So, Caitlin wasn’t the only Houston visitor around this weekend! Eric also had a guest in town.
Although I was really, really excited for Caitlin to come visit, I wasn’t too pumped about Eric’s friend. Because, Caitlin didn’t, you know, make out with my boyfriend in college and then announce that she was flying down from Kansas to stay with him for the weekend.
And that, my friends, set the scene for a pretty terrible two days that brought out the worst in me and Eric. If you’d like to do the same sometime, listen carefully. I can teach you.
Step 1. Think you’ll never be That Girlfriend.
About a month ago, Eric told me that his friend who I’ll call “Polly” had gotten in touch with him. Now, I know about most of Eric’s girl friends, but this one didn’t ring a bell, mainly because they aren’t that close so he never really talked about her. The only time he had mentioned her was in the context of a discussion on making out with people once and then realizing, Nope, that would never work! Let’s just be friends! So all I knew was that she was his friend who he had made out with once in college.
Apparently, Polly had said on previous occasions that she wanted to come down and visit him, but in that way that people always do when you’re living in another state. They say it, but never actually give dates or book a flight. So when she mentioned coming this weekend, he didn’t take it that seriously, and hadn’t had a chance to talk to me about it…and then two hours later, she booked her flight.
Now, believe me, Eric and I don’t really have an “ask permission” sort of relationship, but this is definitely something I would have preferred to discuss ahead of time. Some girl I’ve never met and know nothing about just booked a flight and was planning to stay at his apartment for an entire weekend? That made me incredibly uncomfortable, but there wasn’t much I could do about it, what with the flight already being booked. I made it clear that I didn’t like it and that if she thought her ass sleeping anywhere but the couch, we were going to have a major problem. He said that she knew about me (and was “excited” to meet me — of course she was…aren’t they always in these situations?) and that he had made it very clear to her what the boundaries were.
I still really didn’t like it. I just put it out of my mind because I didn’t want to stress for a month over it and be That Girlfriend. But last week, once the reality settled in, I realized, Nope. Still not comfortable with it at all.
Eric offered the standard, “If it makes you feel any better, she’s not as pretty as you are,” but come on. Who cares? I mean, yes, if she were hot, it probably wouldn’t help, but let’s just look at how Sandra Bullock’s marriage ended and I think we’ve answered the question of whether or not that fucking matters.
Step 2. Find yourself being That Girlfriend, despite your best efforts.
Eric and I had another few talks about it, and I just explained that yes, I understand that he has known her for years and has never been interested, but that doesn’t mean the feelings are mutual. And while I didn’t assume she was coming down here to jump his bones, I couldn’t really piece together what exactly she was doing here. Something just didn’t add up to me. He asked if I was OK with them hanging out alone and I reminded him that I wasn’t OK with any of it, but I wasn’t going to insist on playing chaperone all weekend. I just asked that he refrain from date-like activities and that I wanted to spend the night over there each night she was there, even if we had done our own thing during the day. I really didn’t like saying that, because it made me feel like That Girlfriend, but I didn’t know what else to do. Again, if it had been any of his girl friends who he talks about all the time and considers extremely important in his life, I would have been like, “Have fun! See ya Monday!” He agreed that I could sleep over.
Things got off to a bad start Friday night when he said they were doing dinner and then going to the bar. To me, dinner and drinks was date-like and inappropriate. He begrudgingly agreed to figure something else out, but before that could happen, he had to stop by my apartment on his way home from picking her up from the airport to get his house key, which he had forgotten in my car. I was in a huge rush getting ready for Caitlin’s visit, and I did not really want to deal with him or with meeting her at that moment, but I didn’t have a choice.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened the door but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting her to be rocking a hot pink mullet.
In all our discussions on this person and her intentions for coming and your history with her, HOW DO YOU NOT MENTION THAT HER HAIR IS BROWN ON TOP AND HOT PINK ON THE BOTTOM?????
I really didn’t know whether to be disgusted or delighted!
From the second she introduced herself, she was just super, super, super fake. For me, there’s little worse than a girl getting herself all wet and trying to kiss your ass when you can clearly see she doesn’t want to be friends with you, and is only doing it to make herself look good. Within five minutes, she had complimented my cooking four times (from one picture on Facebook that Eric was tagged in with a pizza I had made?). I didn’t have time for small talk, and told Eric to call me later once he had solved the problem of what to do about that night. He just ended up texting me after dinner to say they weren’t going to go to the bar at all, and I could just come over.
Step 3. Try to be a good girlfriend.
