of the truth, and that I would never really know it, even as my head swam and I felt the earth shift on its axis on the night I was told of their affair, by the OW. I didn’t have a clue about the length, or the scope of the affair that night, but I did know that it (as I later discovered, 15 months of sexual affair, the period leading into that and the two months since he had ended it) meant I had (over 18 months of) a completely different reality to his. I knew it would take quite some time to align the two to any real degree. How could I know the nuances of their conversations, the looks they exchanged post-coitally, the way his skin reacted as she stroked him, whether she liked it when he revelled in the scent(s) of her body, like he did mine …? And so, over the next few months, he started to tell their story. To me. It began to deconstruct the pretty little picture they had painted for themselves. The rot started to invade their castle.


And he knew it. He was helpful, disclosing things as I asked. Uncomfortable, of course, but also told me ‘private’ things about her/them when he recalled them, without prompting. It was an act of goodwill. To try to let me know that he wanted me to stay, that he loved me. That he wanted to try to right his agonising wrongs. That he hated how he had behaved. That he was embarrassed and humiliated. That he was grateful that I even considered staying with such a hurtful scumbag. He hated telling me, but instinctively knew he had to. He even understood that every ‘secret’ he shared with me, handed me more power, and eroded hers. It was – and still can be – utterly and agonisingly beautiful.

I have noted a real shift in the last year or so. Yes, once I decided it needed to end, things changed a little again. Not a large earthquake shift like D-day, more aftershocks, tremors as things settled down to a large degree. Albeit that I would never trust the earth to be still ever again.

We still have a fair bit of contact. And he is still my best friend and greatest advocate. He is softer still. Occasionally, we talk. About IT. But not really about IT. We talk about our feelings, and our journey to here. To today. I note a real recognition of his ‘shit’ – more than ever. And I also note that he is even more open to the reality that this really was one of the most damaging things a person can experience. That I will not ‘just get over it’ eventually with time, love, work and mindfulness. This is a scar he carved in and on me. And himself. He, like me, thought we would do the work, and with the passage of time, we would be completely healed. He admits he thought a year or two would have us sorted – hey, me too! Over seven and a half years later, he sits with the permanence of the wound, and I think he is far more accepting of it, not fighting it, not wishing/hoping/willing that I would just get better. I always felt he thought I was wallowing in it, because it felt good. He denies this, saying, “why would anyone do that? Make themselves sick, sad and tortured? That makes no sense whatsoever. I know you want to get better. I know you want a better life. I know how hard you have worked to overcome this agony I wrought on you.”

We have connected nicely over the last week. Probably catalysed by a visit to ‘our’ lawyer. Who explained how we could conceivably unpack the intricate legal wrapping we had constructed around our joint assets, rendering us unable to split them, as they were no longer under our own ‘control’ which had made me (and him) feel like I would never be able to properly break free. It was liberating, but of course, not an immediate cure.

I like him. I like being his friend. I like listening to him talk. I like sitting quietly in silence with him. I like being near him. I like his calm. I  like the way he smells. Despite what others tell me is ‘healthy’ – we have a real and deep friendship and bond that I doubt will ever be fully severed.

And I am so very thankful for that.




One of the hardest parts about letting go of a relationship with a partner who supported you, believed in you, fed your soul, shared your successes (and commiserated about your failures) is the loneliness. The lack of high fives when you do well.

I got my marked final undergrad year, gender, place and culture geography essay back last week. Worth 33% of the final grade. I knew I had an A+ on it. The lecturer had let us know she would post the grades early in the week, as she couldn’t return the hard copies just yet, with two legitimate late submissions needing out-marking. Of course, I was pleased, you always are with an A+.

I picked up my marked hard copy a few days later. I got 100% on it. I mean, WTF??? I didn’t even know you could get 100% on a humanities essay! Maths, sciences, yes. A definitive answer. Of course. But a subjective viewpoint? WOW.Her final comment was, “very much graduate level, here is your Masters on a plate!”

