Friday, June 17, 2005

Grrrrrr

On our recent trip to FL, DH and I went out to dinner with one of his old high school chums and this guy's girlfriend. High School Chum (HSC from here on out) is a really nice guy. A sweet, single dad of three, doing his best to raise his kids and make a good life for them. Tall, boyishly handsome with a thick head of slightly-in-need-of-a-trim hair. He's a regular beta hero.

His girlfriend, who shall here on out be known as Wench, was a real treat. You know the type: hard-edged blonde, a little thinner than she needs to be, hanging on to her youth with well-manicured claws. Apparently, she was a CFO or CEO of some company but has since retired and as HSC later explained to us in an apologetic email, she isn't dealing with retirement well.

Anyway, we met at her house (no freakin' AC and not a window open - does she not know she lives in Florida?) for drinks (wine or water) and appetizers (crab salad in endive leaves). I complimented her on her house and her apps (they were so-so but I said they were good) but her one dog kept jumping on me and scratching me with his nails so I nicely kept pushing him off me. I don't think she liked it when I told the beast to stop licking my toes, either, but I mean, please! I don't want dog slobber all over my feet when we're about to go out to dinner!

According to HSC, she was also supposed to be an expert in local real estate, since she bought, fixed up and resold properties in the area. DH and I asked her about several different neighborhoods we'd been house-hunting in to get her opinion but anything that wasn't "beachside" she just responded with a very clipped "I don't know" or "Couldn't tell you". Gee, thanks for the help.

We finally got to the restaurant. After ordering drinks and food, HSC and DH started reminiscing about high school days and what people were doing now, stuff like that. So I decided to engage Wench in conversation, eternal optimist that I am. We chatted pleasantly enough and Wench asked me what I did. I responded as I always do. Here's how that went:

KP: "I'm a writer."
W: Her eyes sparkle. "Really? What do you write?"
KP: "Romance." I smile and take a sip of my water.
W: The sparkle fades. "Romance? Is there a big market for that sort of thing?"
KP: Patient smile. "Romance accounts for slightly more than half of the books being sold."
W: Look of mortification. "Really?" Slight sniff. "Isn't that sad?"
KP: Help me Lord. I don't want to hurt this woman in front of so many people. That would definitely ruin the trip. "Actually, I don't think it's sad at all, considering that's what I write and a lot of what I read. After 9/11 people more than ever want a 'happily ever after'. There's just an intrinsic value in reading a book you know will end well. So no, I don't think there's anything sad about it."
W: Deer-in-headlights look.
DH: Tips his head towards me and puffs up his chest. "Her first book just won this big contest."
KP: I squeeze his leg and grin. "I didn't win yet. My first book finaled in the biggest contest there is for unpublished romance writers. It's called the Golden Heart and it's run by the Romance Writers of America."
DH: "Yeah and she's got some big agent looking at her stuff. And she runs this really big website for romance writers with a friend of hers. Romance Divas. They've won awards and stuff."
(Do you see why I love this man?)
KP: "Writer's Digest voted us one of their '101 Best Websites For Writers' and we've won a few other awards."

DH and HSC go back to chatting about a football game or something. The food comes. Moments pass in relative silence. Finally Wench leans forward. "That really is great about your writing. I don't think I could ever write a book. I think I would get bored with it after a while."

I chew my seared tuna and swallow, which gives me time to decide what would be an appropriate response and what wouldn't. I go with "Thanks" and leave it at that.

She got progressively less interested in attempting to look involved as the night wore on and instead spent most of the time whispering in HSC's ear, snuggling against him possessively (who was she marking her territory for? I'm a happily married woman) and staring out into the surrounding tables.

The night didn't end quickly enough for her or I, I can guarantee you that. And as I mentioned above, HSC later sent an email apologizing for her behavior (there was more but I didn't think it was necessary to give you a blow-by-blow).

Fortunately, we will NOT be living in her neighborhood. And the one we are moving into is gated.

And I don't think there's anything sad about that.

18 comments:

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  2. I don't even know what to say. That's horrible. I feel bad for HSC. Can you imagine feeling like you had appologize for your wench's behavior. At least you got to leave her company at the end of the evening; he probably had to spend more time with her after she treated his friends like crap. Maybe he'll dump her before you move. If not Florida's a big state.

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  3. She sounds er...interesting. Way to go on defending romance, though.

    I've found my own response that works for me. One of my teacher friends asked the age-old question, "So you write those smutty books?"

    I grinned and said, "Heck yeah, baby." It broke the ice, and she laughed, which opened the door for more intelligent conversation about romance novels. :)

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  4. Elbie - I'm hoping he dumps her too. He's such a nice guy - totally deserves better.

    Michelle - I think it's good to have a response and be prepared. Stuff like this happens too often.

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  5. Kristen, your male rocks.

    And kudos for not going thermo on the bitch. I can't say that I would've kept my temper. :P

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  6. Yes he does, Nonny. :o)

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  8. OMG on the wench! You showed amazing restraint there, Kristen. :) Yay to your Husband for backing you up like that.

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  9. You have no idea, Bonnie. Restraint isn't really one of my virtues. *rolling eyes*

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  10. ROTF! You poor thing - I would have clocked her!

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  11. I should have. A knuckle sandwich wouda done her skinny bones some good.

    Now, now, that's not nice.

    But it IS funny. :o)

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  12. O wow, what a freak! I feel bad for HSC. I can't believe he's with her. If I were HSC, I'd have dumped her a long time ago. As for Wench....some people have no manners!

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  13. Gee wilikers! I'd have socked her. YAY Kristen! You did it right. Hope he dumps her soon. .
    Hubby's like yours need a pat on the back too. Good for him.

    Maria

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  14. If only I was there.... I would have made sure she would regret ever opening her mouth because I would have probably beat the living sh-- out of her right at the table before ever touching my wine. But that's just me. I'm not tactful and I don't keep my mouth shut when someone obviously needs to be put in their place... Her and her trailer trash blonde with Lee Press on nails! Not you K. :P

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  15. One more thing.. You should of said, "My Manolo shoes cost more than your house -- be-ATCH!"

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  16. All of her attitude about your writing can be whittled down to this: she is miserable in her own life. She's a sad case, and has to coat herself with SO many veneers she doesn't even know who she is anymore. Sickened with jealousy that you are living your dream life. Taking a little blurb from the very funny, Tony-winning Avenue Q, "it sucks to be her... sucka sucka sucka sucka sucka ... sucks to be her...." Didn't put all the "suckas" in there but... hehe Hopefully your friend will wake up!! He must not see what a great guy he is if he's caught up with something like THAT.

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  17. :::laughing too hard:::

    OMG. You are soo funny.

    As Nonny said, your Male rocks, but you know that.

    Hopefully he'll dump her. to have to apologize to an old friend for your date is bad bad bad.

    And if she really sold real estate in the area she's be able to afford AC.

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  18. Kristen, you handled yourself great. Sounds line the wench has some insecurities issues. Way to go K.

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