taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I've made a lot of new friends in the past couple of years, and some of them have stuck and some of them haven't. But for each and every one of them I keep wondering "why do they like us?" This is not some self-esteem problem, it's a rational question. What is it about me and my family that people are willing to serve us food, liquor, and put up with us and our children for hours? I am not terribly charming. My husband is generally pissed-off, though in an articulate way. And our daughters, while lovely in every way, tend to go on crying jags at eight o' clock. In fact, I wear too much makeup and I think I might drink too much, and when I throw a party the food always, always sucks, unless I have it catered. I just really think I don't give as good as I get.

Maybe I am better behaved and better groomed than I think, although I seriously doubt it. Maybe people think I need help, generally in the form of food and booze, and they're willing to provide it as a community service. Or maybe I come up with enough bon mots to make it worthwhile--or at least I'm willing to gossip, which, no matter what anyone says, is a valuable friend-trait. As for the husband and kids, well, the kids are really actually delightful, and the husband provides the requisite banter for the other husband (and in fact, ALL the husbands are malcontents who need to barbecue and smoke on the back deck with other men, so I guess mine is not so odd.) Or maybe everyone else is just really bored, and we're willing to show up any time of the week. Maybe showing up really is 90% of the effort you need to make.

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