And, in my isolation from all my previous friends, and now from Roger, I was absolutely fizzing (had a few tears in the carpark as I read her comments!) but had no one to share my thrill with. I got a 97% on an essay on the equivalent second year paper, but had never heard of 100%. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I am also on a diet and exercise plan that I am trying to stick hard to, and am avoiding alcohol, so no bubbles for me.  The best I could do was Snapchat my eldest daughter in the capital. woohoo – when it should have been WOOHOO – LOOK AT ME, CHECK OUT THE BRAIN ON PAULA!

The loss of all of my emotional support systems and especially Rog, who really was a great person to celebrate success with, just tears at me. My daughter let my (former) best friend know. I was very surprised she did that. But J let me know she had heard, and we saw each other at a friend’s ANZAC Day centenary party (we never see each other any more, I have withdrawn from her as she just doesn’t understand) and she gave me a huge hug, and was almost speechless – her words, “I’m not surprised, you have always been WAY more than capable, but heck, I didn’t even know you COULD get a perfect score on a humanities essay.” Me: “I KNOW, WTF?” J: “Can I tell my siblings?” J’s parents are both deceased, but her seven siblings are closer to me than my own are. I answered, “ummmm, yeah, I suppose, I mean, of course, I’m sure they will be super excited to hear that, lol.”

Same day at uni, I was leaving my morning double lecture, the one with the old-school, dry lecturer called my name. I was very surprised, didn’t know he KNEW my name. We had a 35% essay due not long after the GEOG one, and I found it very challenging – the most challenging one I have done thus far. It was 3000 words on a VERY broad topic. I was very worried I hadn’t really answered the question properly – I went a little bit leftfield – even after asking myself if I had answered it a million times prior to submission. As I walked towards the lectern, I had, “OMG, he is going to say, you seem to have missed the point entirely on your essay, Paula.” When I got to him (half the class was right behind me, so no privacy, gulp) he said, “I just wanted to thank you so much for your essay.”

Wait, WTF???

Since when do you get thanked for handing in an essay?

I replied, ” oh, okay, thanks. I was quite worried about it.” He smiled and said, “don’t be,” and I walked away.

How weird is that???

So, I am hoping that is a good sign?

But, once again, I am very alone in all of this. Being alone is normally okay with me these days. I have been comfortable in my own skin most of my life, but this is another level. Most of the time, I am comfortable with my own achievements. I often think of Mum, and how she would have been who I would have shared this with if she was still here.

So, after nearly a week, I am sharing it here. Not to get the “well dones” that my Mum, or Roger would have provided, just to share that this is one of the consequences of being betrayed, and your love being wrenched from you.

So, here I am, yelling to the blogosphere



Hmmm, how long is it to meh?

I am totally stealing a link from one of my favourite betrayed’s blogs today. It has been circulating and fermenting in my brain as I struggle to eek out a (revolting!) essay that has gone totally off-piste! CrazyKat of trynottocryonmyrainbow posted this link to the BEST DAMN ARTICLE on friendship and its demise after someone has suffered such ultimate betrayal. I was very choked up reading it, and most unlike me, I read it again. (Thank you Kat.)

It’s amazing! It says everything I have thought, felt and wanted to punch the whore for – at least in the past couple of years. My losses are real, and a shrink validated what I have observed, and worse, felt down to my very core. Great Betrayals indeed. (Bah, can’t get the link to embed – pasting here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/great-betrayals.html?pagewanted=all&_r=5&.

The interesting thing for me is this. Roger thinks he wants “us” to survive. He is hanging in there until the very last breath. I have asked him to list the farm for sale this September, so we can get some closure, and split some assets, so I can move away. He is lovely, he is thoughtful, he is understanding (I thought.) I decided to open up to him a little. My walls have been high, water-tight for a long time, since I knew I needed to end this agony of trying to forgive enough to move forward with him, it just wasn’t happening, I was too damaged. But, I read the article to him. He was silent. He stayed silent. Over a day later (and we have both been at home all weekend, without kids) he decided I was angry with him. I wasn’t. I just thought he had the emotional intelligence of a gnat. Probably more sheer disappointment. So he asked me if I was angry at him about something. I said, “no, not angry at all.” He replied with, “it seems like you are.” I looked at him, and said “what would I have to be angry at you about?” His reply? “Is it about the article you read out to me?” (See, he knew!)  I said that it didn’t really matter too much, I don’t really share much anymore, so …. whatever. But the truth of it is, he didn’t care. And he knows it. He has made all the right noises about caring, about trying to understand me, and how catastrophic this has been one me, and my struggle to understand why (after all, two people were having sex for a while, meh!)

