Last weekend I went to a dear friend’s birthday party. It was held in her big, fabulous house in the suburbs. It being in the suburbs is relevant only because that’s where I’m most likely to find parties made up of all couples…and me. Actually there were two other single women there, but we were a mere blip amongst the 20 or so couples. Or maybe we weren’t a blip; maybe it was more like a beacon.
Shortly after I arrived, a guy approached me. He was handsome and smiling and I thought, “Oh, birthday girl invited a single guy for me. How nice.” We chatted for quite awhile, flirting a bit, and laughing about his day and mine, and various and sundry life events. He was especially interested in my book, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree, and asked lots of questions about my experiences as a single woman.
Then, his WIFE wandered over. I guess he forgot to mention her. At no time in our lengthy conversation did he mention a wife…or his kids. It didn’t even occur to me to ask if he was married because surely a married man wouldn’t monopolize my time so blatantly, right? Silly me.
What’s worse is that Wife is a woman with whom I am friendly. Awkward. The three of us chatted for a few more minutes and then I excused myself. Brazenly, he continued to show up wherever I happened to be. He clearly saw no reason for us not to continue interacting…though I did. I wasn’t interested in spending lots of time with my friend’s husband. I was conscious of how it might feel to her and look to others. So I avoided him. Or tried to.
On the dance floor, I felt someone come up behind me, grab my waist and grind his pelvis into my backside. I turned around, shocked to see it was Douchebag Husband!
I’m still pissed at myself for only pushing him away and moving to another part of the dance floor. Here’s what I wished I’d done: Slapped him. Yelled “WTF are you doing?” Snatched him by his collar and said “How dare you touch me that way!” Any one of those would have me feeling better right now. But I did none of those because I knew what followed would have changed the tone of the evening. I didn’t want to make a scene at my friend’s birthday party. I didn’t want to embarrass his wife. And I was also cognizant of the fact that this very thing is the reason lots of married women don’t want single women in the social mix: we cause trouble…even when it’s not our fault. We are the dreaded femme fatales.
And I really do believe it was my being single that made him think he could behave that way with me. If he had been interested in one of the married women at the party, I truly think he would have approached her differently. Like many men, he apparently thinks a single woman is desperate…and perhaps a little loose… and would welcome a blatantly and inappropriately sexual move.
And at that moment I also realized why his wife –a lovely women– drinks so much. And she’s a sad drunk. And clearly she has reason to be.
It’ll be interesting what happens the next time I see him. How do you think I should handle it?