Don’t Need Any Old Spice

, , , , | Related | August 8, 2019

(My dad’s new wife loves spicy food, and I don’t, since it gives me a painful rash. I’ve told her this, and she just clucks. She cooks up a stew for us and it smells great. There’s a spicy smell but I figure that it’s coming from hers and Dad’s dishes, since they like it. Lo and behold, one bite and I’m panting and whimpering, and my lips and mouth hurt.)

Dad: “Why did you put hot sauce in [My Name]’s dish? She’s told you she doesn’t like it.”

Stepmom: “I only put a little of my homemade hot sauce.”

Dad: “Your homemade hot sauce? It’s poison!”

(He doesn’t mean literally poison; it’s just an expression he uses to say it’s really spicy.)

Stepmom: “Meh. She’ll have to get used to it! Spicy foods are good for the soul. It helps the circulation, too.”

(Since then, I’ve asked her not to prepare me a dinner, since she doesn’t get it. She ignores me and prepares me another stew the next day; however, this one doesn’t have any hot sauce. It tastes a bit bland, so I grab the black pepper and start putting some flavor in it.)

Stepmom: “I thought that you didn’t like spiciness! Black pepper is spicy!”

Me: “Not to me. It’s nice and tangy.”

Stepmom: “Pffft! You young people can’t make your minds!”

(At least she stopped then.)

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Playing Couch-Detective

, , , , , | Related | July 30, 2019

(My parents bought a new couch for our downstairs family room. Considering that’s where the game consoles are, whenever I have friends over we usually sit on the couch. After a year of having it, my parents call me downstairs. They seem angry.)

Stepdad: “You and your friends broke our couch.”

Me: “How?”

Mom: “Can you not see it?”

Me: “I honestly can’t see anything wrong with it.”

(They point at a small blemish on one of the cushions. It looks like a burn mark from a cigarette. Being that I’m twelve, I definitely don’t smoke cigarettes.)

Me: “That’s not from me.”

Stepdad: “Why do you think that?”

Me: “That’s a burn mark. I don’t even know where to find a lighter.”

Stepdad: “Well, now it’s ruined! We’ll have to throw it out now!”

Me: “It doesn’t look that bad; I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out. But it is definitely not from anything I’ve been doing.”

Mom: “That doesn’t explain where it came from, though.”

Me: “Maybe it was [Brother] or [Brother’s Girlfriend]. Their room is down here. I’m not the only one who uses the couch.”

(They denied it. At that point, though, they just gave up and dropped it. We still have the couch, although it’s in the garage because my stepdad wanted to convert the garage into a man cave but never did. They’ve offered to let me take it whenever I decide to move out. I’m not complaining, either; who doesn’t want a free couch?)

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A Gender-Fluid Household

, , , , , | Related | July 13, 2019

(These stories are from over 15 years ago. My biological dad ran out on me and my mum when I was a baby, so since infancy, I lived with my mum, my aunt, and my grandmother in varying combinations. No dudes around, which meant that as an 11-year-old male, I have picked up some slightly strange habits. Mum has been dating this guy for about two years and I love him, and he loves me. She decides it’s time for us to move in with him. On the second night in our new place, I go and shower and come out wrapped in my towel as always.) 

Stepdad: *sitting on the couch reading, looks up at me and snorts* “Mate… what are you doing?”

Me: “Showering?”

Stepdad: “Well, yeah, but… Okay, so you don’t have boobs to hide, right?”

Me: *indignant* “No!”

Stepdad: “Right. Well, you can wrap the towel just around your waist, then. You’ve also only got short hair, so you don’t need to wrap it up like that…”

(Yep, I’ve been wearing the towel wrapped around me up under my arms and wrapping up my hair turban style. It never occurred to me why my female relatives did that and it had honestly never occurred to Mum to correct me. She laughs and apologizes after [Stepdad] tells her I am lucky I’ve never showered at school or I’d be a laughing stock. This must pique his interest into other things I might have picked up because for the next couple weeks interactions like this are pretty normal. I’m washing my face before bed as always, when my stepdad wanders into the bathroom.)

Stepdad: *snorts again* “Mate. Use the soap, or just water.”

Me: *indignant* “Mum uses this!”

Stepdad: *very gently* “I know, bud, but that’s makeup remover.”

(A few mornings later, I’m getting ready for school. As always, Mum has already left for work, but my stepdad works from home. Again, he walks past the bathroom as I’m doing my morning stuff. He does a double-take and I can see he’s trying to formulate a nice way to bring something up.)

Stepdad: “Uh… Uh, hey, bud?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Stepdad: “Look. If you want to wear it, I’ll back you completely but… you do know that’s mascara, right?”

Me: “Yeah, so?”

Stepdad: “Well, nothing, mate. Just… most blokes don’t wear it because it’s makeup.”

Me: “WHAT?!”

Stepdad: *giggling* “Well, at least you were taking it off at night!”

(I didn’t know it was makeup. I thought everyone wore it; it was the only makeup my mother wore except lipstick for a fancy night out or something, and I knew THAT was makeup but assumed everyone wore mascara. Another night:)

Stepdad: “Mate, did you use my razor?”