But I am severely damaged. I have had little recovery, and it FUCKING PISSES ME OFF! I thought I was better than this, stronger than this. I didn’t need validation from a man, or society for anything. But this has ruined my life – and that is no bloody exaggeration, and it PISSES ME OFF. I don’t WANT it to have ruined my life! Leanne (and Roger) robbed me of all of my emotional strength, resilience and my worldview. Not to mention my friendships, and my joy. The injustice is obvious, but why does it still hurt so damn much?

So, I read something that makes me feel understood, by some woman I will never meet, and I ponder my world now. No real people other than my children, two of whom live in different parts of the country, and one who will fly away from me come September. I would have loved for just one of my friends to have understood. But, it is what it is, and I have to learn to live around that pile of shit, thanks ACT.



In the context of support for those of us who find our worlds imploding, I think I won the Shittest Friends in the World Olympics. Feel free to contest this if you feel I have wrested your title off you!

When D-day went down, as I have shared before, I drove out to my best friend’s house the following morning, in shock, knowing this had really happened, but wondering what the hell to do next, I still loved this wanker! Who could hold me up as I bore the brunt of the weight of what the only man I had ever fully trusted enough to totally, without reservation or filter, love, had done to us. This mate and I go right back to middle school, and she was my bestest friend in the world. I had a cup of tea with her, and then asked her if I could go for a walk with her down their farm. And then I told her what they did, my love and our old school friend. She gasped and shook her head, “no, no, not TOIL, no, no, you guys were so in love after all these decades, no.”

But then as I told what I knew (which was quite a lot of the full story, we had sat up all night and he had answered every question I posed, with the exception of when it started, which he said he was unsure of) it dawned on her that it was indeed true, and this lovely man that she adored and respected, had indeed been fucking our friend. For a long time. I think she seemed almost as devastated as I feel now – I might have still been in shock. Then she started telling me that there was no way that she would have “let her husband spend the kind of time talking to Leanne that I did.” Mmmmm, no surprises there, blame the betrayed for not being the marriage police, and yeah, comparing my previously very honest and trustworthy partner with her strip club, brothel creeping husband. But he hasn’t been caught out yet by her.

For a year, she was my main support, and I do appreciate that she cared, and was there for me to vent to. But with hindsight, I know that telling her was where the whole town knowing came from – the old story, you tell a secret to one person and it is no longer a secret. The town started to judge me. “Wow, Paula, she must be a real bitch/a slack fuck/a real slob/insert insult-of-your-choice here for TOIL to cheat, he’s such a great guy.” The story roared around town like wildfire, “Stupid Paula, look how stupid she was, he was FUCKING her friend in her house and on her farm, what a total numbskull she must be, we could all see this.” I asked a thousand people if they knew, but they all denied it, but many said they did notice his relationship with his ex was close, and two and two were computed after the fact! The problem for me was that he was always like this with women, and it NEVER bothered me. We trusted each other, and friends are to be encouraged, right? (Of course, in the light of what he did with this skank, I revisited every close female friendship he had had for the past twenty-one years!)

But when I eventually decided that friend fatigue would set in – if it wasn’t already – after a year, I withdrew any comments or discussion about how appalling I felt. I didn’t want to be pitiful Paula anymore. I still was inside, but my public persona had to change. I managed with this facade quite well for another year, still dying inside, and feeling very alone, but trying to show that I was strong, and I would recover somehow from this absolutely cataclysmic event. I told J. I said it was not up for constant discussion anymore. About this time, she kept pumping me, telling me I should be healing and better by now, urging me to “not be sad.” But, I couldn’t switch it off, I just didn’t think sharing any of my pain was helpful, it was just keeping my head under water. I found out that all of my innermost thoughts that I shared with J were shared with everyone else. As I looked at my circle of friends, I realised that I had become the source of gossip, innuendo, and a fair bit of defamation.

