I've got a friend. Actually, I had a friend. I now have someone who calls me asking to throw parties so she can sell her wares. This young woman - let's call her Plastic Fantastic, used to be a really good friend. We spent many a night watching bad movies, eating bowls of cookies n' cream ice-cream smothered in hot chocolate fudge and Baileys, drinking goblets of cheap red wine and gossiping and commiserating over one guy or another. She knew my husband and I before we were my husband and I, she has been auntie to my children. Then she met Mr You-Got-To-Spend-Money-To-Make-Money.
Mr You-Got-To-Spend-Money-To-Make-Money is constantly investing thousands of dollars, which by the way he does not have, in an attempt to make his fortune. He does not have the brains to realise that he has in fact already spent that fortune investing in the incredibly dodgy Fashion Slick who is taking him for all he's got - and a bit of what he doesn't have. Fashion Slick has convinced Mr YGTSMTMM to pay all his expenses while he lives overseas "designing" and "promoting" a range of the world's crappiest t-shirts - you know, the ones with skulls and graffiti font which Target sold in the late 1990s. Watching Mr YGTSMTMM around Fashion Slick is like watching the fat dork in the fourth grade who has been tossed a bone by the cool kids. "Oh my god! I'm sitting with the cool kids! This is soooo great. Okay, so I have to do their homework and give them my lunch money. But who cares? By sheer osmosis I will become cool by being near them, right?" Wrong.
Plastic Fantastic has changed considerably since meeting and marrying Mr YGTSMTMM. Mostly, she's become less financially secure as her beloved spends all her money. And her parents' money. And his own parents' money. She has decided that like her entrepreneurial hubby she doesn't want to work in the conventional sense. She's got a two year-old she believes would be irreparably harmed if he had to suffer through childcare with the rest of our pleb children. She doesn't want to rely on her mother-in-law to babysit while she's at work - although she seems happy to rely on her when she wants to shop, go out with friends, or when she just needs a break. In short - she's lazy. So, in lieu of the hum drum life of getting your arse to work to earn a buck, she's decided the best way to make up for the financial hole her husband is digging for them is to sell stuff.
Now, this in itself is not a bad thing. I have plenty of friends who have gone into business for themselves and I support all of them with my heart and soul. In fact, I am faintly jealous of those who have a marketable talent. However, none of these friends have ever asked me to sell stuff for them. Plastic Fantastic has gone from being a close friend who I could talk to for hours to the woman whose phone calls I now dread because they are always bound in what she wants me to do for her. She never calls to see how I am, to arrange to catch up for a drink or a coffee, she never wants to see a movie or go for a walk, she now wants to explain how she's calling on everyone she knows to support her during "challenge week".
I don't claim to be the world's greatest gal pal. I know I could be better at the whole "just calling to say..." thing. I recognise that often I become self-absorbed and forget about those around me - those who I love and cherish even if I'm unable to say it (but that's a whole other issue). However, I would like to think that I don't actively set out to take advantage of those who once relied on me for friendship. I would like to think that if I ever decided to abandon the classroom in favour of a new and not so exciting business venture I would seek my friends' emotional and mental support NOT their ability to sell my product of choice to their friends for me. I would like to think that I could attend a dinner party without talking non-stop about my new life as a plastic fantastic rep. I would like to think that I could call my friends and knowing it was me, they would still pick up the phone.