At some point in your life, and maybe it’s happened already, but somebody is going to try to Parent Trap you. This is not what you probably think it is. I don’t mean that after your divorce your twin daughters are going to go through an elaborate scheme to get you and your ex spouse back together, because they’re lying assholes and this is why you shouldn’t have kids. Let me explain.
A friend of mine coined this phrase. I think I’ll leave her nameless in case she kills me for discussing this on my blog. She and her boyfriend (and his dog) went on a trip together and part of that trip included spending time with his ex, because apparently he and his ex are really good friends. She has a farm somewhere and they spent a few days with her on her farm living on the fat of the land like Allman Brothers songs or whatever. They (her boyfriend and his ex) are outdoorsy types who love nature and sleeping in it and eating it in and bathing in it with a cup of water and a palmful of soap.
The three of them (mostly the boyfriend and the ex) decided to go on an impromptu hike and my friend wasn’t wearing hiking shoes because she’s a normal person. But she wasn’t about to be left behind. She wasn’t going to let the ex take the glory. The hiking glory. The glory of, “look what I can do that you can’t.” So she followed. They walked through brambles and mud and my friend was smiling the whole time, like she was strolling down 9th street in NYC. Until she was startled by a salamander. The ex picked it up and cooed at it. Just picked it right up and started telling it how cute it was. This is where my friend had to make a choice. She could either freak out and look on in mock disgust or suck it up and touch the thing. Why? Because, she explained to me, “It was just like the scene in The [newer] Parent Trap where Lindsay Lohans take Dennis Quaid’s blonde fiance or girlfriend or whatever into the woods and torture her.”
“Wait, I think that’s Last House On The Left.”
“Ha. Anyway, I thought, I’m not going to let her do that to me. I’m not going to let her Parent Trap me!” So my friend also picked up the salamander and also insisted he was cute. Then she probably died inside. They continued on.
“Watch out for stinging nettles,” warned the ex. “What the hell are stinging nettles?” my friend thought, but instead said, “Okay!” very cheerfully. She wasn’t about to let the ex know that she had no idea what stinging nettles were. She took her boyfriend’s dog off the path, because dogs like to go off the path sometimes, and when she came back the dog was in distress, scratching and whining. “Thanks for walking my dog directly into stinging nettles,” her boyfriend hissed. “Oops.” She’s doing it, my friend thought. She’s totally Parent Trapping me. She swore she saw a brief smile of satisfaction on the ex’s face after the stinging nettles incident.
Frankly, I don’t think I would have lasted nearly as long as my friend. At some point I would have broken down, and, like Christopher Guest in “Waiting For Guffman” shouted, “I hate you and I hate your ass face!” Between the spontaneous hike and the Eliza Thornberry ex I would have been done. It’s a tough situation.
I’m putting myself in her cute, non-hiking shoes. On one hand, you don’t want your boyfriend to think you’re jealous, but on the other, you don’t want to pretend to be someone you’re not. I guess when you find yourself Parent Trapped you can either bow out and wait until it’s over or grit your teeth and pretend to enjoy it. Just watch out for stinging nettles.