So I decided I needed better friends.

The problem is that without exception, every single person I have tried to connect with since all of this to forge a new friendship with, has turned out to be suffering from betrayal also! I mean, is this reverse Midas Touch?

I looked at myself, and wondered why I have turned into a shit magnet. Am I/was I attracting this subconsciously? I don’t know the answer to that, I can’t see how I am, but it seems too much for coincidence.

The only real support I have had during this most arduous climb of my life has been a woman I met online a few years ago now (thanks lonelywife xxx) whose husband had an EA, his second of their almost three decade long marriage. She is completely different to me in so many ways, and so similar in so many others. She is American, southern, Christian, a stay at home mom, the owner of a set of right wing political views, I am a Kiwi, northern, an agnostic, employed/student, with liberal political leanings. But she loves hard and true, and she is passionate, and caring, with deep empathy. She is a problem solver, she doesn’t sit and accept stuff, she gets off her arse and strives for improvement. I am deeply thankful for her friendship every day.


Yes, there is a but.

I don’t have anyone in real life to be a friend. I never told my family, as they would be of no help. And I miss my Mum. She would have been amazing.

Last week, her best mate, a gay man (heck, you would think my Mum only knew gay men, but actually, other than Dad and Philip – and Philip’s long term partner M, whom he is no longer with, but they raised Philip’s three awesome kids together when their alcoholic mother died suddenly when they were very small, and they remain close and co-parents/grandparents to Philip’s brood – no, there were no other gay men in her life really.) Philip now works in a nearby town. He is an antique dealer, and he texted me to let me know that he had a pretty tea set for my eldest daughter, he’s been looking for the right one for her 21st which was last March. So I went to pick it up on my way home from uni, and sat with him on Tuesday afternoon, and he asked me how I was. TOIL shared with Philip what he had done to us some time back. I was very surprised at the time when TOIL told me he had blurted it all out. Philip came to visit us when he moved nearby, and TOIL took him for a farm tour. They talked. TOIL shared the whole sordid story, telling Philip that he was so gutted about the damage he had caused due to his selfishness and lack of appreciation for all I have done for him these 26 years.

That was about a year or so ago. I can’t remember, could be longer. Philip asked me if I was okay. I told him no, but that neither one of us could undo what happened, and we had had shitloads of counselling, to no avail.

So, on Tuesday, he asked me again. I just said, still no. I sent him a text that night saying that one day I will talk to him about “us” but that I couldn’t do that in the shop, as I know I will lose it. I have really needed a parental figure. I have borne this pain alone for so long, and the load is so damn heavy. I know he will be awesome when I eventually find a time a place to talk to him. He cares so much, and sent me a text back that he was sending his mate’s girl a big hug, and that I could always talk if I wanted to, but that he understood why I haven’t so far, and it was none of his business if I wanted privacy. It’s not that, I just don’t know how anyone CAN help other than the old load shared. But sharing the load didn’t help before, because ultimately, it doesn’t lighten anything, it doesn’t change how you feel, it doesn’t stick the pieces of your shattered heart back into the pristine condition it once was.

TOIL and I talked late into the night last night. I seem to go okay for longer and longer periods of time – not good, just good at hiding my pain, at holding it inside, close to me – but I still seem to come to the end of my rope inevitably at some stage. This happened yesterday. I was in agony. So we talked. One of the things we talked about was my frustration at my lack of progress, that I hear of so many people who are with selfish and disordered people, and walking away seems a little easier then. I can’t imagine trying to deal with one of those, I know I would have walked immediately, and kept my distance. But TOIL is not like that, and that is hard. He is truly remorseful, he has worked hard to make me feel safer and loved. He was immediately fully transparent and doesn’t tell so much as a white lie anymore. But I can’t seem to climb that mountain. It pisses me off. I mean, for 21 years (or so I thought – make it 20) I adored this man, he was truly lovely. We were truly fantastic. We had such a lot of fun, and backed each other all the way. It was fucking perfect! Then he had this fucked up thing for fifteen months. Then he came back. The good guy won the internal battle he was fighting. But I can’t seem to find my way back to any kind of equilibrium. I know I don’t owe him reconciliation, but I also don’t want to ever let anyone get close to me again, and I am left with serious sexual dysfunction. I am so sexually frustrated, but can’t seem to get any relief, self or otherwise, which is just bizarre! He discussed how he felt that when I am on my own properly that I will heal.

