When women attack.Posted: October 21, 2011
I’m staying with friends before I leave the US at the end of the year. They’re a lovely – older – couple who I met five years ago and have become some of my closest friends here.
They’re like my American parents. If my parents were warm and generous, fervently political vegetarians.
I’m here in the spare room for a little while, and this week I’m cat-sitting as they’re both away, so it’s working out for everyone. You’d think.
The Woman took me to one side earlier this week and said, ‘Will you feel comfortable here alone with Man while I’m gone.’
She has another trip at the beginning December sometime which means I’ll be here alone with her husband.
I hadn’t even given it a thought as to why I wouldn’t be and said, ‘Yes, of course’…while the wheels in my brain turned and a large element of ‘What’s this all about?’ began to creep in.
Turns out her Cousin (female) had called to ‘warn’ her that she shouldn’t go away and leave me with Husband in case ‘something happened’ between the two of us.
Cue slack-jawed Spinny. Uncomfortable Spinny. Embarrassed Spinny. And later, Angry Spinny.
I sorted of stuttered. ‘Are you kidding me, why would she say that?’
Transpires her husband of Cousin had run off with a younger friend of hers. And now here she was projecting her crap onto us.
I was horrified but the damage was done.
My friend was laughing about it and trying to keep the tone light but I could see the doubt behind her eyes. Especially when she added at the end ‘Well, you know I’ve been a married three times, so…’
‘So’, what? What did she mean by that? Had she stolen Man from someone else? What was I in the middle of here?
I told her I would be out by the time she left for the East Coast. There’s no way I’m putting myself in a situation that I consider ‘unsafe’ and fraught with so many story-lines and subtext.
I was furious and upset, and left the house to exercise staying out long enough so that I’d miss them before they left for dinner that evening.
This is a single-women’s cross to bear. I get it. I stopped going to dinner parties alone years ago because I’d be so entertaining and cast in the ‘single woman’ role that men would love talking to me, while their partners would silently seethe. I found myself on high alert for what could possibly be construed as flirtatious behaviour. It was exhausting and frankly, not worth the free food. I always went home alone and usually upset because I could never understand why I was alone when I seemed a far better catch than their silent, angry partners. I was given many come-ons and phone numbers and never acted on any of them. I’m simply not interested in another women’s man. Am I so unusual?
My mind raced as I ran.
If I was so good at seducing men, I wouldn’t be in friend’s spare room, would I? I’d be shacked up at some bloke’s house. Why wait til 43 when my entire body is falling apart to steal another woman’s man? I would have been on that years ago and had me a lovely time with all those unfaithful fools.
I think that her Cousin was a total bitch for putting that in her head. These people, as I say, are like my parents. The thought sickens me.
Life is so uncertain right now, I do not need another drama raging in the background. I thought I was in a safe place until this unhappy woman – this cousin – decided to attack.
She was hurt so she took a few swings at me. Woman a woman. Taking a kind offer of help and turning it into something sordid.
I was bruised by the entire exchange, and suddenly very uncomfortable in this one-time sanctuary.
Thanks lady. Sorry your guy broke your heart but we’re not all man-stealers.
How about some solidarity.
What’s that? You can’t hear me over your rage?
Spinny out (literally, by the end of the month).