I’ve never been very good at female friendships. Never. I say what’s on my mind. My humor is twisted and sarcastic. Sometimes I just don’t get other women. As far at female relationships go, I’m pretty bad at being a girl.

I don’t typically like to ask for favors like, “Hey, So and So, can you give my kid a ride to school today because my other kid’s leg is hanging off and I need to get in an ambulance now.” No, I’m more likely to call the school and tell them the non-maimed child won’t be making it to class today. It’s much easier than running the risk of putting someone out to ask for help.

I am aloof. I am aloof because I spent my formative years living on a 200-acre farm with no neighborhood children to play with. I am aloof because I was born this way. I was born with a tumor on my eye and looked pretty weird as a little kid. I was a target for questions, stares and nasty little girls. As an adult, a simple eye-roll, dismissive gesture or turned back brings those little girls right back into play.

I’m kind of a loner. I don’t like talking on the phone. I rarely think about texting other people. I don’t like to gossip and I’m pretty bad at small talk. I tend to seek friendships that are real, deep and lasting. People who don’t mind if I forget to call or text.

These traits don’t mean I’m unfriendly or bitchy or that I don’t like you. I don’t decline invitations because I want to. It’s because I have three children and, sometimes I can’t be in three places at once.

Sometimes I write on a stupid blog. Mostly, I write what I hope will be a not-so-stupid book. A book about a little girl and a ghost and some sad memories of bitchy little girls and a whole lot of loneliness.

Not one of the qualities I’ve mentioned is conducive to building new friendships or getting invited to join the PTO.

At my last residency, I was slightly shocked and surprised when another woman asked me to come help her pick an outfit out for her reading. Shocked and surprised that another woman thought I was “normal” enough to do such a thing! On some level, I know how dudes must feel when wives and girlfriends start grilling them for opinions. I was honored but found myself waiting for her to realize that she’d asked for help from a woman who’s really bad at being a woman.

Here, in my every day life, I’m sure there are mommies who think I’m snobby. That I’m brushing them off. They might believe that I actually enjoy saying, “Sorry, but I can’t make it,” and that I never feel guilty about it. And that’s my problem I guess, because I’m the one who chose to follow a dream. Maybe, on some level I am a failure as a mother and as a woman. One who has chosen to pursue a master’s degree while her children need her to do things like bake cookies and plan birthday parties and playdates and sell wrapping paper. Maybe some of those women are right and I should have waited to get my degree.

Maybe. But I don’t think so. Maybe I’m just bad at being a girl.





Scarlet Letters

Back in high school, I never really associated myself with one particular clique. I successfully maneuvered through a few and chose to steer clear of the girls with mean streaks. On more than one occasion, I risked my own life social standing and stood up for girl who was being bullied or turned into a social pariah. Maybe it’s the Libra in me, but I just can’t stop myself from fighting for fairness.

For some silly reason, as a teenager I thought we’d all eventually outgrow those bouts of bitchiness. Maybe it was just blind hope that led me to think people automatically turned nice when they were done growing up. Somewhere along the line, I was misled. I’m disappointed to report that there are vast amounts of adult women who have failed.

That’s right. In fact, if I could legally walk around with a giant rubber stamp and a red ink pad slapping a big red “F” on foreheads of all perpetrators, I would. I’d mark them all with their very own scarlet letter to alert the world that they have failed to evolve. Unfortunately, assault with a rubber stamp is against the law and most people can spot these stunted gals from a mile away anyway.

So, I even though I was way off the mark back when I believed girls grew into women capable of being kind/forgiving/tolerant/aware/supportive of one another, I can only assume that, like me, the world is filled with people who thought adulthood changed things. You know, the idiots who believed in some sort of mass evolution or future utopian existence…  Well, fellow dreamers, while there are oodles of nice ladies out there, apparently there is also a large contingent of female humans crippled by their inability to do the following:

1.  Make eye-contact and say hello to the women they see every day.

It’s not hard. Just move your eyeballs toward the person in front of you, tell your brain to form the word “hello” and then make your mouth move. If “hello” doesn’t work for you, here are several variations of salutations that might fit the bill:  good morning, good afternoon, howdy, what’s up? hi, how are you? or perhaps a simple and non-committal, hey. Because that’s better than nothing.

2.  Avoid gossip.

Especially when the persons with whom you are gossiping are too daft to keep the source of the gossip (you) close to the vest. It’s simple really…save the gossip for your husband or the family dog. They don’t really care about what’s happening at the PTA meeting/playground/gym, so your petty gossip won’t come back to bite you in the ass later.

Maybe now is also a good time to propose that women should refrain from forming pitchfork carrying mobs intent on annihilating the women who don’t fit their agenda or who, for some reason pose a threat.

