Baby With The Bath Water

So a few days ago my friend Brittany asked me out to lunch. It’d been a few years since we’d seen each other, and naturally I was delighted she sought me out. Aside from the fact that I enjoy her company, being unemployed creates a unique brand of ennui which often manifests itself in bizarre ways in my wikipedia surfing when I go for long periods of time without human socialization. I knew I had to get out of my apartment, and soon.

Having Brittany ask to see me can either be really good, or really bad. She was the Editor in Chief at my college newspaper when I was a sophomore and rising from the lowly ranks of Staff Writer to Copy Editor. She was also one of my then-boyfriend’s best friends from high school. Brittany is extremely religious and infectiously enthusiastic. She has dated the same man for 6 years now, and he hasn’t gotten so much as a hand job from her (so she told me). I personally think he must prefer to spelunk the brown cave, and she is an exquisite beard, but that’s just me.
One night, while my fellow editors of the newspaper and I were at a journalism conference at Belmont, she awoke to the sound of muffled screams. She dressed quickly and grabbed her mace, terrified that some ill fate had befallen one or all of us. It was a very dark, calm night and she stumbled towards the noises in the dim light of her cell phone.
The noise grew louder and more frantic, and she moved as fast as she could to the outdoor pool area of our hotel.
There she saw myself and her younger sister, wearing only our bikini tops. Her sister was sitting on the edge of the hot tub, and my head was between her legs.
“Girls!” she shrieked.
We looked up, startled and buzzed, and quickly got back in the bubbling hot tub which offered some cover. We were still caught, though. There’s no telling what Brittany would do. My heart raced.
“Did you hear those screams?” she asked anxiously.
We looked at each other in disbelief and giggled.
“I don’t see what’s so funny” she fumed, “it’s late and I heard screams. You shouldn’t be out this late. There could be criminals out there just waiting to pounce on young, naive girls such as yourselves. Get back to your rooms!”
“Brittany, we didn’t hear anything,” her sister said, “you probably dreamed it. Anyway we’re inside a gated hotel complex with security cameras. Nothing bad is going to happen to us.”
She glared at us, harumphed, and went back to her room. Her sister and I almost died laughing.
The next week, she sent me an email stating that she wanted me to meet with her in her office, privately.
Shit, I thought. She figured it out.
But no. It turns out she wanted to apologize for being cross, and to thank me for looking out for her sister, who didn’t know many people in our group yet.
Girls like her sister could use a good Christian female mentor in her life.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the kind of mentorship  I gave her sister involved speaking in tongues, but not the kind that she witnessed every Sunday at the Pentecostal church of Dayton, Tennessee.

So, you can imagine my surprise and curiosity when I got Brittany’s message this last week.
It turns out, she is starting up a business for Yoga clothing and accessories. Fitness has been one of her passions since as long as I’ve known her, and she is one of the most driven individuals I’ve ever met. She got her realtor’s license at 18, teaches different fitness classes at like 5 different gyms, works for a news station as a reporter and is earning her MBA.  I was extremely flattered to learn she wanted my help in filing the necessary tax forms to procure a business license. If things went well, she wanted to continue to enlist my help as a salaried accountant.
We talked business for awhile, and she took notes on my tax advice. It’s really humbling to have a friend ask for your advice in an area they respect your expertise on.
Eventually, she confided in me that her little sister had come out as a lesbian. Nobody had seen it coming, she said, and her family was devastated. What was the world coming to? More and more people are becoming tolerant of the abomination of homosexuality, which only deepened the delusions of poor souls like her sister, who were so entrenched in the sin that they couldn’t see their way out.
It was in that moment, with my friend looking to me for empathy, that I lost it.
When she was my boss, I often bit my tongue and let her monologue about religion and politics. It was her soap box, and her rules. But now I was a real adult, and we were meeting as equals and I could take no more crap.
I expressed my wholehearted support of her sister and her coming out, denounced any truth in the statements of her sexual orientation being a sin and very proudly admitted my atheism.
Brittany looked at me like I had pulled out a machete and started skinning a puppy live in front of her.
Her words couldn’t get past all the anger in her throat, and she just sat there making this odd clucking noise for a moment.
She got out something about how people like me better appreciate the rights given to me by the First Amendment because otherwise she’d probably hurt me. I don’t remember her exact words.
I do remember throwing my head back and laughing. Loudly. Like, awkward loudly. I laughed so hard many of the patrons at the restaurant stopped eating and surveyed me as if they weren’t certain if I’d found something absurdly humorous or I was choking on something I’d eaten.

