Serf and turf
Q: My boyfriend’s from a socially prominent family, complete with a long line of sycophants and hangers-on. I apparently passed the initial vetting process, but a year later, I still feel like I’m auditioning. He sometimes doesn’t invite me to events where everyone brings a spouse or a date. I feel like he and others don’t think I’m “fabulous” enough. He said his not including me is related to issues he has with letting go and trusting, and mentioned an ex who attended events with him, then let him know she was doing him a favor. I’m trying to be patient and gradual, stop analyzing, and just enjoy our time together. How else can I cope and make this work? — The Girlfriend
A: Perhaps you could do more to let these blue bloods know how much you and they have in common. Maybe mention how you learned the ABCs of diplomacy from your father’s work at the Embassy (Suites Hotel, where he’s the night manager). Share how you felt the day you discovered that you, too, are an heiress, as your father waved his hand over the family holdings, proclaiming, “Someday, this will all be yours.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t gesturing at the homes, the cars, the yachts, but at the boxes of crap piled up in the basement.
If that campaign doesn’t get you in, you might take a lesson from the society stiffs — those who made their money the old-fashioned way, by inheriting it from their robber baron ancestors — and stop trying so hard. You’ve already asked, watched, waited, avoided analysis; you’ve pretty much done everything short of enrolling in suck-up lessons at the community college. Yet, a year later, your boyfriend’s still trotting off solo to society events, leaving you to wait home on the foyer rug like the family dog. (Some girls get into the society pages, some just go on them.)
And why doesn’t he invite you? Um, because the boll weevil lays its eggs in early spring? That wasn’t the reason he gave, but it makes about as much sense as claiming it’s because his last girlfriend failed to express the proper measure of gratitude at her opportunity to be looked down upon by his fine relations. If the guy isn’t ashamed of you, he doesn’t seem to care enough to keep you from thinking so, and feeling that the guy you’re with isn’t proud to be seen with you is really damaging. Being “patient and gradual” won’t change a thing. You are who you are: a girl who winters in the exact same one-bedroom apartment where she summers, springs and falls.
Your real problem is your failure to be difficult. I’m not suggesting you start flying around your relationship on a broom, but that you become somebody who couldn’t fathom trying to “cope” with a guy who balks at presenting her to Mummy, Daddy, and the drunk trust fund uncles. Tell your boyfriend “I don’t date guys who don’t feel they can bring me around.”
And be willing to walk away. Don’t just get behind the idea of that; be a girl who needs her dignity more than she needs a boyfriend.
This should eliminate the need for icky conversations about how you’d like to be treated. Instead, you’ll communicate it from the start, from within: Oh, what’s that? They don’t want my sort around? Well, who wants them? My family got an engraved invitation to be here, right on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor; Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ... .” Nowhere does it say “Give me your stuck-up snots, your country club masses in scary-ugly golf pants yearning to get everything for free ... .”
2008 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.
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