Coin of the Realm linked to this post in Halley’s Comment. It’s kind of funny in a cruel, sad way. The author, Halley Suitt, doesn’t feel like she fits in with the upscale suburban moms in her upscale suburban suburb.

She feels excluded by them, they make catty remarks about her and are generally nasty — unlike the unconditional positive regard and deep respect she has for them:

There’s something tame and well-fed and well-cared for about most of the other mothers I see when I walk through my kid’s school. They look obedient and mediocre to me.

They are like well-groomed pets. They are very pretty mothers. I’m sexier and edgier. It seems like there’s something forbidden about mixing mothering and sexiness for a lot of suburban mothers. Better to sit around and wear pastel pants suits and get fat. Ugh. I think it’s a shame. I don’t want to look like “a happily married wife and mother” — I never was one and I’ve given up pretending to look like one, if I ever did look like one[…]

These housewives seem to love their boring, mediocre lives. They can be nasty and vicious to outsiders, that’s the coin of their realm.

Funny, that may be the coin of the other suburban moms’s realm but Halley seems to be jingling a fair amount of pocket change herself.

The whole thing is interesting to me as a case study in “violent communication,” the way people can naturally come to confirm each other’s worst fears about each other. Perhaps also because a good friend of mine is in a not entirely dissimilar position with regards to her neighbors, though most of the details are different.

I’m sure that with many mutatis mutandis I’ve been in parallel situations myself with regards to people or groups of people with whom I’ve been at odds for one reason or another. This is a situation alien enough from my own experience (despite having kids about that age) that I can view it with some detachment and see the self-perpetuating tragedy of it. I’m sure many times I have not been able to have that kind of detachment. So this is an interesting little story to read with a kind of “can’t look away from the auto accident” attitude, but it’s also interesting because everybody’s lived that story in one way or another.

BTW, Halley wrote a series of articles on being an “alpha male” that I assumed would make me hate her but when I randomly picked one to read I found it was touching and made me like her. So there you go. Whether you hate or admire somebody is probably going to depend a lot more on how you get acquainted with them, in what context, what part of their complex selfhood you happen to latch onto and use as a stereotype to define them.

All that from a link on Huh.