Me: “Yeah, sorry. I couldn’t find Mum’s.”

Stepdad: “No worries, mate. Didn’t realise you shaved already! I didn’t have to shave until I was fifteen. We’ll get you your own.”

Me: *excited* “Thank you! Can we get the pale blue ones Mum uses? Yours was really sharp; I cut myself a few times.”

Stepdad: *looking at my face* “Are you using it against the grain, bud? I can’t see any cuts…”

(I roll up my pant leg to show him a couple of cuts on my ankle.)

Me: “Nah, just these ones, and one on my underarm. What’s ‘against the grain’ mean?”

Stepdad: *trying desperately not to laugh* “All right, we need to have a chat…”

(A few weeks later, after he gently corrected a few things – -and told me many times if I wanted to keep doing things the old way that I could, but he knew I was clueless about how men did things — he watches me bring my two glasses of water out of my bedroom the same way I do every morning.)

Stepdad: “Thirsty last night, mate? You could have used one cup. I bloody hate doing the dishes.”

Me: “But you need two. One isn’t for drinking.”

Stepdad: *looking at me confused* “What do you mean?”

Me: “Grandma always has two. One for drinking and the other one sits there. She always told me not to drink from the other cup.”

Stepdad: *bursts out laughing* “Bud, the other cup was for her teeth.”

(Chalk that one up to child stupidity rather than only having female role models. He really was the most gentle and accepting man helping a prepubescent boy figure out what he wanted to do and what he was doing just because he’d always seen his mum doing it. I’m SO GLAD he was around before I started high school; I can’t imagine that would have been a pleasant experience doing things the way I’d always done them. To this day, he is kind and gentle and my number-one supporter in everything I do. Now I have my own baby boy and Dad likes to crack jokes like, “He’s getting big! We’ll have to get him his own razor soon.” I love my dad.)

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If Shot In L.A. You Need To Credit The Lemon Twister, Also

, , , , , , | Related | December 8, 2018

(My father, stepmother, and I have just watched a movie. We are now watching the credits.)

Stepmother: “You know, credits used to only take up a single page.”

Me: “And now they take up like ten minutes.”

Stepmother: “Animators, ‘character rigging,’ editors… They really do credit everyone.”

Me: *jokingly* “Hey, I walked on set and gave you a coffee; put me in the credits!”

(Not ten seconds later, we see the heading, “Caffeination,” and a name is credited.)

Stepmother: “Wow, talk about perfect timing!”

Me: “I was kidding!

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Wish He Could Just Sell Him On eBay

, , , , , , , | Related | October 1, 2018

(I’m twelve-ish. A fast food company is doing a special event for collectable items — gold plated cards in decorative cases themed for a cartoon and card game. I want them, and my mother thinks they look nice for decor for my room, so we make sure to get all six variants. They get placed in a trunk in my room while I reorganize the space. It takes a few days, but I go to get them out of the trunk to find they’re gone. I am very upset about this. I pass by the family computer to see my step-dad has left the web browser on his eBay sales page, where he has just sold a set of the six collectables. Knowing we only had the one set, which was mine, I print a copy of the page to confront him when he gets home from work.)

Me: *upset and yelling* “What made you think this was okay? You stole from me! What is wrong with you?!”

Step-Dad: *lying* “I don’t know why you’re talking about. Leave me alone.”

Me: *shows him the printed page, without letting him touch it* “You need to call the post office and request the shipment to be returned to sender, and you need to refund the buyer. Now! I know how it works. You do it now!

Step-Dad: *laughs mockingly* “No, you don’t order me around.”

Me: “Fine. Then I’ll just tell Mom you’re a dirty thief who steals from children. Have you been gambling again? Are you covering up the missing money by stealing from me?”

Step-Dad: *stops laughing and looks serious* “If you f****** dare bring her into this, I’ll–”

Me: *speaking over him, totally unconvinced because he’s a coward in all respects* “Oh, so you want to go to prison for threatening a child, now? After stealing from said child? Please. Do it.” *opens arms* “Hit me, dirtbag! I don’t even care if it hurts. I want you to get out of my life; if I can do it by sending you to prison for child abuse that’s fine by me!”

(He storms off to his and my mother’s bedroom. I call her emergency work number.)

Mom: *angry* “What is it? This had better be an emergency; you know better than to call me at work!”

Me: “It is. Your husband threatened my safety when I confronted him for stealing from me. I have proof of the theft. If you don’t come and handle it, he will go to jail tonight.”

Mom: *deflates, softly* “Uh… Okay. I’ll be home in thirty minutes. Take the dog and lock yourself in your room.”

(I did so, and she came home. I showed her the printed page, and she forced him to let her onto his eBay account so she could confirm it. They had a huge fight but tragically didn’t divorce. He didn’t get my collectables back. It’s been about 15 years since then, and I live far enough away that my mother only speaks to me on my terms now. I said that on top of whatever my mother wanted to send me for my upcoming birthday, that my step-dad needs to send me a birthday gift for the first time in my entire life… I think you can guess what I asked for, but now they’re 10 to 20 times the price he received for them, and much rarer! Time will tell if he’s still a dirty thief or if my mother is finally ready to make him do the right thing for once.)

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