Friday, November 11, 2016

I read the comments

What I saw: comments on my Facebook wall after a blog post last month.

This post is not going to make sense unless you read the original.

Schwartz never reads the comments

What I wore:

Since changing to this format last February, I have included a sometimes brief but other times detailed description of the clothes that I wore. Once in a while, what I wear elicits comments, but usually out of curiosity rather than criticism. I don't know why I started doing it, and I don't intend to stop. 

What I did beforehand: 
the post got 31 likes (or hearts) on Facebook, and 19 positive comments. 9 likes on Twitter, more or less. Most of the traffic came from Facebook. But then there was this:

So here's the official response from the reunion host: we missed you, Maggie, and all your calculating, equine loving, haute couture aspiring, outspokenness! And you would've still fit in more than stood out since our high school was and is the educational liberal standard-bearer for a city so gracious as to be internationally known for a monument built to honor those bold and brave enough to actually move away. Please consider adding to your donation list a charity our classmate…told us about.…All that to say, see you at our 40th? [crooked-smiley emoji]

Let me start with “haute couture aspiring.” I realize that the outfit I described in my last post included a fucking gorgeous expensive dress from Barney’s New York that I do not own but would have totally liked to have bought for the reunion. I am guessing that this item, or the rose gold jewelry from Tiffany, inspired the comment. Regular readers know I usually wear jeans; the exact number at the time of the calculations post was 57%. Sometimes I admit I wear dirty jeans to the theater. 

I replied to her comment: now that I've stopped laughing at "haute couture aspiring," I've successfully swapped my pajamas for riding breeches (worn once already, wadded up and inside-out on my closet floor, seem clean enough to wear again). Because I put my dirty pants on just like everyone else: one leg at a time. 

I was only pretending to find it funny; I thought it was intended as a barb. The kind of mean thing that women and girls say to each other about their appearances. The kind of funny/mean thing that reminds me of how we all interacted back in high school. The kind of funny/mean thing that told me that the real reason she missed seeing me at the reunion is so she could remark about my appearance.

Who went with me: when we were in high school, we belonged to a class of about 90 students. I’m not sure that the event’s host, who I will refer to as “SiM,” short for “Stayed in Missouri,” and I ever had a class together, other than like gym. We had a couple of close, mutual friends. I remember SiM as good-natured, upbeat, funny, and well-liked, though perhaps not one of the most popular girls. I went to a private suburban school in the late 1970s, and teasing and clever name-calling were a social currency of great value, though less than the ability to score cheap or free booze or drugs. I do not deny that making fun of people was one of my cherished high school pastimes. But I liked SiM, even if I was afraid of her and all the other girls I didn't really know.

Why I increased my donations:  I think probably SiM is still good-natured, upbeat, funny, and well-liked. She seemed to have been trying to say I’m entitled to my opinions, though since everyone else agreed with me in the comments, she also told me that she didn't agree with my politics. Because everyone else was basically saying, "Amen." (See also, "Things that were funny/not funny")

Things that were sad: I also didn’t get the part about “you would've still fit in more than stood out.” I never said I didn’t go because I didn’t think I’d fit in. What I said was, “the last time I went, I got creeped out by a couple of guys from my class.” So. Maybe SiM was trying to be nice here; she’s a mom, and it’s the kind of thing you might say to your kids. Ok. But does what she didn’t address bother you? I said I wouldn’t go because last time men in our class said or did something inappropriate, and either she didn’t read it carefully enough to catch it, or, she thought that was something she couldn’t do anything about. Even as the hostess. As hostess, shouldn't she have reassured me that she would keep me safe from harassment? Whose responsibility is it to see that my former classmates behave themselves? Mine?

Things that were funny/not funny: next, the exchange then went to direct message on Facebook.

SiM: I get the joke now about "aspirational!" A classmate had me google your husband - HE INVENTED XBOX?! You were probably looking through your closet, not catalogues! 

That’s right. Now we’re transitioning to a chummy, private conversation because she found out my husband is “someone.”

Readers, if you come to my blog because you’ve discovered that my husband is “someone,” allow me to assure you that I don’t write about him very often, and when I do, it’s not about his professional life. Let me also say that I am, actually, a person. 

SiM went on to say, "And I'm so sorry about the "libtard" troglodyte. Gross." She tried, right?

My mother insisted that it was bad manners to point out someone else’s bad manners. But my mother is dead now.  I think that given that SiM made me feel patronized, made fun of, and unimportant, and adding to that how bad I feel about this week's unthinkable presidential election result, I am going to make additional donations to most of the organizations listed in my original post.

What I saw on the way home: the Monday after this Facebook exchange, I took another load of the Bacon Provider’s shirts to the cleaners. The owner of the cleaners has a daughter who rides, so we always talk horses if I’m in riding clothes. On this Monday, she mistakenly called me, “Mrs. Roosevelt.” 

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