Join in on the fun here. Happy trails.
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.
I hate baby showers. More specifically, I detest being around large groups of women. They smack their lips, gossip, compliment each other on their blouses, their charm bracelets and delicately ask about family affairs while devouring every dripping detail. Surgery stories are swapped, pill brands and doctor’s advice exchanged and everyone secretly ranks themselves against each other. The news gathered up is stored away in their overstuffed purses giving them neck aches and back problems, stalwart, steadfast symbols of their socioeconomic status and success. In the car, they ask their sisters and nieces what they thought of the awful food, the cute decorations and just what the hostess was thinking. I do not exaggerate. Women are subtly, and artfully, vicious. Cue harpies, banshees and the like.
Parties are grand acts and I am the jester, acting the innocent fool and observing it all quietly, hitting up the buffet line for thirds. No wonder Jesus made more wine at the wedding. Maybe it helped him get through it, too.
As an introvert and a writer, I need rest and creative refueling like I require water. Rest for introverts (at least for me) includes digging a hole in my backyard like the Russian saints of yore and camping out with some PB & J sandwiches and Gatorade. Have books, food and video games, will travel (or hunker down in this case). My formula: for every one hour of human interaction, one year of solitude will do. As you can imagine, I’m in the red but hopeful.