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So I Went To This Party...

I've a fabulous girlfriend who lives in the next town. We've known each other about ten years: went through first-degree black belt training and testing together, went through the loss of husbands together, and have watched each other's kids grow up. We can't get together often because our schedules rarely coincide. But her oldest daughter just graduated high school, so I made time to visit the graduation party yesterday.

While there, I met the usual couples who wanted to chat about their gardens, the weather, the superficial meaning of the latest sensational news story, the terribleness of their children.* Then my friend introduced me to another single woman, a woman she's worked with for years. In making small talk, I tossed out the fact I'd recently attended a feminist SFF conference. (Truly, if I want to suss out a potential conversation partner, putting "feminist" and "SFF" in the same sentence is an excellent guide.)

Then, for the two of us, the rest of the party disappeared for about half an hour. Within five minutes, the other folks at the table moved on to other conversations. The SFF part didn't interest this woman much beyond the basics, but feminist! In a small town in Indiana!

We talked about our mutual desire to remain single, and our shared wish for the occasional fling in an exotic location. We talked about raising children as a single mother who wants to raise forward-thinking adults who will find their own lives rather than children who follow the path we command. We shared our post-parenting plans, our uncommon (for this area) spiritual beliefs, and our endless attempts to find people like ourselves. Then we talked about alternate sexuality, inclusive relationships, and how we both love to have a community of strong and interesting women to learn from.

And when I had to leave, I stood up from the table and for the first time noticed the woman who must have been sitting right behind me the whole time. The look of shock and horror on her face was... absolutely amazing. I admit, I giggled. I have no idea who she was. But it was such a perfectly-timed demonstration of everything the other woman and I had discussed as stifling, that I couldn't help laughing all the way to my car.

And the friend who'd invited me to the party? She was not at all surprised we'd hit it off.

So I have a new social connection, and the day ended up being not so bad after all!

*I am mightily sick of parents who brag about their children's external accomplishments (Academic awards! Sports trophies! Perfect attendance!) then bitch about what horrid people they are (No gratitude! Never talks to us! Lazy!). It's the encapsulation of everything I hate about how I see so many children raised and educated.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 8th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
Parents with the teenagers who are supposedly horrid people: ARRRRGH HATE THIS. You know what I hate most? When I praise something specific their kid did and they cannot accept the compliment and move on. Real life example: "I had [person's stepdaughter] K over doing yard work for me [for money] on Wednesday, and she did such a great job! I was so glad to have her!" Stepmom: "Geez, I wish she'd work hard on anything at OUR house." Now, granted, I get that money is a different motivator than family chores and I might well have been seeing a different side of K than her stepmom gets. But once you are somebody's parent--and yes, steps count--I really think that your job is to smile and say thank you in public when someone compliments the kid, unless you have some reason to think that the person giving the compliment has been deceived, and in some cases even then.

And geez, if that's how stepmom acts, no wonder she sees a sullen and unwilling K!
Jun. 9th, 2014 01:01 am (UTC)
Eep, yes.

Grauwulf had an experience with a truly terrible not-actually-renter who on the final walk-through when he kicked her out of the house went off on a tangent about how some of the damage was the fault of her teenage daughter and she "would have strangled that b---- at birth" if she had known how much trouble the girl would cause her. Which is not exactly what you say to the proud parent of a 5-month-old, even if for some reason you feel it's appropriate to say it ever at all.

Huzzah for meeting other people with sensible parenting theories. :)
Jun. 9th, 2014 01:14 am (UTC)
Anyone who will talk about her teenager that way is at least the partial cause of the teenager's behavior. SERIOUSLY.
Jun. 9th, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC)
Gah!! I'm always shocked to learn there are actually real people who say such things about children.
Jun. 10th, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC)
Given that the woman was being evicted for not actually paying any rent in the six months she'd been there, this was about par for the course. She was one long string of things one would like not to believe a real person would do.
Jun. 11th, 2014 05:04 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of a wedding I attended some years ago, the one where the bride seemed married to the word, "fuck." I've never before or since heard anyone say, "Shut the fuck up" at the altar. 0.0

Jun. 11th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
Um, wow. That doesn't sound like a particularly good omen.
Jun. 12th, 2014 02:51 am (UTC)
That one day explained completely why my late husband had avoided his birth family for the twenty years before I met him.

We pretty much avoided after that, too.
Jun. 9th, 2014 12:29 pm (UTC)
Exactly this. There is NO REASON to routinely shame your child by constantly airing their character flaws (real or imagined). It is a marvelous way to raise a teenager who seek support and advice from peers rather than parents/adults, and create an adult who is constantly insecure about abilities and relationships.
Jun. 8th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
Glad you found a friend.

And who knows, maybe the other woman listened because she was curious, and curiosity can lead to experiencing other views . . .
Jun. 9th, 2014 12:36 pm (UTC)
I think she experienced other views, and was certainly curious... But she wore the extreme expression of unguarded shock above crossed arms and crossed legs. I admit I'm curious to talk with my friend to find out if anything was said after we left. :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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