This was less of a full-on party, and more of people sitting around outside, eating, drinking, and chatting. Which is our favorite. By 7:30pm, we are pretty sure that only Nae and S’ron (graduated with Hubs) will be there. And that when S’ron leaves for work, the night will be over. But then one of the newer couples stops by. And they invite some friends.
We end up meeting several new people. Two of the newer guys (they’re still in the training program) get bombed, which eventually becomes awkward. However, I’m chalking it up to the whole military-esque displacement thing. They’re still very new to this. Most of them have only been here for about 2 months. And, since they all live in this complex, they can just walk home, which makes it kind of an easy way to end the night. (Also they’re very young, which is weird to be able to say, but still true.)
One female entertains us for a few minutes (early on), but quickly becomes difficult to talk to. She shows up later in the evening, a guest of a guest, and immediately attempts to dominate any conversation she is involved in. She doesn’t do this by contributing anything really extraordinary, but rather by talking louder and longer, and by maintaining an “I suck more” strategy.
If you’re not familiar with “I suck more,” it generally consists of one person attesting to the fact that they have done something bigger and better than everyone else, only in the negative. Thus, when a bunch of young men and women are sitting around talking about how long their hours are, how weird the shifts are, or how difficult fitting in has been, an “I suck more” person will have experienced all those things, but far more often, and far more painfully. And they will make sure you know this. Several times. (I am often guilty, I’m not afraid to admit.)
Unfortunately, the “I suck more” conversationalist is only really useful or entertaining when the discussion is a consensual “suck-fest” by all involved. That is, everyone must want to try to top each other regarding how terrible their life is. Thus, as a general rule, “I suck more” works better with a group of men. With women, it’s more difficult to sustain a successful suck-fest. This is because women inherently shy away from casual competition, preferring (instead) to engage in the occasional fight-to-the-death.
So, Nae and I, along with two other women, are sitting around discussing the difficulty of finding jobs here in town, and sharing some resources we have discovered (one has a contact at a huge supermarket chain, another has info about classes at the community college, and yet another has just met an HR rep from the hospital). It’s important to note that, although there were elements of “I suck more” peppered into the conversation, it was really just a vehicle for airing out difficulties and trolling the group for ideas or options. We were not participating in a suck-fest.
Newest girl does not realize. (Or care.)
We end up listening to her talk about how much harder it is for her to find a job. Lots of italics and capital letters and exclamation points. Each of us attempts to jump in at a different time, to no avail. Mind you, newest girl is the least experienced of the group regarding job-hunting, having arrived here about 3-4 weeks ago. Nae and I are 8-month-ers, “rookie” friend has been here since May, and Bot is an official resident, having been here for nearly a year. Thus, we are not impressed. Nor are we really into an “I suck more” fest, since we’ve all tried that at least once before, and it just gets depressing fast when everyone actually participates. This we attempt to communicate to newest girl, unsuccessfully.
Suggestion: everyone moves inside. This interrupts the impromptu suck-fest, delights the guys, and gives everyone a chance to dry out (it’s uncharacteristically humid lately).
Unfortunately, she starts up again after only a minute or two inside. I then interrupt, inviting all the girls to stand up, introduce themselves to the group, and explain what they did “before” and what they were doing now. Nae, Bot, and Rookie jump in with gusto. The guys are entertained. Newest girl first declines to participate, and then does so very grudgingly. It doesn’t help that she goes last. (At least two people beat her in the official suck-fest.)
(Do I need to explain here that this was our metaphorical fight-to-the-death and this girl lost miserably? A perfect example of why girls avoid overt competition. Someone always gets hurt…)
Two minutes later, she’s moved so she’s in the middle of the guy’s group, and (despite our best efforts) we become increasingly aware of her conversation from across the room (volume went way up). She begins to tell a hilarious story about how she saw this SUPER-ripped guy walk out of a Jeep the other day, with an absolutely AMAZING tattoo and OH he must work out like a CRAZY man and I simply HAD to know who he was and isn’t it so FUNNY that it’s you?! Etc, etc, etc… For several minutes. Staring at Hubs the whole time. (Because that’s who she was talking about.)
Didn’t look at me once. Hubs, however, keeps shooting “save me” glances in my direction. Meanwhile, suck-fest’s new fiance, Chad (or Shawn. or Bowzer. I honestly don’t remember) is polishing off an entire bottle of Jose Cuervo’s 1800 tequila with one of the other guys. He then asks if he can play the guitar. I shake my head at Hubs but there’s no stopping Showzer. As Mrs. Chawn continues to gush over my perfect husband, her own man belches a cloud of tequila and bile, and strums a painful 2.5 chord progression on the handmade guitar that’s worth more than his life.
I walk back outside, into the jungle heat. Where I am promptly joined by all of the females minus (soon to be Mrs!) “I suck more.” Where we stay for the remainder of the evening.
PS: Our dog behaved perfectly. Take that, angry vet.