But I don’t.

I have been on my own, and the pain never lessens, it actually intensifies, because I still mourn the loss of my “soulmate” – whatever the fuck that is anymore. I seem to have serious trouble changing my thinking. I know if I concentrate REALLY hard, I can change it, but it never sticks, it never takes root, it is always fleeting and very temporary. So then he said, “well, why do you think you can’t love me again? I am the same person, but a better version, that I was BEFORE I fucked up, I know so much more, and I am far more in touch with you and I.” I explained it as being a bit like a Big Bang. The discovery of cheating, long term, in-my-face, dirty-no-protection cheating blew up my world. It changed it so badly. And I haven’t had another Big Bang to shift it again. Yes, I can see he is a better person. I can see how genuine, how authentic he is to himself, how humble, and how ……. self sacrificing(?) he has become. But there hasn’t been a matching shift in my feelings for him. The unending love that I felt we had – ended. For some fucked up reason, I can’t seem to picture growing old and being so in love with this guy, and he is a great guy (but my mind says, yeah right – he fucked your friend in your beds, under your nose, and gave you cervical cancer, GREAT guy alright.)

And it is all so fucking pointless. I just wish I could leave it alone. I want my mind to be a serene and quiet space. I have tried hypnotherapy and meditation. Nope. No help. I have no fucking control over my thoughts! Who can’t think properly? Who can’t, after all this time, just cull the shit? Me. I can’t. I am torn. The tear just keeps ripping at the edges.


Loss, in a different form

We lost a friend to leukemia yesterday.  A “real” loss.  Not the loss I have experienced these past four years and three hundred and sixty-three days.  A real person.  A real wife.  A real mother.  A real friend. A real daughter.  A real sister.  

My friend was just 44 years old and had a fabulous life, blessed almost.  She was a mother to three children, 12, 10 and 7 years old. She fought the proverbial good fight.  She ultimately lost.  Just as many have, and many will.  She’s not the first I have lost, and she won’t be the last. She was in LA, with all of her family, giving the kids a memorable trip, trying in a last ditch attempt to stabilise herself long enough to receive a bone marrow transplant with a new wonder drug. This time last year we visited with her and we were told doctors were amazed at her response, her husband and her wanted us to all believe she was winning. Now, her young husband and children are bringing her home, and should be landing right about now.  Back home to Aotearoa, back home to her close and loving family.  

We have so many memories of her, so much fun.  As young parents, before she and her husband met, then when they were newly weds, up until we left the district, they were people we spent a lot of quality time with. We drank loads of red wine, ate loads of fabulous food, and laughed until our sides split.  We knew she was in trouble, and that she might not make it home, but it still hit me hard.  See, I went to high school with this girl, then we stayed in touch and drifted back together years later.  I sat in my car and wept in the university car park yesterday when I received the news.  You see, every day I go to uni, I think of her.  She attended the university I am now attending, and I did some part time papers at the same uni in her final year, I drive past the house she lived in, we had coffee from time to time back then.  I think of her fight to stay with her kids every day since I re-enrolled last year.  I will miss her joie de vivre, and as so many have before me, wonder why I can’t recapture my own, why she had to go, and yet. here I struggle along. Not to mention that her mother is also in a dire state, also dying of cancer, not long for this world. 

Just needed to share that.



No.  This is not going to be a “Not Just Friends” rant.  Of course, it is a good book.  Especially if you somehow missed the memo in life about boundaries, but I digress!

