I’m allergic to fleabags

Morphology of a flea

Image via Wikipedia

by Madeline Laughs

When I was old enough to start making friends my grandfather had a saying he liked to share with me on any occasion that a friend betrayed me. He would puff really hard on his pipe and give me a long, hard stare. Pulling the pipe from his lips he would say “When you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” I’m pretty sure the phrase was coined before Avantix or flea powders, but it still carries a lot of weight with me today.

Recently I chided a friend for the company he was keeping. His response was to accuse me of being jealous of his friend. I laughed. Jealous of what, exactly? Should I be jealous that my friend would never talk to me like I’m a hooker or worse, a skank? Should I be jealous of a woman whose every mannerism and contact in a public forum on a social network is overtly sexual? 

I watched him and this woman make absolute fools of themselves online. In a secret group, where comments about political views are supposed to be private among 50 or so members, the two of them engaged in an all out cyber orgy complete with her asking him what kind of dick oil he was most interested in, flavored or non.

One of my old friends, new to the group, entered the thread unaware of what was happening, but seeing activity. He was looking for me and innocently asked if they had seen me. The woman got surly and my  other friend proceeded to attack him for interrupting their foreplay. Heated words were exchanged online and my friend left the secret political discussion group and never returned.

After calling my friend a jerk several times I asked him what he thought he was doing having a conversation of this nature in such a public arena. Why didn’t he take that conversation to a private place? He replied that doing that in front of all of the members was kind of the point. Then he told me the woman was “no deeper than a teaspoon” and when he respected a woman he never talked to her like that.

Surely everyone knows by now that this kind of unacceptable awkwardness is one of the outward signs of past sexual abuse and molestation? Of course, our culture is so overly sexual that this is subjective, especially for this woman’s age. This doesn’t change the fact that to continue to behave this way is definitely a lack of good manners.  There truly is a time and place for everything.

You’ll never guess, but my friend still interacts with this woman in much the same way as he always did, and she seems completely unaware of what he tells other people about her. If she is aware, then she’s just pathetic.

It reminded me of what my grandfather told me. I wondered, who was the fleabag here? At first I thought it had to be this clueless woman, but now I’m thinking the fleabag may be my friend. Or perhaps, they’re both fleabags and if that’s the case then they deserve each other. If he would say something derogatory about her to me, then what was he saying to her about me? This kind of behavior opens up all kinds of questions for me and takes way more time than I’m willing to invest in a relationship that is supposed to be fun and lighthearted.

I don’t lord my station, or lack thereof, in life over any of my friends. I also don’t introduce someone prefacing it with “his daddy is a judge” or “she’s a doctor!”. What you do for a living is neither here nor there as far as I’m concerned. I have no interest in your paycheck or your social status. Those aren’t the qualities that impress me. When I find someone that insists on advertising a person’s personal totem pole position I often wonder how genuine their fondness for me really is. Most of the time I find out just how unimportant I was all along, but since I was already prepared to be let down, the plop as I hit the grass has never bruised me too much.

There is another saying that comes to mind when discussing a topic of this sort and that is “Guilty by association”. This would imply that if you know someone and you’re friends with them, then you must be just like them. That’s just not true. I’d have to say if the person is highly irregular and you continue to nurture that friendship then you have the patience of a saint and that’s to be admired. Just because we like someone with blue teeth doesn’t mean we have blue teeth too. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

There are several categories of people that fall well within the lines of dogs with fleas. It’s up to you to decide which fleabag dogs you’d like to hang out with and which ones you just can’t tolerate.

I don’t have a set of rules I judge anyone by. I don’t even have a criteria I use in any vague sense of the word. I simply go by my gut reaction. I can tell within a few interactions with someone if it will be a lasting connection, however it takes a while for me to deduce the “fleas” or the dogs that have them. Even then I may give the fleabag the benefit of the doubt or just simply allow them to be who they are as long as they don’t subject me to their dysfunction.

I have always been very selective with who I choose to spend my time with. I feel my time is valuable, especially now that I’m older. I think everyone should exercise some kind of discretion in how they choose friends, mates, even pet sitters. A stitch in time, saves nine.

It’s the one thing in life we have complete control over and that is…our time and who we spend it with.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to I’m allergic to fleabags

  1. Arminda Meyerson says:

    “If you want to be loved, be lovable.” ~ Ovid


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