If you’ve gotten to know me at all from reading this column, then you may have figured out that I’m a pretty practical girl. I’m not big on superstition, not a fan of forced sentimentality, and I have a low tolerance for vagueness. I’m also not very sensitive when it comes to social slights. If some friends have lunch and don’t invite me, I don’t take it personally. If someone forgets to call me on my birthday, I get over it. In other words, it takes a lot to make me upset.
Fortunately for me, I have nice friends, and I don’t get upset very often. But recently, I’ve found myself embroiled in what can only be called a middle school-like drama, and I am really, really pissed about it. Here’s what happened: Last year, my daughter’s preschool class had sixteen kids in it. Half of them we knew from before, including several whose parents I am very good friends with. The other half I didn’t know at all. The room mother was a woman from the half I didn’t know, and we’ll call her, oh, I don’t know, let’s see, how about, Bitch. Anyway, Bitch’s daughter was turning five at the very beginning of the school year, and for her birthday party, Bitch chose to invite only those kids her daughter knew from the year before, plus my daughter and one other girl.
Now, me not being sensitive about things like this, I was like, okay, whatever, and we went to the birthday party. It turns out, however, that other people are sensitive to things like this, and when the other parents in the class found out that Harper and this other girl were invited and their daughters were not, all hell broke loose. I should mention here that our preschool has a birthday party policy, which states that you either invite the whole class, or just the boys or just the girls from the class, but you may not pick and choose who you invite based on who your child likes the best, because that is just mean. Well, one of my friends, let’s call him Big Daddy, was so appalled by Bitch’s behavior – especially given that she was Room Mother – that he called her up and told her off, and then he called up the preschool Director and ratted Bitch out. You with me so far? Good.
When I heard about all of this, I actually spent some time trying to defend Bitch to Big Daddy. Not because I thought she was right, but because I thought he had slightly overreacted to the whole thing. Big Daddy, not surprisingly, disagreed, and he and his wife decided that they would HATE Bitch for all of eternity. Good old practical me, however, determined that, since I really had nothing to do with this, there was no reason why I couldn’t still be friendly towards Bitch and maintain my close friendship with Big Daddy. And that is how it went, for the rest of the school year. Bitch and I sometimes talked at pickup and drop off, and once, in March, she invited me and my kids over for a playdate, which went fine.
But then, out of nowhere, Bitch stopped talking to me. I think I first noticed it back in September. We both attended a meeting at the preschool, and when she walked into the room I smiled and tried to say hello, but she acted as if she didn’t see me. I thought, okay, maybe she didn’t see me, she did seem pretty involved with whatever she was doing on her phone. Then, a few weeks later, we were both at a birthday party, and she did it again. The next time she did it, I made a point of going up to her, getting right in her face, and saying Hi, Bitch (well, I used her real name, but Hi, Bitch is definitely what I wanted to say). And she smiled and pretended she hadn’t noticed me up until that point, and said hi, how are you, but then the next time I saw her she totally ignored me again. Which was fine, because I didn’t see her that often, but a few weeks ago Harper started a new gymnastics class after school, and guess whose daughter is in the very same class? That’s right, Bitch.
Now, as far as I know, I didn’t do anything to her. But I asked around, and what I’ve been able to get out of her friends is that she doesn’t like me because I am part of that group of friends from last year that includes Big Daddy, and apparently, we made her feel excluded. Like, can someone please hand me the Oxy 10, because I’ve been beamed back to eighth grade without even knowing it.
So, here’s what I want to know from you, dear readers: am I crazy or is this a totally ridiculous situation for a grown woman to be in? I mean, who even has time for something like this? Because I certainly have much bigger problems in my life than Bitch’s insecurities. But still, it’s eating at me. We have a lot of friends in common, Bitch and I, and the whole not-acknowledging-my-presence thing is just plain awkward. But I don’t know what to do about it. It’s been, maybe, twenty years or so since I’ve had to deal with anything like this and I can’t quite recall the proper protocol. Do I say something to her? Do I start ignoring her back? Or do I keep saying hello and letting her embarrass me in front of everyone I know? A little advice would be greatly appreciated. And if you tell me something useful, I’ll be your BFF and make you a friendship pin to wear on your shoelace.