“Ok, I’ll tell you something I’ve never told anyone before,” she said. “My husband won’t go down on me.”
“What??!!!” I replied.
“He won’t go down on me. He says he doesn’t like it,” she added.
I paused. Because life had taught me a lot of things by this point and one of them was – not everyone wants to know the truth all the time. They want to tell you SOME things, so you’ll know they have a life. Maybe they want you to think it’s cool or eccentric, maybe they’re looking for comfort. What they don’t want you to do, is tell them how you really feel, which in this case was APPALLED.
“Well, maybe he just needs to warm to that,” I said. “Maybe with time, he’ll understand a woman needs that,” I tried, literally fishing for anything, anything to say, except for what I truly thought.
“Yeah, I thought maybe that was it,” she said. “But, my best friend from college came over and we had some drinks one night and one thing lead to another and I had always wanted to try it with a girl,” she went.
Oh. dear. god. I thought, but said nothing.
“The alcohol was flowing and I started to kiss her and soon enough my husband joined in and then…and then, he did the strangest thing. He went down on her.”
Oh, no. No, no, no. Is this woman an idiot??!! Jesus Christ, I thought. But, I said nothing. It’s rare someone has me speechless, but this time, this time, was one of those moments.
I’m sitting in my apartment tonight. Wifesy is away and I’m mindlessly watching As Good As It Gets for the hundredth time. There’s the road trip scene. Jack Nicholson is being his jackassy self and very gay, Greg Kinear and Helen Hunt are hitting it off. They pull over to the side of the road and Greg confesses to a quasi-incestual moment he had with his mother under the guise of art. And it got me thinking. It got me thinking about road confessions. I’ve been on the road lots as a comedian and there’s something about it. There’s something about hurtling through distance in a confined space that makes strangers and almost friends confess things to one another. I don’t know why, but I know that it regularly happens. It’s the strangest thing.
I don’t remember what I said to the girl whose husband went down on the other girl, but I KNOW that I tried to soften it. What I wanted to say was, “This is the beginning of the end. You’re about to get divorced. And you should file the papers, immediately. I’m sorry, but if you’re a woman and you’re with a man (or a woman for that matter) and he doesn’t want to please you then he doesn’t want to be with you.” I believed that then and I believe that now. A few years later, those two got a divorce. Welp, no surprise there.
What I was amazed by was that this woman could tell me that. We weren’t even that close! I was amazed that she could tell me something that huge with very little understanding that this was a very bad thing. She had zero idea that this was a huge crack in her relationship. She wanted some other girly explanation from me, I think. She wanted some kind of Cosmo magazine, “some men are like that from me”. She never got it. However, I did NOT do what the less therapized version of me would’ve done, either. The less therapized version of me – maybe only a good 5 years earlier version of myself would’ve said, “What are you feckin’ crazy??!! He went down on your friend and he has never in your marriage gone down on you??!! And you have a baby together? And you think this is okay? How far does your delusion run? Jesus, step back, and see what is really happening.” But, I never said that because she was my opening act at the gig and I just wanted to get through it. I didn’t want her forever mad at me because I know what happens with some women (some men too), you tell them the truth, and they shoot, stab, and cut up the messenger – never the husband, never the person really to blame, never the person who has done them the real damage. I’ve never understood it, but experience has shown me that it’s best to shut it in certain situations. This was one.
I tried to soothe her as best as I could. I probably laughed it away, even though I knew in that very moment she would be getting a divorce. I knew it way before she knew it. Had she been a better friend of mine, it would’ve been a tougher dilemma – my loyalties playing on my need to just get through the gig. But, she wasn’t. She was just a business associate really. Another comic. Another unsure soul, begging strangers for attention.
We went to the gig and she got up to perform. The room was run by an old couple. We were getting paid a couple hundred dollars each and a hotel room to travel to god knows where just outside of Philly. We performed in the private room of a chain restaurant. On this particular night, there was a table – one long table – of a good 30 to 40 black people. There was a second table – where we sat with the old couple/ bookers and my opening act. Aside from that, there was only one other table in the room. A round table to my left. At the table were a white couple. I didn’t think much of them at first. They seemed to be a typical, suburban-ish, tattooed, white couple. The woman was mumbling, but I thought – well, Jesus, she must be drunk and shrugged it off. She’ll stop at one point, I believed. The opening act was performing, the eccentric, old couple were in and out of the room, chatting with people and enjoying the buffet, but the white girl at the table – she was getting louder and louder.
The black folk were beyond nice. They were tolerant to say the least because my opening act just wasn’t strong enough yet. They were generous and attentive and listening. And the white girl was getting angry, I heard her mumbling about how my opening act sucked. Then she started saying stuff about the black people – audible stuff – calling them the n-word. I mean the n-word! This is something that being from New York I just really don’t hear that often. In fact, I’m not sure I had ever heard it uttered out loud in anger up until that point. But, the white girl, she just couldn’t believe the black folks liked this dreck. I mean my opening act was no good, couldn’t these people see it? No? Then call ’em the n-word. It went on and on. The room was in a total shambles by the time my opener was wrapping up. The old couple was so old and so clueless that they did nothing. How the black folk never heard the crazy, racist, white girl, I’ll never know. They either didn’t hear her or they ignored it. By the time I got to the stage I was seething. To add fuel to the fire, the white girl was in a frenzy. She started to attack me immediately. I re-directed her anger with laughs and got back to my act, but I was charged, really charged. I started getting the black table to really laugh. I mean really laugh. I wanted them on my side. The white girl said some more horrible shit, I said something really diffusing like, “I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.” The black people applauded. This only made white girl more angry – she lashed out again. I slammed her a little harder, but still nothing that would draw blood. She said something again, I diffused it again. Finally, after displaying my calm for at least 3 -4 rounds with this b*tch, I unleashed. I told her – calmly – what I thought she was – a racist, stupid, redneck. She charged the stage. I wasn’t expecting it, but oddly as she was only a foot or two in front of me, I became extremely relaxed. In hindsight, I’m guessing it was adrenaline and in some deep recess of my brain, I was willing to take her out. I was so disgusted with her behavior or what drinking (and whatever else she was taking made her) that in some deep, primitive, place of my brain, I was hoping she’d charge me.
She ran at me and my shoulders relaxed waiting for what was going to happen. When at the very last moment, her boyfriend grabbed her from behind and carted her out of the room. As the guy was dragging her out, I let her know that I wished a plague-cocktail of aids/ cancer/ and syphilis to befall upon her car on the way home. The show got back to semi-normal after that. As normal as a show like that can get. I finished my spot and told the black folks that they were going to have to walk me out to my car, in case crazy-shakes was waiting for me in the parking lot. They laughed and said they would.
I haven’t seen that opening act in many years, but a friend of mine, he tells me that she’s as deluded as the day I took that car ride with her. It leaves me wondering and amazed about the total bullsh*t we’ll live under, telling ourselves something else to justify it all, and then there’s that unbelievable (really, is this happening?), pure, evil sh*t that lives inside some people like the racist girl. At the same time, there are complete strangers who willing to walk us out to our cars, just to make sure we get home safe. People, us humans, we’re damn odd.
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