Eric was being really, really nice and I knew he felt bad, so I went over there as open-minded and as ready to play nice.
I mean, this chick was 26 years old and rocking a hot pink mullet…I kind of wanted to know more.
I showed up with my s’more brownies, which she gushed over, and then started gushing once again about all my food pictures. (Even though Eric had said earlier, “She doesn’t really know what a blog is…” and I thought, It’s 2010; I’m sorry, but now I have to hate her.) Then we settled in the living room for some chat time. I wasn’t crazy about her loud, interrupting personality, or the fact that she was coughing up a lung whilst repeatedly finding ways to mention that she smoked, as if it were some sort of important personality trait. In between hacks, she told us she had a boyfriend who was older, with two teenage kids.
I was doing my best, I really was.
Step 4. Go outside to play in 100 degree weather.
We all went to bed pretty early Friday night, and after I awoke the next morning to the sweet sounds of her death cough, I got up and offered to make her breakfast. She said she never eats breakfast because she’s “like, the most unhealthy person ever.” Uh…OK. I headed home for a bit. Meanwhile, they went to watch football with some of Eric’s friends. Now, I thought this was good. They had had dinner the night before, and now they were on another outing that didn’t involve me. We were all meeting up to go to the Houston Food & Wine Festival in the afternoon, and then having dinner with Caitlin and her brother and sister-in-law, before going out with them that night. I felt like it wasn’t going to be them hanging out with me breathing down their necks too much. I thought everything was fine.
As we walked to the festival later in the afternoon, I kept my distance from Polly to avoid getting caught in her cloud of smoke. By this point she had started to act really socially awkward and just kind of spacey. Every time she’d talk, there was just sort of this “Are you f*cking high?” vibe.
So we get to the festival, and at this point, no, I wasn’t trying. The smoke, the pink hair, the weird behavior…I wasn’t that interested in BFF-ing her. Aside from that, it was as hot as balls and so, really, I was just trying to stay alive. She disappeared several times during the festival to find a place to smoke or just try different wines than we were trying. I was just trying to stay comfortable and in the shade, so I wasn’t terribly interested in figuring out where she had gone.
Step 5. Watch the dramz unfold.
By the time we left the festival, she had the teen angsty scowl on her face to match her “I hate my parents!” hairdo. She was pouting and snapping when Eric tried to make conversation. Once we were back at his apartment, she went to smoke on his patio and he went to talk to her. I was starving and waiting for him to wrap it up so we could figure out what we were doing for dinner. Eventually he came inside and told me she wasn’t happy.
Why isn’t she happy?
Because she didn’t come down here to be a third wheel and she didn’t understand why he was letting a girl come between them.
Up until this point, I was trying my hardest to be reasonable, texting my most rational friends when I wanted to check and see if I was being out of line or overreacting. I really didn’t want to make things harder for Eric because I knew he didn’t want to be in this position at all…but this was totally my BITCH, YOU BETTER STEP OFF moment.
I mean, I’m sorry if some random sluez you made out with and who hasn’t kept in touch with you over the years thinks it’s appropriate to book a flight to stay with you and thinks that your girlfriend is a bitch for caring and you’re That Guy for siding with your girlfriend. Oh wait, did I say, I am sorry? I meant that I’m SORRY I’M NOT SORRY.
At this point, Eric basically opened negotiations. She really wanted to hang out with him one-on-one, without me there. Would I do it for him? And see, this is where I always struggle. I pride myself on being compromising and laid-back, and there are a lot of things I’ll do for him….but I hate that I also end up doing it for the crazy person who is putting us both in this position. (Don’t even get me started on the similar battle we had when he wouldn’t confront his roommate over the summer.) So it feels like because I’m rational and reasonable, I always get put in the position where I have to be the one to give in.
He also said that she wouldn’t hang out with us that night. She just didn’t want to…and so she’d ask that Eric just drop her off at a bar on our way out and she’d hang out there alone because she’d rather do that than go out with us. And that was when I got really offended. I mean, yes, we’re different, but if you’d rather hang out in a bar alone than be around me, we have a problem.
I didn’t know her before she came, and now that I was getting to know her, her behavior was making me really not like her. Again, I’m not saying she was there to jump his bones…but something was just too intense about this for me.
Step 6. Be That Girlfriend Who is a Picky Eater.
Eric offered more negotiations. Even though we’d had other dinner plans, she wanted to stay in and eat pizza. I was not pleased. I asked “Pizza from where?” and Eric was like, “I don’t know…Domino’s?”
