the ugly side

I debated writing about this, because writing about something this personal on a (semi) public blog feels a little bit weird. But honestly, I need to process. And in the end, I think it's important for people to see intolerance in their daily lives, so that they don't get casual about it and think only other people are intolerant.

Yesterday morning started the way most of my mornings start: alarm goes off, I jump in the shower.

And that is where the normal ended.

Because when I went to the kitchen for my bowl of off brand Grape Nuts (they are salty and weird and my Post brand loyalty is reaffirmed), my roommate's mother decided she wanted to have a chat with me. About my behavior the previous night.

I don't want to get into the specifics (because they're involved and boring at once) but I will say that this woman, who doesn't know me at all, who had only met me a few days before and seen me a handful of times since then...this woman who had been staying in my home for four days without me knowing about it beforehand, this woman essentially called me a slut.

In my home. In the apartment I pay rent on. At 9:30 on a Tuesday morning when I was innocently trying to get some cereal.

Want to know why? Because she felt I was flaunting my intimate acts and disrespecting how sacred intimacy is. And offending her daughter, whose room is next to mine.

Couldn't we do those intimate things at his place? she wanted to know.

Want to know what horrible intimate acts were going on behind that closed bedroom door? Folding laundry and watching Netflix. Folks, there wasn't even cuddling going on. D and I are far too embroiled in Battlestar Galactica (don't judge) to let cuddling get in the way.

Couldn't I apologize to her daughter and be a peacemaker and just tell her how sorry I am for having boys (plural, apparently) spend the night?

Who were these boys? I wondered. The fact that there was no boy in the apartment in the morning did not seem to dissuade her from the belief that one had slept there. There was no speaking logic to this woman, so righteous in her anger, so crazy in her eyes.

Despite the fact that I told her she was acting inappropriately and that she was overstepping her bounds, she continued. In fact, she wouldn't let up, even when I told her I wasn't going to discuss this with her. That if her daughter had a problem she should speak to me about it. I wanted to say a lot of things during that conversation. But I mostly held my tongue because even though I know they would've hit home, they wouldn't have advanced my argument.

I think I'm a pretty nice person.  But it only goes so far. I won't have someone question my character in my home without even knowing me. I won't have someone make assumptions and try to shame me for what could not have been more innocent behavior.

After all the shaking and the raised blood pressure and the adrenaline coursing through me (anger is so invigorating, no?)...I mostly realized how lucky I am. That I have parents who taught me how to be an adult, and who support me. That everyone I talked to about this had my back. That I have a lovely other roommate who asked bad roommate to move out (we're still discussing this). That I have a wonderful new person in my life who got his panties in a twist about it, and who checked in with me several times throughout the day, and who planned a fun date to cheer me up.

As a sort of epilogue, the mother left me an apology note, saying that she hates Rush Limbaugh and wouldn't want to be associated with a word he uses (ie, calling people sluts). It wasn't so much an apology though, was it? Maybe she'll realize that she was being just as intolerant and judgmental as someone she abhors. But probably not.

Anyway, that's the story of the slut shaming I endured for one of the most innocent nights I've ever spent with a boy.

*this post title references the ugly side of religion. Because this woman's argument was very religiously based, and I don't think there's anything worse than using Christian beliefs to defend your bigotry.

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