Sunday, August 11, 2013

In Defense of the "Bad Hostess"

I was called a bad hostess.  Well, I didn't mean to be.

You see, there wasn't enough time and there were some major problems.  Problems that had me on edge, exhausted, and my stomach in knots for literally weeks beforehand. How's that for a date you've been hoping for, for years??

I know my anxiety showed in my face, because he mentioned it.  I'm sure it was evident in other ways.

First was the less than elegant location.  Walls that needed painting, furniture that was so wrecked it was replaced a few weeks later when the order finally arrived, and carpets so horribly stained that three days' consecutive scrubbings-on-knees and steam cleanings didn't improve much.  I didn't get finished putting things in order because I had nowhere to put anything.

Throw in my anxiety over seeing someone for the first time in five years, then being dressed down for not providing enough room in my driveway when I couldn't pull into the carport, wearing heels and a dress with a noticeable limp in my stride, and I was nervous enough about being judged on appearances.  Since he never said I looked nice, I must not have looked good enough.

I did a lot of things wrong that day, and I believe I was viewed as nothing more than the sum of my flaws.  Add his criticisms to the harsh voice I already hear in my head, and it's no wonder I didn't disappoint him even more than I did.  Last time he was here, he had been critical because I had something stored in a cardboard box.  A freaking cardboard box.   Did I criticize anything when I was at his house? No. I could have, but a good *guest* politely ignores the shortcomings of someone else's  home and housekeeping.  Who couldn't do several things better, after all? 

It's obvious I'll never be able to do anything right.  I just didn't realize that it makes me contempt-worthy. Still, I'm a better person that those who hold contempt from afar, who judge others based on the lies they were fed.

You know, I didn't have anyone who taught me anything about etiquette.  What little I know, I learned from books and magazine articles.  I'm sure my self-education was a bit sketchy in some areas.  But I do clean up well, even if nobody notices the effort that went into it.

Well, I apologize for not having any sodas in the house.  If they are there, I will drink them.  Pepsi is my favorite, and I absolutely crave it if it's in the fridge.  I had been on a pure veggie & fruit juice diet for ten days by then, and had finally lost my obsessive cravings for both Pepsi and solid food.  I'd had a migraine for the first six days, which I had spent exhaustively deep cleaning my house despite the pain. I couldn't handle the temptation of Pepsi when I had just kicked my caffeine addiction, painfully.  

I had made iced tea for my company.  Well, sort of.  That was the day I discovered my ice maker had stopped working.  So the tea was chilling in the refrigerator, and I hoped he wouldn't mind that there was no ice.  I hoped the tea would be cold by the time he arrived, which was 4:00.

Okay, it was supposed to be 4:00.  He texted me a little after 4 to say he was running late, and just leaving his house. Not a problem, except that he lives two HOURS away.  I was beginning to have a flashback to eleven years before when we had three dates, and he cancelled every one the day of.  One time he cancelled as I thought he was driving here.  One was a seemingly good reason. Maybe it really did happen.  The other two were not good reasons.  They made it obvious he just didn't want to see me. I knew there was no point in fighting the situation.

So, you know what I was thinking.... He's going to blow me off again. My anxiety doubled.  It felt exactly the same as it did then.  I went to my bedroom to lie down and watch tv, and try not to cry, because the thought in my mind was that it would be easy just to take some sleeping pills, erase the day, and start over the following day with lower expectations of the world.

Well, he did show up two hours late after all, without explaining why he was late.  All I can figure is that he was just reluctant to see me and put it off as long as he could, then gave himself an easy out so that he could leave early afterward.  

I've had a really hard time convincing myself that any of this was intended to spare my feelings.  It's like a parent beating his child saying, "This is for your own good."  No it isn't.  It's an excuse for deliberately hurting someone smaller and weaker, just to purge his own anger because the child made a mistake. (And the classic response to the crying, hurt child : "Stop that crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" Yeah, that works.  Terrify the child that it can get far worse and they will magically thank you for beating them. Actually, I think it makes them realize that the next step is a violent death, because they... weren't... perfect.) 

 I tried so hard to be perfect.  I wanted to be the one kid in the family who never broke their glasses, who always made good grades, who never got parents called to the principal's office, who never asked for expensive clothes, who never called to go home even when I was dreadfully sick. (6 year record on that last one.) Yeah, none of those things count for anything. I'd have better off if I'd been the most high-maintenance hell raiser they'd ever seen, instead of being as meek and undemanding as I could figure out how to be.  I was afraid to ask for attention, because I feared being told no when I really needed help.

Back to the topic at hand.  Let me just say this - I don't really understand what's going on in this whole situation, though I have suspicions.

None of this did me any good as far as remembering to offer him a glass of tea went.  He didn't ask for anything to drink either.  I'm still worrying over whether that was the straw that broke the camel's back and made him decide on how to treat me after that.  Maybe that's what made him hate me and then dismiss me completely. Others see a sweet, romantic side of him; I guess I've seen the dark side.  It's the only side of him I've ever seen, and I forgave him for hurting me. Repeatedly. What a stupid little black sheep I am.  

I'd give credit for the photo, but all I know is that looks like it came off some men's underwear. My apologies to the person I stole it from on Facebook.  Please don't hate me too, because I used your graphic.  

And you know what? He's damn lucky I didn't give him a glass of tea! It was the WORST tea I've EVER made! Almost the worst tea I've ever tasted as well.  I ended up throwing out every tea bag and buying a completely different brand after that fiasco.  I poured all of that tea but the bit I swallowed down the drain.  

So I'm a bad hostess, and that apparently renders me unworthy of consideration and kind treatment.  At least I didn't feed him something nasty and expect him to compliment me over it. I apologize for my glaring imperfections. They're what make me. 

To err is human; to forgive, divine.
                        ~ Alexander Pope

I've asked forgiveness too many times from the people who were truly at fault.  I've been punished for the sins of others in someone else's past.  It would be a relief to no longer be the constant target of misplaced revenge.  And to turn off love when it only hurts.

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