*sigh* You know that feeling that someone is never going to get you and yours? Ever. Like when I got into the hot tub at the health club with the woman who said, "Oh, no-- my whole family was so glad when the kids outgrew animated movies. I never have to see another Pixar picture again!"
I knew right then we could never been friends.
Have you ever felt that way about your own family?
Chicken got her birthday cards from both sets of grandparents--and my stepmom already told me about hers. It was one of those social things where I laughed, but inside I was thinking, "Uh… I don't get it."
The card said, "Well, now that you're 21 there's more than one way to get free drinks for your birthday." And then you opened the card and there were two pink balloons taped to the other side. After seeing the picture Chicken sent me, I think--and don't quote me on this--that the implication was either A. That Chicken could stuff them in her bra so she'd have cleavage, or B. That she should practice blowing things for beer.
If anyone has a meme that could quite convey the level of stunned horror that smacked me in the face when she sent me a picture of said card, I would be forever grateful.
"It's better than the one that dissed people with small dogs," she said apologetically. "Because that one was trying to actively slam you, but otherwise…"
"It's horrifying," I said, still flailing.
"God yes," she responded. "So glad it's not just me."
No-- not just her.
At the same dinner, it came about that a younger friend of the family had invited my sister to her "naughty lady party". My stepsister was horrified--because this was like her niece or something and, ew! And I was sort of horrified by the general concept. I don't do naughty lady parties-- I mean, I've been invited to one in my whole life, and the level of discomfort was like… well, think of an extra-large ribbed tampon on a light day.
Yeah. But the mental chafing was worse.
And while I'm pretty frank about sex (obvs) I think there is a really wide, indelible line between talking generalities and then getting specific about your own sex life with a group of people and visual aids. I mean, I can raise my eyebrows and insinuate "sumpn sumpn" all I want, but that doesn't change the fact that nobody actually wants to envision me and Mate doing "anythn anythn" in the flesh, because, uhm, EW. I mean, that's my one hard and fast rule-- I don't write anybody I know in real life having on page sex. (Much to Darrin's disappointment--I know, he told me himself, bless him!)
So given all this, after my sister said, "Yeah, no-- I couldn't go. Just too weird," I concurred, with, "Yeah-- naughty lady parties, just not my thing."
And my stepmom said, "Really? It's not your thing? I find that hard to believe."
-.- And, again, if someone could come up with a meme for this, I'd be much obliged.
Because I think the implication was, because I write porn, I want to share my sex life in explicit detail with friend and stranger alike.
Please don't dissect the many ways that could be offensive. I'm trying to keep my optimism.
But once again, in the situation in which the people who love me longest and best know me the least--and my children as well.
*sigh* I have yet to be able to capture that dynamic on page. People always want a bad guy for those interactions. They always want to say, "racist, sexist, misogynistic, shaming…"
Whatever. The fact is, my parents sent my daughter a birthday card and a gift--how bad could they be? They came to dinner with Mate and I, so we could do birthday week, and they invited my sister when I--being the overcommitted flake that I am-- forgot, and that was really kind. They are genuinely interested in my children--even if they don't understand them.
Love--and understanding and generation gaps and communication--they're all such prickly enterprises. I know my parents get frustrated because my children and I are so close I didn't leave a lot of room for other relatives. I don't know what to tell them-- I know when I was nineteen, I couldn't wait to get out of the house, out on my own (with Mate of course) and into a future where people assumed I was competent and not somehow defective. And now that I have grown children whom I assume are competent and not somehow defective, and with whom I communicate daily, I am baffled that they are not trying to run the fuck away from me much like I ran away from my parents. Mate and I are frequently heard to say, "Really? You want to hang with us? Why on earth… never mind… come on, we're going for ice cream."
Once, my parents wanted a moment of privacy and told us all to leave them alone in a park in the worst neighborhood in downtown Sacramento. It took them ten minutes for the lightbulb to go on and come find us, and by then I'd already seen the flasher show his junk to the drug addict who propositioned me while the homeless guy barfed on the tree. I was thirteen.
Chicken--at 21--texts me when she sees this stuff, so I can assure her that she will only be marginally scarred for life.
Big T saves the story for me, so he can tell it in person.
And I, in turn, try not to insinuate that my children should stuff their bras or their jocks or practice blow jobs to get lucky in bars.
I guess every generation has it's own variations on traditions--and it's own approach to life, right? And if your own parents don't embarrass the crap out of you, who will?