Monday, May 1, 2017

A fond farewell to a failing Facebook friendship...

Yesterday, I noticed that my Facebook friends count dropped by two.  Long ago, I got rid of "Social Fixer", an app that would tell me who unfriended me and why.  Although I think it's overall healthy not to know who unfriends you and, in fact, it's probably even better not to know how many friends you have, I still wondered who dropped me.  I figured that since two people dropped me at the same time, that meant I was ousted by a married couple.

After some cursory searching of my couples friends, I discovered I was right.  A married couple that I've known offline since 2005 unfriended me.  I was at their wedding and once hung out with them in a hot tub.  Now we're non-communicado.

It wasn't a huge loss.  To be honest, for many reasons, I never really liked the male half of this couple.  I'll call him Bruno.  He was once one of Bill's co-workers.  In fact, Bill was his boss for a time.  My first bad experience with him was at a Christmas party Bill and I threw in 2005.  I played "The Closing Song" by Red Peters just to be funny and he took offense to it.  Granted, he might have thought I was sending him a subtle hint.  I actually played it just because I thought it was a funny song and wanted to share it.  If I want someone to get out of my house, I'll tell them.  But I clearly offended him by playing that song.  He was noticeably upset.

I also think he was upset because, at the time, Bruno's brand new Moldovan wife was just 20 years old and he seemed to think I was too raunchy for her.  He is about twenty years older than she is and, at least at the time, was treating her more like a daughter than a wife.  As the years passed, so did that overprotective attitude.

Red Peters' "The Closing Song"...  What can I say?  I suck at parties.

A few weeks later, Bruno invited Bill and me to his house for a dinner party.  I decided not to go because I got the sense that he didn't like me and I didn't want to hang out with him all evening.  I told Bill to tell him I was sick.  So Bill went to the party and the guy asked where I was.  Bill told him I wasn't feeling well.  Bruno was concerned that I didn't come with Bill and I noticed his attitude improved somewhat after that subtle dis. 

Bruno and Bill continued to bond over things like the fact that they had both been married before and remarried younger women.  They'd also both had vasectomies and later had them reversed, courtesy of the Army.  Bruno's wife eventually managed to have two daughters in 2010 and 2011, while I am still only a mom to dogs.  Bruno worried that I'd be upset or jealous about their ability to procreate without trouble.  I really wasn't jealous or upset, though.  I figure having kids just wasn't in the cards for me.

Bruno has a habit of asking people for favors and taking shortcuts whenever he can.  He's the kind of guy who would use official government postage paid envelopes to avoid paying postage himself.  He had no qualms about asking Bill and me if we wouldn't mind bringing some stuff to Germany in our household goods.  Later, he asked me to provide a reference for his wife because she wanted to open a daycare in their home.  He asked Bill to send him flour when he was deployed to Afghanistan.  Why his wife couldn't send flour, I don't know, but Bill dutifully sent him several bags. Bruno would also send me messages asking me to get Bill to call or email him.  When I asked him why he didn't ask Bill directly, since they were friends, he said I was more "accessible".  

In 2007, Bruno and his wife came to Germany at the same time we did, although they were in a different city.  Bill told me that before Bruno and his wife came over, they took their cat to an animal shelter, which outraged me.  They also had a dog, who was fortunately rehomed with family.  We saw them a few times during our time here.  I remember one time, we were in Garmisch together.  At that point, Bruno and his wife were still childless and she was still very young and active.  Bruno suggested that the four of us visit a strip club.  This was the same guy who was "offended" by my off color humor in my own home.  He figured, since I have a raucous sense of humor, I wouldn't mind hanging out in a strip club with him and his wife.  Fortunately, Bill begged off on that one.

In 2008, Bruno's mother visited Germany.  She came to Garmisch and I spent a day with her touring Neuschwanstein.  I thought she was a very cool lady and remarkably liberal.  She told me that she didn't like Bruno's second wife because she had nothing in common with her son.  She spoke derisively about how Bruno's wife wanted to be a model and had plans to make it big in America.  Then, she laughed as she told me that her daughter in law's plans fell flat.  Conversely, Bruno's mom liked Bruno's first wife and described her as "the sweetest woman in the world".  I bet that went over well.

In August 2008, I joined Facebook.  At some point, I became Facebook friends with Bruno and his wife.  It quickly became apparent that my views are much more liberal than his are.  He would engage in debates with me about politics or abortion.  I soon discovered that both Bruno and his wife are extremely pro-life.  As time went on, I noticed that Bruno was also becoming more and more religious and right wing.  I paid little mind to it, though, because this was the same guy who had married a much younger woman who was very narcissistic and claimed to be a model.  He plastered pictures of her all over his computer monitor at work.  Bill had to tell him to tone down the photo log, since some of the photos were a bit provocative.  Bruno also called me Lorena Bobbitt once, which I did not appreciate.

