I had a friend way back in my University years who would, instead of saying, “Take care,” would say, “Take a chance!” I liked that attitude she had in life because it was much more adventurous than your run of the mill type of personality. What I discovered, however, is that, while she would encourage others to take a chance, she would also then judge them if the chances they took were not to her liking. Case in point: Two months after my first wife and I split up I was going through a journey of self-discovery. I decided that I was way too conventional in my approach to life. Yes, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, this Bohemian used to be the button down collar type! Suffice it to say, the button down collars were put to the back of the closet and the fish net T-shirts were brought out for night clubbing. And yes, at that time in my life, I could actually pull off that look, which would cause some of the women at the club to want to pull off that shirt.
So the next morning, after one of these nights out, and at the tail end of a one night stand, at the ungodly hour of 9:30 in the morning, my phone rings. This was back before everyone and their dog had a cell phone. I had 2 phones, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom, beside the bed. My one night stand was on the side of the bed that the phone was on, so she picked up the receiver and handed it to me across the bed. Being the polite sort that I am, I said, “Thank you,” to her, and then said, “Hello?” into the phone. My friend who always encouraged me to “take a chance” heard that on the other end of the phone. Instead of saying “hello” she asked, “Who is with you?” Being single, I really did not think that it was any of her business whatsoever, but decided that if she were to know this, I should probably know as well, so I turned to the one night stand and asked, “Um….what is your name again?” One night stand laughed and said, “Rachel.” So I answered my friend, “She says her name is Rachel.”
Then the third degree began. It went something like this:
Friend (to be further indicated with just “F”): Who is Rachel?
Me: I am not exactly sure.
F: Where did you meet her?
Me: At the club.
F: How long have you known her?
Me: What time is it?
F: 9:30 in the morning.
Me: Which morning?
F: SUNDAY MORNING
Me: So…that would make it, if my math is correct, about 6 1/2 to 7 hours.
Me: What is wrong with you?
F: You actually had a one night stand?
Me: Well, that is what….Rachel? (Rachel nods)…Rachel and I agreed upon.
F: How could you do that?
Me: Do what?
*At this point in time, Rachel gets out of bed, puts her clothes on, gives me a kiss and leaves (good girl! You remembered the agreement!)
F: How could you just throw yourself at some stranger like that?
Me: Well, one of us had to. It was getting pretty heated on the dance floor and I really don’t think that the rest of the club needed to see what was coming next, although I do believe they all got a pretty good idea because, let me tell you, Rachel has some moves on her that would ignite a fireman’s hose…
F: STOP IT!
Me: Stop what? You were the one who asked the question.
F: Just stop it. You are not the person I thought you were.
Me: And who did you think I was?
F: Decent. I thought you were DECENT!
Me: I AM decent. I just also happen to be naked and got lucky last night. Has your back never had an itch that you could not quite reach?
Me: It is very similar. And when you have an itch you should scratch it, and if you can’t really reach that yourself, you should ask a friend to scratch it for you…
F: She was not a friend! She was a stranger.
Me: Well, although she may have been a little stranger than most, she was definitely friendly…
F: Where on earth did you get the idea that something like this is acceptable?
Me: From you, of course.
Me: Yes, from you. You are the one who is always telling me to take a chance, so I did, and let me tell you, the results were quite spectacular!
F: You completely misinterpreted my words.
Me: No, I don’t think so. You are the one who completely put unspoken conditions upon your words and expected me, and likely others as well, to subliminally understand those unspoken conditions.
*Frankly, at this point, I was actually quite impressed with my ability to, having just woken up from a one night stand, be able to have this in depth a conversation with anyone and be that eloquent about it…before I even had COFFEE!
It was not long before we decided to end this ridiculous conversation and meet up for coffee later that day, during which she then decided to berate me with more reasons why my behavior was atrocious. I laughed at her antics. Then I said that it was obvious that she had been harboring some unrequited feelings for me that she was unwilling to address otherwise this entire thing would mean jack shit to her. With that she stomped off. Our friendship was never the same after that. But there were a few things that I took from this experience that were gems…well, besides a new found appreciation for my early morning pre-caffeinated wit:
- If I wanted to be guilt tripped about my choices in life, I had a mother that I could always count on for that.
- Who I choose to sleep with is nobody’s business other than the person with whom I am sleeping.
- Boundaries are a very good thing in any friendship.
- Honesty regarding one’s feelings in a friendship is really important. When we are clear about where it is we are coming from, then the friendship can grow. If we are dishonest with ourselves or the other person, it is doomed to fail.
- When a person is on an airplane and they go through the protocols of survival in the “unlikely event of a disaster” they always tell parents to put their own air mask on first and THEN put the air masks onto their children’s faces. There is a reason for that. In life in general, if we do not take care of ourselves then we are ill equipped to take care of others in any significant or balanced way.
- Taking care of yourself also means taking care of your sexual needs. Whether that is with another person or a solitary act is nobody’s business other than your own, especially when you are young and single and don’t have to answer to anyone else. And 6.a. you never have to feel embarrassed about anyone in your history that you have slept with. That was then, this is now.
- It is not up to us how another person chooses to put your words into actions of their own. That is their business. There have been so many times that I have given out excellent advice or inspirational thoughts to another, only to have them interpret those words completely differently than what the intent was. Who am I to judge this? That is their interpretation. Much like different people reading the same book or watching the same movie or listening to the same song can interpret its meaning differently than everyone else, this can happen with the spoken word. Each person is responsible for how they interpret. And to think that we can dictate how the interpretation MUST be is totally of ego.
Although our friendship did not last that long, I did appreciate it for what it was. This friend was also the most hilarious person I have ever met. You know those door knob conversations one has when someone is “leaving,” with their hand on the doorknob, but not actually opening the door for another hour, and in the meantime you and said person are laughing your fool heads off? That was what our friendship was like. It was precious. She was also the type of friend who would show up out of nowhere with a cake and tell you that she baked it and could not possibly eat that much cake or she would gain weight…and then pull out two forks and hand you one of them. Come to think of it, this may have been the beginning of my journey into diabetes! Nonetheless, she was awesome. I don’t imagine that she appreciates what I was bringing to the table in our friendship. But that is her business, not mine.