I was at a home party at a friend’s house, along with 25 other ladies. After the party, I found myself standing with two women: Ashley*, a good friend of mine, and Joan*, an acquaintance. Ashley was my son’s preschool teacher, and Joan was asking about the preschool and how my son liked it. I responded quickly and dead straight, “He loves preschool, and his teacher. The teachers are great - they’re not all crack whores like Ashley.”
Ashley roared with laughter and gave me a little push. I was kidding, of course. Ashley is NOT a crack whore. She is a lovely woman with a lovely family who lives in the next development over. She isn’t even the type of person who would ever see a crack whore. We live in the suburbs. I smirked and waited for Joan to laugh. She didn’t, but gave a non-committal “huh” and excused herself. The next day, the guilt I felt over my comment ate at me for hours. My friend is not a crack whore; what kind of parent makes a remark like that about her child’s preschool teacher? What kind of a person was I to call my friend such thing? Plus, I hardly knew Joan. I came off as completely tasteless, not to mention judgmental about crack whores.
I called my husband at work for advice. I could see him rolling his eyes, thinking “why doesn’t she get a job?” He said that if I was so upset about it then I should apologize to both women. He was right. This was the best way for me to overcome my guilt and coarse reputation. Calling Ashley was easy; I told her I was out of line, I didn’t think she was a crack whore or even resembled one, I loved that she was my son’s teacher and I was sorry for being rude. We laughed about it again, and she advised me to apologize to Joan to repair my impression. I was nervous about talking to Joan because I wanted the conversation to be quick and painless and not awkward, and I knew it wouldn’t be any of that.
I called Joan, and sensed immediately that she was confused about the call. I worked up the courage to get to the issue. “Joan, I wanted to apologize for calling Ashley a crack whore last night. It was off-color and untrue, and I’m really embarrassed. I feel bad for saying it and I had to call to say it was out of character. I’m sorry.”
I was so relieved and proud of myself for doing such a difficult thing. I could face my children with the knowledge that their mother is a strong, astute woman. What a lesson to teach them.
A moment passed. Joan responded, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Turns out she didn’t even hear the comment, and I outed myself as being trashy and crude. Again.
*names are changed to protect the more socially refined