It was an odd situation. There I was, surrounded by three people who told me, readily, constantly that they loved me, and I had rarely felt less supported, more cornered.
It had started with shopping followed by dinner and drinks: A pitcher of margaritas, radioactive green, cheap as hell, and a la pokemon, super effective.
Our designated driver dropped us back at my house. More drinks were poured. The DD popped out for Krispy Kreme, knowing that he was jonesing donuts already completely sober, and after he joined us in downing a few cocktails, that craving would almost certainly crescendo into a need.
I found some shoes for one of my friends that were just ill fitting on me but I had a hunch would fit her like a glove. They did. She pranced around, checked herself out in the mirror. I changed into the dress I’d picked up earlier from the Limited, a two-tone blue number that managed to be classic and modern that seemed to be hugging me in all the right places. Better still, it’d been on clearance for $16. I snatched a pair of 5-inch black and blue chunky stilettos (quintessential fuck me heels) that I’d been having trouble pairing ever since I’d scored them on the cheap on eBay in the early spring. I re-emerged to show my friends in the living room what I’d thrown together, pleased with the result.
It’s a bit of a blur exactly how events transpired. I sipped my drink, chatted, at one point ruminating in typical TMI Drunken Page fashion about a lovely evening earlier in the week when Skyspook had lightly strangled me while I masturbated myself to orgasm. I’m sex positive and pretty open minded in general, but after a few drinks, any reservations I have about discussing these sorts of things completely melt away, and I often lapse into an alter ego who channels Penthouse Letters and Dorothy Parker. It is what it is.
“Page,” my friend said, “I need you to stop.”
“Oh, okay.” I said. She and my other friend present at this time exchanged knowing looks. I felt a jolt of anxiety. On one hand, I thought I should probably let it go. On the other hand, I started to worry, to feel like I was missing out on some important social cue, buzzed and oblivious. Besides, nobody likes to be left out. “Am I bothering you?” I asked.
We went back and forth a bit, her wanting to say, my wanting to hear, but both of us hemming and hawing until she finally said, “I have feelings for you.” She wanted to know how I felt about her.
I nodded. “I told you the first time I met you that you were my type,” I told her. True story. “If we were in college, I’d totally ask you out to coffee and then try to get you naked back in my dorm room.”
Somewhere in all of this, the designated driver returned to the house with 2 dozen donuts while the intense emotional conversation was in full swing. My other friend chimed in at every opportunity with a plethora of unsolicited criticisms, editorializing, and advice, accusing me of projection, over complication, self-delusion, tangents that further overwhelmed me. As I struggled to articulate my complex feelings on the matter at hand but getting wrapped up in clarifying misinterpretations of my intentions and emotions, defending myself from the peanut gallery, getting distracted by other emotional matters, I was told by my other two friends that I was being rude, not responding to her the way that I should. I completely shut down, sobbed.
Though this friend had told me before, just that afternoon, that she really didn’t think polyamory was something would work for her, now she was saying, “I know it’d be a lot of work, but I think you’re worth it.”
I felt like shit. As wonderful a sentiment as she had just expressed, I didn’t want her to think that I was saying back, “Yes, it is a lot of work, but I don’t think you’re worth it.” Because it was and is so much more complicated than that.
I said. “Yes, I’m attracted to you, and you’re a wonderful person, but I’m monogamous right now, so I don’t even let myself go there.”
And yet the conversation miserably would not seem to end. Not until she’d sobered up and could drive home, and the party dispersed.
I took today off, and I never do that.