Might I suggest that if you’re feeling the need to incite the masses, there are well-trained men and women who can be hired to psycho-analyze this disturbing behavior right out of your brain. I know, crazy…right? And it’s conveniently covered by most medical insurance, too.

Sadly, the reasons for Queen Bees and their Wannabees don’t seem much different now than they were when I was 15 years old. There are still groups of grown women prepared to attack if they don’t like the way another person talks, dresses, walks, thinks…

It’s depressing to think I’ll have to tell my daughters that the cliques never really go away. There’s always someone vying to be the leader but so few actually carry it off with grace and aplomb.

Playgrounds and play groups and beach outings and car pools…they’re still there. The perfectly coiffed women who married well, the harried working moms trying to stay on schedule, the moms trying to be perfect so their kids will perfect and popular, the former career-girls who now stay at home and apply their expertise to their family, attacking school-related functions with a vengeance.

I’ve tried my best to avoid all of the above, but as mommies, we all inadvertently stumble into a viper pit at some point.

Last summer, as I prepared for my grad school residency, the phone rang. (Here’s the part where I come clean) For a while there, I let unknown local numbers go straight to the answering machine, mostly because I never knew if it was school-related phone call or a mom from one of our schools trying to sell face cream. Anywho…on that day last summer, it was school-related.

The voice of a woman who I’d never met filled my kitchen and informed me that we were five dollars short on our tuition for the year. Okay.

And it was okay, until the tone of her message took a very snooty turn, reiterating twice that our payment should be X amount, as if we were idiots or some sort of pathetic losers whose five dollar shortage was causing the wanton destruction of a perfectly fine establishment.

My active imagination conjured an image of the woman on the other end of the phone. She became a sneering uppity WASP dressed in cashmere twin-set with a fluffy Pomeranian in her lap. I still haven’t met her, but the image sticks and her call seems to have set the tone for the year.

Now, months later, I look back at the years I worked in New York law firms and find myself missing the up-front and honest approach of my male co-workers. As much as I dislike gender stereotypes, I enjoyed working with men who said what they had to say and moved on. No grudges. No backstabbing. No fake smiles. No insecurity-induced sniping.

Boy, do I miss those guys.

Who Knew?

One of the phenomena that seems to occur in the life of a married woman with children is the “party.” You know what I’m talking about…the Tupperware party. Only these days the parties have grown to include clothing, beauty products, food, jewelry and sex toys.

I was once invited to a sex toy party and, in a moment of weakness, I accepted the invitation. I had a toddler and and infant at home, David was working out of state all week long and the party was right up the street at a friend’s house. I figured that a few drinks and some laughs was just what the doctor ordered. Well, I was wrong.

In my defense, the invitation referred to it as a “Romance Party.” My acceptance of the invitation was made under the naive belief that it would be about things like edible underwear and massage oil.

Who knew?

What I know for sure is that I don’t want to know what kind of kinky shit the mother of my son’s classmate is into.

I sat in my friend’s living room looking through the catalog, trying to look calm, cool and collected. If anyone had looked closely, they’d have seen the thin sheen of sweat coating my brow. I hadn’t expected the sex toy party products to be so…so..publicly raunchy!

Alberto Vargas

 I became preoccupied with trying to appear nonchalant. As is usually the case with me when I’m out of my comfort zone, I start cracking jokes and over-sharing, working the crowd and making everyone laugh. Really, all I could think was, what’s the safest, least weird thing I can buy to get the of here with my dignity?

The Passion Consultant started the evening with ‘safe’ things like the love coupons and a dirty dice game but cocktails were consumed and, before I knew what was happening she was talking about the Playful Anal Plug and Triple Tickle Dolphins. She instructed that all orders could be made privately, in a seperate room.

image courtesy Google image search

Listen, I’m all for keeping things spicy. I am, truly I am, but can we please keep the ingredients for our spiciness a bit closer to the vest? I don’t want to know what Sue Jones* from the carpool bought at the sex toy party. Really, I don’t. Unfortunately, after that party I did. This group shared way too much information.

I suddenly knew way too much about Sue Jones. In fact, more than I ever wanted to. I really didn’t know Sue Jones at all except for the fact that she drove a black Toyota Sienna and was now the proud owner of a hot pink vibrator and some massage oil.

Suddenly, small talk at the park became awkward.

For the next few weeks, I was plagued by flashbacks. Instead of seeing Brigit, mother of Matt, she became Anal Beads. Cheri, mother of Aidan became Tongue Tickler. Jill mother of Sara became Trickling Trio Penis Sleeves.

Thankfully, we moved away a few months later. I haven’t stayed in touch.

*All names have been changed to protect actual the actual identities the persons involved, but I don’t know that they’d really care since I am now privy to their kink.