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Moms Who Are Fun
A true story
She’s at a bookstore cafe, having coffee with a new friend. A mom friend. A friend audition, really, the kind you stage when each of your children have giggled with one another at preschool, and at a certain point, after enough giggles and repeated requests for playdates have passed, perhaps after playdates themselves have passed, you both think to yourselves: ok then. Time to give this mom a shot.
Because you want to know if there’s friend chemistry, see. Or rather, you’re at the point where you more or less have to determine this. You’re going to interact anyway, at drop-offs and what not, so ok — let’s do this. Do I like you. Do you like me. Shall we keep this transactional? Do I have to tap a tank of small talk every time we hang out? Or, do you crave more. Do I crave more. Friendships are so hard to forge as adults, and look, our kids have opened up this small window of opportunity, sunlight peeking in. Maybe there’s something here. Maybe we’ll like each other. First it’s coffee, then it’s vacations. Shall we dance?
Here is what she knows:
The other mom likes to have fun. Fun here stands for drinking. There are different types of fun that are OK for different types of people. But drinking is acceptable fun for most people, because there are joke t-shirts on Etsy about it. And you can tap dance for a long time, maybe forever, on that line between rosé all day! and sloppy, because nobody will care unless you touch down unmistakably on the other side, the one with a mugshot and a sponsor and a newfound love of Christ and maybe a wrecked car. Then, people will care. But until then, if ever then, you’re good. You’re fun!
She also likes to have fun. But, it’s a fun she divulges on a need-to-know basis, because she earns money from this fun, and it involves taking her clothes off. And to share this kind of fun, she has to suss people out. Especially moms. “Mother” and “exotic dancer” are not identities people typically hold in their minds simultaneously, which she doesn’t take personally. She doesn’t need approval. She’s got a gorgeous downtown apartment, a college degree, and a bank account that weathered both a recession and a pandemic. She approves of herself. What she needs to know is: can this mom hang. Because if not, she’d rather not waste anyone’s time.
Fortunately, the need to come right out and say it rarely presents itself. She’s learned to read people and go from there. The ones who judge and the ones who don’t, the little tells that belie a person’s general attitude toward sex, women or both. You can talk about other things, celebrities for example, and deduce. Or, you can wait and watch. It’s usually not hard to figure out.
So we’re having our coffees and talking about our kids, and that’s when these two teenage girls walk by, she says.
She emphasizes the words “teenage girls,” articulating the syllables slowly and meaningfully. She wants you to note that detail. To picture it, for what she’s about to say next.
Oh my God, this mom said.
Can you believe what they’re wearing?
Shorts that rode up the backs of thighs. Shorts with stringy bits. Shorts that did not obscure the shapes of the bodies wearing them.
The mom’s face took on the shape of conspiratorial disgust. Tell me “they look like sluts” without saying “they look like sluts.” It’s all in the eyebrows, the downward slope at the corners of the mouth.
Teenage girls, she says again, protective. Not against predators. Against this other mom.
Wow, the mom said for emphasis. Wow, blinking back shock.
She’s got what she needs.
And so: she sets down her coffee.
Hey, I gotta run, she says. I forgot I had this thing. My calendar just went off. Soo great to hang out! Ok bye. See ya, bye.
She walks out of the cafe.
Out of the bookstore.
Out of an acquaintanceship budding into friendship, out of a shallow sinkhole of time, out of view of that mom.
Teenage girls, she says to me, one more time.
She starts her car, checks the mirrors, and drives home.
Thanks so much to the person who agreed to an interview, and shared their story with me. If you’re a mom with an anonymous story to share about yourself, sex, or anything tangentially related to sex, write me here.