Having nearly choked to death on a wholewheat bagel after reading the banners presented to incoming female students by the Old Dominion frat pack of Sigma Nu, I was somewhat bemused to learn that the said idiots had been expelled from, not only their house but the University too.
The elder daughter thought it hilarious and the younger gave the sort of withering look that forces testicles to rapidly ascend and spat out the phrase, ‘Assholes’. Neither daughter thought they should be expelled, just ignored. Unless, one pointed out, you fancied the offer. I myself was quite touched to see that ‘Moms’ were included in the ‘rowdy fun’. In fact I think I may have parked outside, popped in and presented the boys with my usual pre-‘rowdy fun’ contract, which generally require a shelf being put up in the bathroom and the lawn mowed. There is, after all, no such thing as a free lunch.
That parents and college authorities have labeled the Fraternity’s banners as acts of ‘sexual predation’ is as far from the truth as it’s likely to get.
Sexual predators don’t advertise their intentions on bed sheets draped from windows. They hide from view, wait till there is no one but your daughter around and then rape and murder her. What these boys have kindly provided for the young female undergraduates, is the badge of stupidity, which saves girls from having to invest time and emotion in discovering it for themselves.
This issue wouldn’t have raised more than a passing chortle from me usually but for the next couple of years I am going to be an occasional Los Angeles resident. It’s not that people or rude there, or unhelpful. They just don’t laugh at themselves, or find the absurdity in a situation. There is a gulf between individuals who find themselves amusing and assume you do too, and those who understand that 99.99% of every human being and 100% of all dogs that have ever lived, are assholes.
This is a scientific fact and our progress through life is marked by our increasing ability to understand, appreciate and share this condition. Please don’t labour under the illusion that I place myself in the latter category entirely. Get onto one of my favourite subjects, such as cruelty to animals and destruction of the environment and I can, in a matter of seconds, strap on a breastplate, grab my trident and ride into battle, every inch the Teutonic avenger.
So, it was with some degree of trepidation that I agreed to accompany my husband to a BBQ, with a group of LA independent filmmakers. I suspected that this was likely to be an event that wouldn’t present either them, or myself, in a particularly good light. We arrived, laden with social lubricant (three bottles of Californian white) and introduced ourselves to the group, who smiled without showing any teeth. My husband threw me one of those special glances, which I generally ignore, that tend to mean ‘Don’t!’. It was then that I realised the evening would be much, much worse than I could possibly have imagined: no one was drinking alcohol. I felt a little panicky and snatched a half litre plastic drinking glass off the table and, having praising my foresight at buying screw-capped Sauvignon, poured myself a good one. Turning to my neighbour, whose left leg was bouncing uncontrollably, I made an attempt at finding common ground. I am good at this, particularly after having downed a bottle of wine, which I was well on the way to. I asked if he had children. He and his partner looked unsure and then said they had dogs, which is in LA apparently, the equivalent. I rallied and showed them pictures on my phone of my kids falling off things, as an opening gambit. They returned the gesture by presenting photographs of their dogs wearing bows, designer jackets and sitting on cushions. This immediately excited the other guests, who all had dogs but none of the ten couples there had any children. I reached for the second bottle, ignoring the hissing sound emanating from my husband.
“Have you any tattoos?” asked the leg twitcher.
“I have ‘Up Yours’ tattoed on my backside,” I replied, cheerily. “Want to see it?”
There was a palpable silence, broken only by the sound of wine hitting tumbler. I was bored, inebriated and becoming a social pariah: a dangerous position for everyone to be in. Just as I was about to start discussing the menopause and prolapses, she arrived: my saviour! In her fifties, wearing silicon implants and the sort of make-up favoured by embalmers, she slammed three bottles of champagne onto the table and plonked herself next to me. “Are we the only ones drinking?” she said, in what we theatrical types describe as a ‘stage whisper’.
“You and me, girlfriend,” I slurred, falling deeply in love with her. This wonderful creature had children, gynecological issues and best of all, as we polished off the champers, a wonderful sense of humour.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s hope…