House Guest Inequality
When friends are taken back by house guest inequality.0
They say that after about three days, house guests, like fish, start to get old…quick. But like fish vary in stench, some house guests keep better than others. Some house guests are a pleasure. Such pleasurable house guests posed a sticky situation last month when my very dear friend asked if she could stay in my extra bedroom for a couple weeks while her apartment was being renovated. Without thinking or consulting my boyfriend, I excitedly agreed. This would be great.
For two weeks, we went to yoga, had dinner, and talked like the sisters we never had. My boyfriend played guilt free golf both weekend days. She walked our dog. On the second weekend, her landlord called saying her apartment was not ready. Thrilled to have her stay, I immediately told her yes. Upon relaying the news to my brother, he said, “You are letting her stay for three weeks and you wouldn’t even let me, your own brother, stay for four days?” As I rationalized away the distinction, I could feel his anger grow. We hung up the phone unhappy.
I recounted the conversation to my best friend who agreed. She said other people feel unwelcome in my home around the fourth day and pointed out that I had never lent her my car, my computer, or my cashmere pajamas.
When my boyfriend got home, he said he wanted her gone a week ago. It turns out he wasn’t reveling in her company as much as I was. In fact, he didn’t see her as the impeccable house guest I did. He pointed out faults and flaws I never saw, and requested kindly that she choose another friend “to invade.” How do you kick someone out when you already told them yes? When you already promised? Isn’t that horribly, horribly cruel?
I’m not sure the answer. I was honest with my friend and told her that while I loved having her, but it was getting a little tight in the apartment. My other friends were taken aback by my house guest inequality claiming I was unfair and rude. I considered explaining the rule of house guest equality, but quickly realized that was as crude as a stinky old fish. So I let it go, but if it comes again, I might hatch the rules. After all, shouldn’t friends who are stinky house guests become aware of their stench?
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