Shane and I have been trying to get out lately. Little dates, parties, dinner invitations etc. On Friday, we had been invited to a sex party, not the kind where you drop your keys into a fishbowl and then select someone to go home with, but where someone comes and demonstrates new "adult" products and explains their benefits. I was a bit apprehensive not having been to one before, and certainly not sure how I felt about the whole co-ed thing but was determined to go and try to enjoy myself. I had decided not to drink, having had one too many the last time we were invited out and then suffered for it the whole next day. So, there I was, in a room full of men and women in varying stages of inebriation, laughing at the shenanigans going on around me when the conversation took a different turn. I was standing on the fringe of a group of women who were discussing breast reduction surgery when one of the women piped up and announced she had a third nipple. I felt my eyebrow rising as I turned to see her proudly displaying a nipple on her belly, where one might see a row of nipples if it were a dog or cat or something that bred in litters. I felt my eyebrow rising even more when one of the other women spoke up and said, "Me too, look", as she lifted her shirt up to show her extra nipple. "My doctor said it was a twin and that I must have absorbed him, you can tell it was a boy because the nipple is flat..." Suddenly, I'm feeling a twinge of panic rising in my throat and I start to edge away from the conversation. She continued speaking to the first extra-nippled woman, "Yours was a girl, because it puckers outward." I'm thinking, "Jesus Christ, I've never heard anything so udderly ridiculous...(get it, udderly???) when I hear a woman say, "When, recently?", and I know without a doubt they are talking about me. The next thing I know, this largish woman has launched herself into my arms, "I'm so sorry, hun....was it SIDS?" "No, I mumble, my son, he had a heart defect...." She's smiling this horrid grin, like I've just been initiated into some "dead baby sorority", and says, "Yes, my daughter's twin sister went to bed at three months old healthy and never woke up..." Still smiling that same awful smile, she adds "You know, it's been eleven years, and it never gets any better." "Um, I gotta go for a smoke," I tell her and make my escape for the door.
So there I was, amidst dildos and vibrators and lingerie and all kinds of "adult" stuff, having a good time laughing away at the exhibitionists trying on crotchless panties when suddenly, I'm "That Mom". It ruined my night. Not that thinking about Calvin ruins my night, but the timing with which he was brought up, and being made to feel like a side show curiosity, like the extra nippled women. I hate the way people assume we have a kinship, that because we've had children die, we'll automatically "get" each other. I know just by looking at this woman and the way she approached me, that she and I would never "click". Have some tact, people...I hate the nods and looks of pity and the feeling like I have to hold my head high, when I'd rather turn invisible and blend into the surroundings. My grief is something that I want to pick and choose who I share it with, not be put on the spot in the middle of a dildo party where the focus of the party is clearly to get silly and have some fun. As I exited out the back door, the only thing I could think of was..."she should wax those eyebrows, and maybe that hairy mole on her cheek..." not, omg, this poor woman, we're about to become soul sisters. Shane and I left shortly afterwards. Sure, we'll look forward to our next night out, I'll just make sure my escape route is more well thought out for next time.
It Takes a Village
1 day ago