Demons, Death & Double Standards: “What a Slut…”

I ask your pardon for including the word “slut” in the title. I dislike the connotations and one sided power the word carries. I imagine the word as a broken woman, dragging her dirtied feet through this patriarchal world, a shamed prostitute surrounded by self-righteous rock throwers. A man I knew died recently and, as I learned, wasn’t married to whom I (and everyone else) assumed was his spouse. The news startled me, but I knew it wasn’t my business. I instead chose to help as I was able with the memorial arrangements. I overhead the following conversation happen the day of the funeral:

“And what was with “their companion” written in the obituary…? What, they weren’t married? …What a slut…”

Ecstatic giggling followed the speaker’s judgement. I couldn’t see the group listening, but could hear parts of the conversation. I imagined the speaker’s tongue like a snake’s, split and elegant, licking the air in glee as she laughed. The group murmured some type of consensual agreement I couldn’t quite decipher. The conversation moved onto other matters, sliding easily to other interests.

I sat in my chair, shocked, my brain numbly processing what I heard. I began wondering if I was honestly in the presence of a demon.

This moment has been replaying in my mind over and over the past few weeks. The evil that flies out of people’s mouths like wild horses blindsides me often. I struggle, usually in vain, to understand why people behave the way they do—particularly persons of my own gender. I’ve yelled at this person before for her crass, hateful commentaries on people. She’s an insecure person I suspect, a particular kind of poisonous woman who lashes out when least expected. I can only guess how she learned to attack people so well with such finesse. And yes, she doesn’t particularly like me, either.

Writers like myself are eager magpies–we pick up the interesting objects and attributes of humans, boil them down in our pots, and write books on our findings. I imagine this woman will influence a character or two in my future novels, or at least some wry dialogue. I know I’ll sigh and frown as I write it, but will write it nonetheless. I endeavor to write life as it is, but to “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” as Emily Dickinson advised.

And I can’t imagine the character surviving past chapter three anyway…

Author: Peregrine Arc

INTJ female writer setting out to become a published author of contemporary literature. Writing includes horror/mystery, young adult fantasy and science fiction. All opinions, mistakes and dog hair are my own. Thank you for joining me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s