I had a lovely life, good income, great kids, enjoyed my lifestyle, worked hard, connected with my environment, worked with animals and the land, possessed a finely tuned social conscience (a chequebook liberal, I guess 😉 .)  But, the icing on the cake way back then was, I had LOVELY friends.  I am not close with my family.  My darling Mum died thirteen years ago.  My Dad is a depressed life-sucking leech really, I mean, I spent time with him, he is my father, and I care about him, but his outlook is none too sunny, so best avoided unless you need some balancing out after partying on ecstasy for a week.  My sister has lived in another country since I was ten years old.  One of my younger brothers, who I don’t have a lot in common with – and who frankly is a pompous, entitled arsehole – lives in London. My youngest brother lives at the other end of the country, we get on really well, but don’t see each other, so our contact is through social media.  But I had GREAT friends.  So, when bad things happen, you have them, right?  I had supported one in particular. My best friend in the world, whom I’ve known since I was ten and she was eleven years old, had been through some tough stuff.  She suffered some mental health turmoil years ago, I was there for her, when she couldn’t leave the house with anxiety.  She came to the same uni as me in our second year, and we flatted together.  We told each other our deepest, darkest secrets, we drank a lot of wine together.  I was excited when her five babies came into the world.  She was the sister I never really had (mine is lovely, but we were never close, a large age gap, she was adopted into our family as young teen when we were babies and toddlers, and lives in Perth, Western Australia.) My friend, is the fourth of eight Irish Catholic children.  Her Mum was my second one, and mine was hers.  I love her siblings like they are my own, so much fun! Her Mum died about two years before mine did, and she also lost her dad a few years later, we were already close, but bonded in grief, and forged by shared experience.  She was the best. But there were others, we had a neat little network of people that we were very social with.  

When D-day hit, and the next morning dawned, I drove to her house.  It was a Sunday morning, and I asked her if we could go for a walk together.  I told her.  I didn’t think I would tell anyone, we were going to stay together, how embarrassing if anyone KNEW!  But, it poured out of me, like it would have to my mother if she had still been alive.  She held me and shook her head in disbelief.  “Not Norm (his nickname around town.)  NO!  NO!  Not Norm. Oh, SHIT!  Are you okay?  What can I do, do you need somewhere to stay?”  In short, she was supportive and pissed off at Rog, but understanding of my reasons for staying – for now – and giving it another shot.  She repeated that we were the LAST couple she thought this would happen to, we were so “in love” so real, so connected.  She liked Rog.  We were the longest together of anyone we socialised with, by at least a decade. 

That was nice.  I needed that.  

It didn’t last.  All of my “lovely friends” are no longer.  I do not have anything to do with any of them. I am a leper, and it might be contagious.  I think I lost some kind of “social standing” by “allowing” my man to cheat!!!  Yes, you heard right, they judge ME for what HE did.  It hurt.  It still hurts a little, but not so much anymore.  I am disappointed that this part of my life was also a lie, but I know they were not friends. True friends do not behave in such a callous manner.  

Last night, we had a RARE invite to someone who was close to that circle’s 50th birthday party.  This couple both cheated on their spouses to “be together” – and that in itself is hard to take.  It was many years ago now, but I remember.  So, I very reluctantly got myself dressed to the nines, in spike heels I could barely walk in – and I wear high, high heels all the time – looking a million bucks, and went along.  I lasted half an hour.  I hated it.  I hated the superficiality of the party (hey, I used to LOVE to party, who is this person who lives in my body now?) So, I tiptoed out the door, quietly, without telling anyone, and went and lay down, trying to sleep, in the back of the car for  nearly four hours.  It was bloody freezing!  Roger eventually appeared and asked where I had been, was I okay (it was a large party, he just thought I was in another room, until he went looking for me.)  I don’t want anything to do with any of them anymore. It’s hard, I have tried, this past five years, to hold my head up, and to move forward.  But, I don’t really like these people.  It has dawned on me that they are getting more and more privileged, more and more self-centred (says the woman who has her own blog – about ME – LOL.) They are vacuous, and it’s not even their fault.  Most of them haven’t had to deal with a big life event yet. Yes, there were two cancer survivors there, that I did enjoy talking to, and my cousin, who has a different take on things, and it was good to see him. But mostly, I don’t want to have to try to make small talk, look interested and pretend my life is okay anymore.  I resigned my membership to that club a while back, and re-entering the doors made me realise that I had made the right decision, I don’t miss any of it.  I got a few up and down looks that night, I saw those women give me the once over, like I was something smelly that they hadn’t managed to wipe off the bottom of their shoes.

And, that is finally okay.