Of the Stairs

Haley Moore

This is a true story.

I avoid social gatherings because, while I am a master of social cues (but not transcribing sarcasm), I often come off as rude in real life. What’s the equivalent of “resting bitch face” but for small talk? Natural cunt linguist. Something something Jessica Rabbit. “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” The universe hiccups when I compare myself to Jessica Rabbit.

I was invited to a friend’s small social event. There are only five of us so I was more or less responsible for twenty percent of the chitchat. Less because I’m ranked fifth most talkative. Even less because three out of the five people present are aware of this so there are fewer expectations placed on my being interactive, but one of those three people (the hostess) is still kind of unacquainted with me and I think she cornered my boyfriend earlier in the evening to ask, “Is you girlfriend mad at me?” Because aforementioned boyfriend came up to me and asked if I was alright when he knows I’m perfectly fine. I’m just hungry and sober, surrounded by people who are trying to edge a laugh in with their funny story. I’m fine. I’m FINE.

Oh, I have an idea.


The hostess has a dog. Where’s the dog?

a.) Use this useful info and construct it into dialogue and be a productive human again. Ask her “Where’s your dog?” in front of everyone and go here.

b.) You don’t actually care where the dog is, so don’t ask. It’s probably at the vet or worse, dead. IT’S A TRAP DON’T SPEAK FOREVER and go here.

The hostess looks at me. “Oh. We had to put him down yesterday. Well, fuck me. Everyone looks around at anything, something. I look at my feet. That’s what I get for talking. Never again, I vow to myself. You will be silent until you get home.

Except I wasn’t silent. Sometimes I get comfortable in front of people and I just get too dang comfortable. One belly laugh means we’re best friends forever, right? …Right? I need to fix that.


Everyone is talking about how great The Handmaid’s Tale is, and then the hostess turns to you. Do you watch The Handmaid’s Tale? PICK ANY ANSWER THAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A JUDGMENTAL ASSHOLE

a.) “Oh my god, of course. I love The Handmaid’s Tale.” Go here.

b.) “I loved the first season, but then I found out that Elizabeth Moss was a Scientologist and watching it felt weird to me.” Go here.

Why would you say that in front of a group of people who are talking about how good the show is? I get it. You got comfortable. You thought you knew your audience, and you thought wrong.


What happened after your dumbfuck sCiEnToLoGy BaD assessment?

a.) The hostess said, “Hey, I don’t have an issue separating the art from the artist,” and you slunk down into your chair like a wet mouse.

b.) The hostess said, “Hey, I don’t have an issue separating the art from the artist,” and you said, “Well that’s nice, and for the most part I don’t, either. Elizabeth Moss is phenomenal in Mad Men. Scientology doesn’t make her a bad person. Hyde from That 70’s Show is still my favorite character, and Beck being a Scientologist doesn’t make his music suck more. Even though it has gotten suckier and suckier, regardless of his religious choices. What I’m saying is that the subject matter of The Handmaid’s Tale makes it difficult to watch Moss, a Scientologist, portray someone in a role who is persecuted by an authoritarian regime. While I know it’s a role and a choice that she is making as an actor, it also seems like a physical display of cognitive dissonance. And also, good for you for being able to separate the art from the artist. I truly wish I could live without convictions, I wish I could listen to artists without thinking about the people they raped or murdered, or the racist things they said or did, or the things they stole, or the selfish things they’ve done to further their career, but fuck me, every time I find out something new about someone I can’t get rid of it and it just stays with me and it taints them. I won’t cancel anybody, or boycott anybody, but it must be nice, living in a world where you can neatly file away the person and the things they create. I want that.”

Hint: it wasn’t option b. Instead, option b kept you up for hours that night.

This was a good choice for you.

If you say nothing at all, no one can judge your character.

Continue to stay silent for success.



You goddamn phony now you have to keep up this character for the whole night.

Good luck with that.

You ask your boyfriend if you can leave early.

Image by pdumond from Pixabay

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