Email me if you have something to say. I like you.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There are hazards to being a housewife. One of them is that, every time you meet someone new,they could turn out to be a whack job. I know this is true for non-housewives, too, but these particular nuts can be hard to identify until it's too late: they already know your address and phone number, and they aren't afraid to use them. Even more unfair, they can get your unlisted information from school handbooks, soccer parent lists or other unsuspecting parents. And people just give them the information, because they seem so innocent.

"Hey! Listen, I've been meaning to get in touch with you!," your potential new best friend says.

At this point, you should notice the awkward tone of voice, the manufactured enthusiasm and the snakes behind the eyes of the speaker. But you don't, because everyone knows that house wives are desperate for new friends, which is why we get targeted for this crap in the first place. You don't hear the Jaws music in the back of your mind either, because the sound of your kids fighting over a Skittle they found on the floor of the car drowns it out.

You eagerly respond, "Yeah? Great!" After all, your kids play soccer together and you and your husband have actually talked about that (seemingly) cool family that seems to have so much in common with you. You've chatted with them about how cool it is that you can walk or bike everywhere in your shared neighborhood. Like you and your spouse, they both went to college (bonus: and graduate school!) They occasionally swear, and don't cringe when you do. Later, you'll realize you were grasping at straws, but up until this moment, you think you have a lot in common. As you eagerly await a fabulous invitation that will surely be the beginning of a long and treasured friendship (maybe pizza with the kids! maybe a backyard cookout! with beer! something we'll always remember!), you fail to pick up on the subtle signals. In a split second, all your hopes are dashed and things get ugly.

"Yeah!" enthuses Potential New Friend. Here it comes. "I've been wanting to tell you about a business my friend from college has gotten into! She's gotten me started too! Blahblahblah! She's selling these amazing blahblahblah! Blah...Great Opportunity!...Making a Killing!...FROM HOME!...I thought of YOU, because...BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!"

You're frozen. No matter how many times it happens, you don't know what to say. In the words of British Pop Sensation Lily Allen:

You can't knock 'em out
You can't walk away
Try desperately to think of the politest way to say-
Get out my face!
Just leave me alone!

But you can't use the next line - "No, you can't have my number, 'cause I lost my phone" - because the nut already has your number (home and cell), your email address and your home address. They're all right there in the school handbook, available to any loon with kids that happen to go to your kid's school. And don't fool yourself. I don't care how fancy and progressive your kid's school is, these people can still sneak in. And they can look normal, even stylish, just like any other parent.

There are ways to make them go away. I could force them to listen to my entire Manifesto which describes why I am ethically, politically and socially opposed to multi-level marketing schemes. The Manifesto includes quotes from Betty Friedan, Naomi Wolf, Nora Ephron (The "Crazy Salad*" years) and others. The problem with the Manifesto, which I find hilarious, is that it has the potential to offend and alienate the freak. And the last thing I want to do is offend and alienate a freak who knows my children. I did it once and it wasn't pretty. I'll be happy to tell anyone who wants to know about it, but I'm not putting it here, because she might hunt me down and...try to get me to sell crap to my friends.

There's another common hazard of being a housewife that's annoying, but much less threatening. The perp can be identified almost immediately. I'm referring to the person who, upon receipt of a new email address, is compelled to send an email with some kind of you go, girl/you strong woman/you great friend theme. And pictures of kittens. I hate kittens. And I know y'all know this, but you do not need to forward that sh-- to find out if you have friends or not. I know I have friends, because we hang out and they don't try to sell me stuff. The emails may seem easy enough to delete, but don't ignore them completely. The could be a danger sign that a Multi-level Marketing Moment is just around the corner. Be prepared!

* Everyone should read "Crazy Salad." I found it at my Grandparents' beach condo when I was about 10 years old and read it immediately. I'm pretty sure that book made me the person I am today. No lie. It influenced everything from my political views to my sense of humor. Really. Read it.

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