We did talk about his friends. Not right away, it took me a while to work up to it, for a few reasons. One is that I discovered there is no way to express, “your friends are big meanies who are mean to me” without sounding like a whiny brat. The other is that, even though I know and trust that he loves me, these people have been in his life for decades. I have been barely months – I do not want to in any way make him feel like he has to chose or take sides, and it was really hard to figure out just how to get that message across, while still being honest about what happened.
In the end he brought it up. Because of course he knew about Friday from the girls. They feel horrible apparently. ABBA Girl didn’t know I’d been invited, and anyway she broke up with the latest dude Friday daytime so was pouring out her heartbreak to her best friend who was of course focusing on that and spaced a little until she suddenly looked at the time at like 10pm and thought, “shit I was supposed to text Regan ages ago!!” And was just about to, when the Viking called her.
Which is a pretty reasonable explanation. It happens. I’ve done stuff like that. I once totally forgot to invite someone to a party – and it was genuine, I had run into them during the day, asked them to come along, promised to text with directions etc then got caught up with preparations and they suddenly flashed across my mind at 3am, while – I’m sorry to admit this publicly but I promised myself I’d be honest in this blog however I came across – I was doing a beer bong. Moving on… 😉 Also, if this had been a regular Friday night, I would have been out with my friends anyway and might have dropped by on them, or not, or have been grateful for an unexpected night in, and been like, “whatever”. It’s only because of circumstances that have nothing to do with them that it felt like a huge deal.
But then I talked – carefully – a little about Midsummer, and the coffee shop, and just generally their attitude to me. And he was like, “Oh sweetheart they love you!” Eventually he admitted that ABBA Girl (Ms Perfect who bakes bread and dates famous guys) is really shy and so can seem stand-offish to people when they first meet her. But he insisted that Asterix has been gushing about how great I am and how happy he is that the Viking has me.
Initially I felt like telling him that I’m not an idiot or paranoid and given to imagining that people hate me for no reason, but then he showed me some texts from Asterix. He had to translate them of course, but even I could see the exclamation marks that made it seem like an enthusiastic happy text telling someone their new girlfriend rocks.
So then I felt like I had totally misread the situation. They’re not effusive and go out of their way to welcome people and make them feel at home like Americans might, and maybe because I’m feeling kind of wobbly in life I snapped to the worst case scenario reading of their behavior. I don’t know.
Then I met Shining Armor Girl for coffee yesterday. She asked about my weekend, and – poor girl! – it was like a dam breaking and the whole story came out, including the last bit about the Viking insisting it was basically all in my head. She said: “no, they sound like assholes.” She said that Swedish people may be reserved, but they are polite and hospitable, they wouldn’t leave a stranger to sit on her own at – for example – the Midsummer dinner. I told her that sometimes they all speak Swedish and I just kind of smile politely and daydream and she said that was inexcusable. I found myself defending them a little, saying that we’re in Sweden, why should they all speak a foreign language for me? She replied that they can speak English and I can’t speak Swedish, end of story.
So now I’m torn. Shining Armor girl’s reading of the situation is definitely closer to mine, but on the other hand the Viking knows them well and of course was actually there for most of it. He asked me if I thought he would sit by and let people be horrible to me, and I hadn’t looked at it that way, but of course I don’t. I don’t know.