While we were Facebook friends, Bruno would send me private messages.  In those messages, he revealed more unsavory aspects of himself.  His wife eventually decided to go to nursing school, but apparently lacked writing skills.  One time, he sent me a private message asking about Bill's and my experiences with Roma people when we were traveling in Europe.  He said he was asking because he was writing his wife's term paper for school.  I was pretty flabbergasted by that.  He explained that her writing skills were bad, so he was just helping her out.  It wouldn't matter that he did the work for her.

Later, he basically told me that his wife had at one time been a sex worker.  He said she'd done it to "survive" in Moldova.  I couldn't believe he was actually telling me that in such a candid way.  It seemed really disrespectful to her, especially given how "fatherly" he seemed when they first got married.   

Then he sent us a bottle of homemade poitin in the mail, along with a beautiful cutting board he made himself.  If there's one thing about Bruno that is good, it's that he's got a lot of handcrafting skills.  He's a good cook and an excellent provider.  But he's also an opinionated asshole with very sexist and hypocritical views.

Many times, I watched as Bruno, who is all of about 5 feet 2 inches tall, acted like his pretty young wife was a trophy.  He'd bring her with him to Army events and I'd watch her bask in the attention given to her by other men.  Bruno probably noticed how much the men were admiring his wife and, I'm sure, felt a surge of pride over that.  Of course, his wife has managed to do fine for herself.  I watched Bruno put her through beauty school and, when that didn't work out, purchase her a business, as he also brought her entire family over to the United States from Moldova and helped them become citizens.  This same guy is also probably very anti-immigrant, given his Republican proclivities.

Bruno would opine strenuously about mothers, especially those he thought fell short in their duties.  One time, he commented on an article I posted about a drug addicted mother of three whose baby died over a morphine overdose due to being breastfed.  Bruno wrote that he thought this woman should be shot in the head.  The woman was a nurse before she lost her license and Bruno felt that this made her crime even more egregious.  He didn't seem to understand that the woman became addicted to prescription painkillers after having been in a serious car accident.  She was married and, apparently, her husband did nothing to protect the child from what was evidently a very obvious and serious drug problem.  And she has surviving kids who probably would hate to see their mother executed.  None of that mattered to Bruno.  He had no mercy for her.  I wanted to ask him how he'd feel if his wife, now studying to be a nurse, at some point messed up really badly and killed someone.  Would he want her to be treated the same way?  I should have asked, but I didn't.

Another time, he complained about a mother in his town who was out with her daughter.  Bruno didn't think the child was dressed warmly enough and he wanted to confront her about it.  I told Bruno that it was really none of his business.  For all he knew, that mom might have been trying to get her kid to wear a warmer jacket and eventually just gave up on it because she had somewhere to be.  He would also complain about what other parents were feeding their kids and cite the strict rules set by USDA about what his wife could serve as snacks in their daycare.  

He bitches about "bad mothers", yet he wants to keep them pregnant by denying them access to abortions.  And, I notice, that when he and his wife decided to have kids, he had a vasectomy reversal rather than adopting children from foster care.  While I don't begrudge people wanting to have children of their own, I do think that if you're going to rail about abortion, you should put your money where your mouth is and be a part of the adoption solution.  But I figure Bruno's "model" wife is too narcissistic to go that route.  I will admit, they do have two beautiful daughters.  

I guess Bruno missed the memo.

Even though Bruno said and did some things that didn't seem all that conservative, he continued to get offended by some of my more liberal attitudes.  He would protest in the comment sections on my Facebook posts.  I noticed that most of his comments were often based on emotion and his personal beliefs rather than reason or facts.    

Sometime last year, he quit talking to me.  I wouldn't have noticed, except there was a photo of him and Bill drinking margaritas together that he untagged.  I wasn't that upset that he stopped talking to me.  I have more than enough contentious people on Facebook to argue with and it's not something I even enjoy doing.  But then, the other day, I posted the news about an abortion clinic in Texas being reopened after having been forced to close due to Texas's oppressive anti-abortion laws.  I am a firm believer in a woman's right to have an abortion if she wants one, even if it's not a choice I think I would ever make for myself (but I would never say never).  A couple of days later, I noticed my friend count was down.

