When I first met The Husband he was working at a record store. He didn’t own a suit, drove a beat up VW Fox, and “green fees” only referred to what he paid his pot dealer. We slept on futons, we had roommates, and we were happy. Young & in love didn't leave a lot of time for upward mobility, but we didn’t expect much anyway. Even if someone offered us our own house in the suburbs, we wouldn’t have taken it. I don’t know what I thought was worse: the idea of being a grown-up or not living in walking distance of a bar.
Eventually, perhaps miraculously, things changed. I won’t lie and say that everyone grows up, because if you’ve seen those sad aging-hipsters, you know that’s not true. But upon moving to Happy Valley, I did believe that even though all the little boxes on the hillside looked the same, inside there would be juicy stories. No one is born a bottle-blond, SUV-driving soccer-mom, right? I have been lucky enough to find some of my neighbors who admit to a past of dead-end low-paying jobs and brash tales of youthful sluttiness. And many will rat out their now-important husbands of similar behavior. “Oh my God, Bill is so boring now, but he used to be a coke whore.” Or, “David has skeleton eagle tattooed on his back from his Hesher days." I live for this. And in turn hang onto these women tightly because even if they have turned blonde, bland & banal, they had a past and, we all know, it only takes 2.5 shots of tequila to bring the it out. But midway through a Tio Leo's happy hour, you can see the fear of revealing too much in our eyes. Anything too scandalous can scar the social opportunities for our kids and we know it. If, let’s say, Jessica told me she turned the odd trick while on tour with the Dead, I’d still invite her to parties, but I’m not going to let my kids have a play date with hers. And if she told me she was Born Again, she'd be equally cut off. There is so many ways loose lips can sink social ships.
The concept that was completely foreign to me was that some of the other mommies would have pasts free of skanky exes, fixer-upper starter homes in the quasi-gentrified part of town, crazy roommates, and arrest records. These are the scary Stepford Bitches. They have no relatable past. They attended college and then shot straight to suburban stardom. Okay, well maybe one or two of them taught 2nd grade for a couple of years before meeting Mr. “High Six Figures” Right. They zeroed in on strictly successful men and married straight into 5 bedroom, 3 bath Barbie Dream Homes (which in a couple cases was their shitty starter home). Does this make them bad people? No. Not this alone.
Let me give you two real-life examples of the fast track to Happy Valley. Tina’s boyfriend, a doctor she met at work, moved her into a condo in Happy Valley because it was conveniently (arrogantly?) just down the hill from where he & his family lived. Eventually he left his wife and married Tina. My other example is Evelyn who is married to a pock-marked troll fourteen years her senior. She’s personable and he can’t string a sentence together, but he owned the company where she was working. From the stories she’s told (thank you Moscato) he essentially sexually harassed her, but also let her drive his Porshe when her Honda broke down...and she she had a lot of student loans.
If there is a MILF married to a much older or unattractive man, then it’s a given that we won’t share a back story. This isn’t to say that I don’t like my friends who are clearly trophy wives. Some of them are really nice. Like Sandy, for example. Her Crypt Keeper husband is an asshole and she is under constant pressure to look good (no one has ever seen her eat a carb, EVER!), but she’s so nice, funny, and upbeat. If it doesn’t bother her, why should it bother me? And Jamie never bitches about being married to a scarily hairy man who wears an ill-fitting Speedo at the PAC and picks his nose in public. However, she is a psychologist and I strongly believe people only go into the psycho-sciences to try to fix their own issues. Girlfriend has her own crazies, it’s clear.
I feel bad feeling bad for these women. I know that no everyone can marry a hot (or even once-hot) guy and that sometimes unfortunate looking men have really great personalities. I also know money plays into this somehow and that frankly that creeps me out. But when they have nicer houses than mine and nicer cars and they take their kids to Hawaii every Christmas and Europe every summer, how sorry should I feel? Looks fade. Love can go terribly, terribly wrong. Still makes me feel all gross though.
I’ve intentionally left out the dynamic in the two lawyer couples or the two doctor couples. I just don’t get them. They also, obviously don’t get me either. as I have very few working mom friends, but that’s another discussion for another day. The whole working mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate is passive-aggressively vicious around here. Not as big as the White moms vs. Asian moms issue, but… All in good time.