Starshine Roshell Photo: Jackie Sallow Photography
I came down with the flu at work several weeks ago, so I went home — only to discover my 22-year-old son and my 43-year-old best friend in bed. They were not sleeping. I am at a total loss. I have no idea what to say to them. All of us are super embarrassed. Am I a prude? Ugh!
Come on! You people have to be making this stuff up. That did not actually happen. (Did that actually happen?)
OK, let's say it did. And let's say that in addition to not sleeping, they were also not watching Orange Is the New Black, not folding laundry, and not playing Stratego. Let's say they were doing the naughty nudie. And let's figure out how you're going to move past this.
Getting the flu makes for a Bad Day. Getting the flu and then walking in on your offspring and your confidant in flagrante delicto is Beyond All Reasonable Expectations of What a Bad Day Is Allowed to Be. That is one sticky mess, my friend. Well, two, technically.
It's hard to separate the ugh, as you so aptly put it, from the ick. But that's exactly what you must do: Parse out your objections one by one, like sorting coins from a dumped-out piggy bank. A naked, moaning, cannot-be-unseen piggy bank.
There's the age difference, of course. There's the secret intimacy between your intimates. There's the question of whether they might have done it in your kitchen (blechh).
Do you feel taken advantage of? Are you more disappointed in one than the other? (Hint: It's the friend; 22-year-old boys carry their frontal lobes in their boxer briefs.) Do you simply not want to share one of these people with the other?
Decide what you're deeply upset about — and what you're merely grossed out about. Then bring up the things that make you sound like a reasonable person.
Look, they know they freaked you out. They get it. The situation couldn't be more awkward for you all if Anthony Weiner were in there somewhere.
But if you can stretch your mind really big — I mean like foot-behind-the-head-yoga mind — you can probably recognize why they're drawn to each other. And since they're consenting adults, you can't really forbid it. But you'd be wise to lay some ground rules just to restore a smidge of sanity to the sitch.
And can I make a suggestion for rule number one? Sheets. Must. Be. Washed.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The Tea Party has its own immigration problem: Cuba
Subscribe to the Week