I figure my opinion about abortion is the reason they both ditched me.  The only other thing that might have caused them to suddenly unfriend me was a comment I made about them in a very small, private group I'm in.  I didn't name Bruno or his wife and I doubt anyone in the group knows them, although anyone who did know them would probably recognize my description of them.  Most of the active people run in different circles and the military folks are either in different branches or enlisted.  None that I know of live where Bruno does.  The comments about Bruno were deep in a thread and we rarely get scandalous in that group, so I can't imagine one of the lurkers found that juicy little pearl and took it to Bruno.  Of course, there is a chance that someone leaked info, but I really think the unceremonious dumping was due to the fact that I shared the article about abortion and wrote the word "Good." as my comment.  

My response to being unfriended was to go ahead and block Bruno and his wife.  I have an odd feeling that even though they unfriended me, Bruno will likely be upset that I blocked them.  His feelings will probably be hurt and he might even feel that he's the aggrieved one, not me.  He only meant to unfriend, not be ousted from existence.  He also stayed friends with Bill, so it won't surprise me if Bill hears about it at some point.  Eventually, Bruno will realize that not being friendly with me will mean there will be awkwardness with a former boss and one less valuable source for favors.  For my part, I'm kind of glad he did it and gave me an excuse to use the block button.  I had actually been wanting to do it myself for a very long time, but refrained out of respect for Bill. 

Farewell, Bruno and wife...  Thanks for playing.  


  1. I'm not nearly so against the pro-life stance (I'm roughly where you are on the issue - I have some personal issues with abortion and can't really see myself having one, though I wouldn't say "never" either, but think it needs to be personal choice for each woman) as I am against pro-lifers in general, and find many of them to be truly obnoxious.

    The guy sounds like a real tool.

    As far as spouses writing papers for each other and thinking it's perfectly OK, I have a real problem with it. it's very common among the Mormons at Baby Central if what the mothers there say is truthful. (Some of them probably think it makes them seem smarter if they say they are authoring papers for their spouses, and may not actually be doing anything of the sort.) I don't want my future child to be taught be a person who didn't write well enough to pass the classes [or was too lazy to do the writing himself or herself] to become a teacher and whose spouse did the writing instead. If the person's writing skills are lacking, the lack of writing skill will show up in the quality of instruction. If the person is lazy, that, too, will show up in real life.

    1. What's really scary is that she's training to be a nurse. One doesn't necessarily need to know about Roma people to be an effective nurse, but it does say something about her work ethic as well as rudimentary life skills. She speaks more languages than I do, but the goal is to be able to function in an American job. If she needs help with her writing, she should put in the time and learn how to do it.

      I remember Bill telling me that this former would-be model plans to get her PhD in nursing. If that's the case, she'd better learn how to write and do her own work.

      And as for my ex FB friend, I really should have blocked him a long time ago. It was clear from the get go that we weren't going to mesh.

  2. I find it presumptuous that a person who isn't even yet an RN plans to get a PhD in nursing, just as I find it presumptuous when someone studying to be a teacher plans to be a district superintendent. Acquire a basic mastery of the skill set needed to do the job for which you are training, and then think about advancement. Planning for the future is great, amd goals are a good thing, but don't get too far ahead of oneself. How would a person know if he or she possessed sufficient aptitude to merit or to qualify for obtaining the additional degrees?

    And yes, the lack of work ethic associated with having a spouse doing writing assignments for a person would seem to interfere with a person's ability to do a job well. Being able to speak multiple languages is an honorable thing as well, but effective communication skills in the language of the region in which a person seeks employment somewhat trumps (I now cringe whenever I type that word even if it has nothing to do with Mr. Pres) other linguistic skills.

    Maybe Bruno plans to follow the wife around to all her classes and to take any exams for her that require actual writing and not just bubbling, and plans to write the wife's dissertation as well.

    This is only marginally related, but my mom has a pet peeve related to people who say either about themselves, or often about their offspring, that Person X is "going to be a teacher." She says that it should be said instead that the person "plans to become a teacher" or "is studying to be a teacher," because for every twenty people who say (or whose parents say) that they are going to become teachers, maybe one actually completes a certification program or even a degree program. Because it's not that lofty a goal, one would think that the success rate might be higher, but maybe because the aspiration isn't all that lofty, every Tom, Dick, or Harry thinks he or she will succeed. Even for the teaching profession, there are minimum standards, or at least a set of prerequisite hoops through which a successful candidate must jump.

    1. Well, I doubt I'll know whether or not she makes it to the PhD level. I think I'm done with them.


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