But I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew. I knew exactly who I was and where I stood, and moments to publicly own it didn’t come by that often.

“What’s so damn funny?” she said.

“That night by the pool, after the conference in Belmont, I ate your sister’s pussy. And it was wonderful.”

I got up, and left.

It felt really great. Almost like I was on the up and up from not getting to have the last word with my parents when they fired me. I got home and it still didn’t matter to me that I had basically thrown away an employment opportunity and a friendship. Towards the end of the day, my high started wearing off and I felt shitty for not handling the situation more calmly. I rarely if ever lose my temper, and especially not in public.

Not long after, I got an email from Brittany. She had thought about what I’d said, and apologized for, as she put it, not acting more Christ-like. He hung out with whores after all, didn’t He? She still wanted my help with her business, if I was willing.
But now it’s different. It feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. I enjoy the challenge of getting to build a business with someone, and doing something I love—accounting, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the homophobic  part.
I have so many friends who are gay, and it feels like it would be a slap in their faces if I agreed to this. Also, I don’t know if I could look her in the eye again after telling a restaurant that I’d eaten her sister out.

So, I’m not sure what to do. Do I throw the baby out with the bathwater or try to pick up and keep on?

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2 responses to “Baby With The Bath Water

  1. It seems to me that you have these moments that occur in your life that would be perfect in a sitcom. The horrifying reveal. The witty retort. Exit stage left and cut to commercial! But those shows never describe the reality of having to deal with the emotions and the consequences of words uttered. The episode ends, but the characters must process and handle what they said 5 hours earlier. We just don’t see that. For you, I wish that feeling of success could go on indefinitely because I believe that you did the right thing. Standing up for her sister and for your own beliefs in the face of ignorance and derision is very brave. But the reality is that we’re all human and, whether we like it or not, we have to deal with the feelings that come from these situations.

    If you want my $0.02, I would suggest trying to make the business relationship work, and see if the friendship is worth fixing as well. But you must do it in a way that doesn’t subjugate yourself. If working on this business of hers is something that interests you, then do it, but stipulate some conditions that she must adhere to. No bigotry, no racism, no overt theology. Basically, tell her to not be a fucking asshole and maybe you two can have a working relationship. Tell her that at the first sign of her old ways popping up, that you’ll pack your bags and leave quicker than an priest can zip his pants.

    With all that said, don’t take the job if you’re desperate for the money. Make sure that it’s something that you want to do and that it will add value to your life. Sure you might be able to get a paycheck, but at what cost?

    Great post and I hope the situation works out!

    P.S. It really pisses me the hell off when people say ‘Well if Jesus did it, surely I could do it!” Well how fucking nice of you to deign to being a decent human. Argh.

    • Thank you so much Taylor. You know, you have a very good point about my writing style. I do tend to write like its from a tv episode. haha! When these things happen they aren’t as dramatic or stage-perfect. But that’s how I remember and retell them. I keep the most pertinent details, and so it seems more “amped up”.

      I emailed her back and said basically just that. I can’t work with someone who is closed-minded and homophobic. It’s been my experience in business that being closed-minded and judgmental is a bad model for success, regardless of the company. As things progress, if she still seeks my input, I guess I’ll play it by ear. I agree with you, trying to make the business relationship (which otherwise sounds fun) work is a good idea to keep on the table.

      Thanks again for your comment. I look forward to them. 😉

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