Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just Don't Swing Near Me

Lisa Belkin, the New York Times blogger who writes Motherlode, tweeted yesterday that she overheard a couple's conversation about the rules of their open marriage. It made me remember an incident Kadin and I experienced when we were seriously dating.

One evening when we were practically living together, Kadin went to a local bar/restaurant with a co-worker. Kadin was still pretty new to L.A. and was frustrated he wasn't meeting people he liked. So when he and his co-worker began talking to the married couple at the next table and discovered the wife was working on her masters in public health (the same degree Kadin earned), he was super excited. They talked shop. And while doing so, Kadin thought she was relatively smart and interesting and that we could perhaps double date with her and her husband since they lived in the neighborhood. So when the evening was over, they exchanged phone numbers.

Before going home, Kadin and his co-worker stopped at the taco truck across the street for some late-night grease that might balance out the booze they'd consumed. While waiting for his tacos, Kadin got a text message from the wife. The text said it was really nice meeting him and she hoped they would hang out again soon. She sent a second text just after the first one. This message explained that her marriage was an open one, that she found Kadin very attractive, and that she hoped he was interested. He responded, telling her that his relationship was not an open one but that if she was interested in a friendship, we could all (the four of us, as in his girlfriend and her husband, too) get together at some point.

When we awoke the next morning, Kadin told me the story and naturally, I was overcome with rage in a True Blood kind of way. I not so calmly let him know that cocktails--with a woman who wanted to get in his pants even though she had a husband and three school-age children and even though he had a serious, live-in girlfriend he was talking marriage with--would happen, well, how about f*cking never?

In addition to exchanging phone numbers, Kadin and the woman had also exchanged email addresses. Brilliant, right? So I guess she thought that maybe if she sent him a third message via email instead of text, he might change his mind. Or maybe she thought no means yes in a frat boy kind of way. I don't know. But the next day, Kadin received an email message from her, saying she would be "discreet" and make sure I, his girlfriend, would never, ever find out about it if he agreed to meet and get all horizontal.

"No" wasn't good enough for her. And "no thank you but let's be friends" definitely wasn't good enough for me. I was looking for more of a "you are a slimy woman and you are not half as smart and beautiful as my amazing girlfriend and I am not the least bit interested in you so please go away forever or I will make you go away." But that's more my style than it is Kadin's. At least I thought it was until we bumped into her about two months later at a different neighborhood bar. I'd fantasized about giving her a piece of my mind for two months because she was relentless and didn't walk away even after he told her he wasn't interested. I am not down with the idea of an open marriage, but if someone else wants to swing that way, they should go right ahead--just don't swing anywhere near my relationship.

But when I actually saw her, in her cheap beret, overly painted face, bad dye job and pleather knee-high boots, I felt a mixture of pity and disgust. I wasn't threatened but I still felt like she was a disgraceful human being. I just stared at her in my toughest, bark-is-worse-than-my-bite kind of way until she shrunk down, grabbed her purse and quickly left the bar. And Kadin and I agreed that next time, if there ever is a next time, he would be better off not responding at all to sad, shady women, who only care about themselves and don't respect relationships that are perfectly, wonderfully closed.

Image via Observando

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