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    My then-husband and I negotiated and agreed he would just call comedy guy.  I told him that if comedy guy gets his phone number, that could be problems down the road as I no longer could assume decency.  He said he would call from a pay phone.  I felt much better about that more thought-out response than what might be more viscerally satisfying.  The behavior amongst some on the website sometimes seemed to show me how the killing in the Middle East could go on endlessly.  If no one makes a decision to search for another way, nothing changes.  No matter how awful the damage.  People dig up their own ugliness and dump it on the other (whoever the 'other' happens to be). 
    One of the things that bothered me on the website was how he portrayed himself so differently than the he that was shown to me.  I'm sure his wife got it to a much worse degree.  I could tell by his tone when he spoke of her.  Her punishment for having once loved him.  The judgment of his male peers meant a lot to him.  He was okay with women who had an acceptable place in society, a stereotypical slot.  "Mother to all" "sweet girl" -- that type of thing that tells me the more complete person inside is going unrecognized, dismissed in a way.  When we get categorized that way, guess what category that leaves.  Well, if having a sex life involving others makes one a whore, I was too penis-free to fit that category.  So he didn't know what to make of a person who is female, not obedient or dumb, not ugly, wanting her divorce, challenging the status quo by simply thinking and breathing, getting the reins back on her life.  I probably seemed a lot like his wife. 
    My then-husband called him and firmly said he wanted whatever was going on to stop.  When comedy guy tried to speak, then-husband cut him off and told him he didn't want to hear explanations and just wanted it to stop.  Comedy guy said, "I'll stop," as if I were the problem.  He never said he was sorry for sinking so low or anything like that.
    When I went on the website, he was gathering his fellas and referring to me as a wimp for getting my husband to call him.  The asshole had no clue that this was after bargaining then-husband down to a phonecall from an ass-kicking.  Now I wanted to slap his face myself.  I was fuming.  After all this effort to not take this path, I wanted to leave my handprint on his face.  He called me a wimp because my husband still gave a shit to some degree, but he's okay with himself wanting to fight with an older woman.  I think that's more 'wimpy' if we are going to use male-centered language and measurement of courage.
    The universe redirected me.  I didn't see him for quite a while.  This story could have had a very different outcome.
    On the website, I could still feel the hostility.  On a couple of occasions when I shared with a few people that I was thinking about leaving the site, one man gave me the impression that they were acting that way to eliminate their competition and I should be strong and stay.  Another told me it would be awful for a community to lose me and keep those guys (he was referring to a couple of the assholes).  Plus for whatever reasons, I thought this was the comedy community.  I didn't see clearly yet how much of the comedy community did not bother with that site.  Many registered but didn't participate.
    One of the guys I liked on the site was running an open mic.  I wrote him asking if comedy guy attends.  He wrote back telling me it would be so much better if we could make peace and just sit on opposite sides of the room.  We were so past that option at this point, but this guy didn't know.  So I decided to let him know how much I tried for peace and what comedy guy was doing instead.  This was a more mature acting man than the others though they were comedy friends.  This guy was happily married and generally respectful.  He'd never imagine the sides of men that only women get to see.  So I shared the comment and asked him if his wife was spoken to that way, would he think she should make peace when he didn't even apologize.  I told him that comedy guy thinks I got my husband on him when it was the exact opposite; I basically kept my husband off of him.  This man read the comment (which was letter-size) and wrote back saying that after certain lines are crossed, there may be no going back.  I appreciated his earnestness.  I even told him that after the wimp remarks, I wondered if I should've let my husband do whatever he wanted.  This man said that as long as there was no imminent danger, he would advise against violence.  I told him that was my goal, but no guarantees.
    It was obvious to me that he confronted comedy guy about the depths he sunk to.  Comedy guy's remarks on the website were now references to technology and how someone is always watching and there's always evidence.  So he was only sorry he couldn't deny it to his fellas.  He wasn't sorry to me for being so horrible.  One of his asshole friends who he adored read the comment and told me he didn't want to judge because he didn't know what happened before like maybe I pushed his child down a flight of stairs.  Okaaaay, this is when their dick-bond was causing serious blindness.  After all, pushing toddlers down steps is my favorite pastime -- Lord help us.  And of course when an adult pushes your child down a flight of stairs, don't call the police or anything -- just wait a few days and write her about her hygiene on social media.  These are college graduates, by the way.  So I, who didn't find an adolescent boy's picture something to laugh at, prefer to get my kicks by pushing two-year-olds down steps. 
    So at this point, my husband spoke to him intimidatingly, I revealed what he thought no one would see and he was shamed among his dudes, but he was still indirectly expressing things to me, so I knew it was still simmering (whatever the 'it' was that was making him so hostile toward me). 
    On the website, he actually credited some man for never booking him.  He wrote, "At least you knew I was an asshole."  That is how guilty he felt for screwing things up with me and how unable he was to apologize in any real way that he credited someone for never booking him, indirectly blaming me for the crime of being a comedy friend.  That was the moment I told myself, "Mindy, that's what happens when you treat someone well who doesn't like himself.  You have got to learn this, girlfriend, or it will keep happening.  Look at how it looks, feel how it feels, and don't forget.  There's no shortage of people like this."
    My best friend was amazed at what comedy guy wrote about himself and admitted he felt sorry for comedy guy.  I said I did too, but I had to figure out what my plan would be because I knew it wasn't over.  It was suppressed.  He knew there were no secret rooms for his insanity.  I was hanging it out for others to see.  I was not taking on the shame.  This definitely wasn't going the way abusive people need it to.
    Having been a parent and done some reading for different ideas on handling problems, one of the things I learned that can be helpful with a misbehaving child is to catch them being good and give him/her attention for it.  The point being everyone needs and seeks out attention.  If one doesn't get it for good things, they will do bad to get it.  This makes sense to me.  I know that everything alive (including plants) screams for attention in their own ways.  Still trying to think of how I might approach it if I were a dean in a JHS, I decided I would wait until I could say something positive about him that would be genuine.  I knew this could take a while.  If it wasn't going to be genuine, there'd be no point. 
    Given his typical behavior, I didn't know if there would be such a moment.  I also didn't know if I'd be able to stay on the track toward a peaceful resolution.  My then-husband asked me about the situation and when he heard about the wimp remarks, he was all set to go find him.  I shared the conversation my best friend and I had (see part four).  I made him promise me that he'd hold on until I can do what I hoped to be able to do first, and then if that made no impact, well then I'd let him handle it man-style.  It is less time-consuming and can be efficient for the short-term.  I was concerned more about the long-term and about what felt right to me.  Peace is truly a road less traveled, so I had to figure shit out along the way.  My then-husband had no patience for the high road, but somewhere in him he valued my approach.  He raised his eyebrows, sighed, and said, "You will have really good karma."
 be continued...

  2. 4 comments:

    1. Unknown said...

      amen, or is it a men? do they really have the answer? Maybe…I'll wait and see what's next, but I know a boiling pot that continues to boil over, one day it explodes….

    2. oh Barbara, my preference is to turn the tide and not just react, but sometimes ...

    3. Canada Anne said...

      very well written. My favorite line is:"Her punishment for having once loved him." so true.

    4. Thanks for reading, CA. I appreciate what you appreciate.

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