Eric and I were standing facing each other and I think he had his hands on my arms in a nice, boyfriendy way. I made a face like a three-year-old being told she had to eat spinach and twisted my body away from him in an indignant huff.
I mean, was my boyfriend trying to hurt me?
I agreed to pizza from Whole Foods and then to leaving her at another bar on our way out.
We should have just quit while we were ahead. But due to some miscommunication, Eric hadn’t realized we were meeting Caitlin and her family at the bar. Once Eric realized we were going out with more people, he asked her if she’d like to come, because he didn’t want to be rude. Once Polly realized that we were going out with a larger group, she agreed to come along.
Her sheer delight when she realized I wasn’t going to be the only other person there made me want to just claw her eyes out.
Step 7. Be That Girlfriend Who Makes Bitchy Comments and then be That Couple Who Fights in Public and Makes Everyone Else Feel Awkward.
We headed to BRC, a pretty nice Houston gastropub I have been dying to try. Polly wore a super-tight thin neon yellow T-shirt dress, sheer neon purple leggings, and gold heels. We met Caitlin and her brother and sister-in-law and ordered beers.
I wasn’t slamming drinks or anything; perhaps if I had had more of my beer, I wouldn’t have been so cranky. Instead, I sipped slowly and just focused on talking to Caitlin. When Polly got up to go outside and smoke, I said something nasty to Eric about it and he told me to be nice. And with that, we totally were That Couple: holding hands, but arguing forehead to forehead in stage whispers, forcing tight-lipped smiles when necessary.
Step 8. Start heading toward being That Girlfriend Who Gets Inappropriately Drunk.
After BRC, we headed to The Drinkery and I was ready for some hard stuff. I bought Caitlin a shot and then bought myself a shot of tequila and a vodka and water. I think I am past the point in my life in which I drink my feelings, but I totally needed that to take the edge off that night. I ended up having a great time with Caitlin and her brother, in between totally ignoring Polly and being super polite and businessy to Eric. (“Would you like to leave now? I know you were feeling rather tired earlier today. Oh no, dear boyfriend, I insist we leave now if you are ready.”)
Every time I’d make eye contact with Polly, she’d give me a huge, fake smile. I mean, I’m pretty toothy, but I could see her goddamn molars at this point.
I. Was. Over. It.
Luckily, my tolerance saved me in this case. The drinks took the edge off — thank God I only had one tequila shot — but didn’t lead me to say anything I’d later regret.
Step 8. Be That Girlfriend Who is Loud So that That Boyfriend is Always Saying, “Could you please keep your voice down?”
Once we got back to Eric’s apartment, he apologized for making me upset and we started discussing what had happened. As I got more upset, I started being That Girlfriend, whining not-quietly about how I didn’t understand why I was the one who had to be nice, when clearly she was unstable. Then he’d be That Boyfriend, telling me to lower my voice. I’d get all That Girlfriend and screech, “I don’t fucking care if she hears me!” and he’d respond as That Boyfriend, saying, “I know you don’t care, but I do!”
The arguing went on at barely above a whisper for about an hour and was beyond exhausting. It was all things we’d argued about before (i.e. my need to feel like people are loyal enough to go to bat for me vs. his need to make everyone happy and avoid confrontation) and nothing was resolved. He kept trying to get me from going to bed angry, but eventually, we just did. He drove me home yesterday and I told him that I wasn’t coming back over that night to spend the night, because I didn’t want to be around either of them.
Step 9. Be That Girlfriend Who Cries All The Time.
Let me just say, I am not a crier. At all!!! Ever! I don’t react with tears!!!! But holy shit…yesterday, as the arguing continued for several more hours, I just kept bursting into tears. Every time, I’d be aware on some level that I was being That Girlfriend Who Cries All The Time, but then I’d just get even more upset and let the mascara run.
Seriously, watch your relationship fall apart over a pink mullet and see how strong you are.
Step 9. Be That Girlfriend Who Finally Suggests a “Break.”
I mean, we had reached a point where it seemed like we were dealing with some major dealbreakers.
Step 10. He’ll be That Boyfriend Who Stands Outside a Restaurant On His Phone Arguing With That Girlfriend.
Step 11. Be That Couple Who Gets All, “Baby I love you so much” at the End of a Fight.
And what a great context in which to first use the “L” word it was.
Seriously, I don’t know whether to be happy we worked it out or to just hate myself for how everything went down this weekend. I just want to throw up, take a shower, go to sleep, and wake up to realize none of this nonsense ever happened.
At least her ass is currently en route to Kansas.
I’ve never been so glad to see Monday morning before.