I have the greatest best friend in the history of best friends, someone I went to college with and who I devoutly hope to share a room in the nursing home with when we are old and feeble. We share very similar backgrounds: we're both New England WASPs, I was brought up deeply Episcopal, her dad is an Episcopal priest, we have similarly old-school Northeastern families that would have once been considered semi-aristocracy, but whom we now refer to as "fallen gentry." So we mock each other endlessly about these shared traits, because that's what best friends do. They mock.
Last night we were talking on the phone and the talk turned to our sex lives. Now, I'm sure most women gab non-stop about their sex lives to their best friends as a matter of course, but here's the thing: when E. and I are in conversation together, our collective WASPiness produces this terrible crushing weight that forbids any frank discussion of sex. I'm happy to talk sex with just about any passing stranger, but E. and I seem to share this sense of proper decorum when it comes to the taboo subjects of WASP-dom: Money and Sex.
It's actually hysterical how we dance around how much money we each make when the topic arises. In both of our cases, it's frighteningly little, but our blue-blood genes will not allow us to name figures and sums, as if we were turn-of-the-century New York moguls in an Edith Wharton novel building competing "cottages" in Newport.
Even more hysterical, though, was how we danced around explicit talk of sex last night. I mean, don't get me wrong, real and deeply secret information was shared and exchanged, but we slipped directly into WASP Code, talking demurely of "down there" and "what girls do" and "that thing". At one point I burst out laughing and rued the fact that we weren't recording this, because we could totally make a mint by copying the recording and selling it to teenaged scions of the fallen gentry in New England as instructional material on How To Simultaneously Be a WASP and Discuss Sex With Your Best Friend in the Whole Entire World.
I mean honestly.
This was not some giggly chat about how often we were getting any -- E. is a lesbian, and I'm bi (although, of course, happily and monogamously married to a guy -- I still get just as many crushes on girls as I do on guys -- and I am deeply into extra-marital crushes), and our conversation topics ranged from the merely silly to the seriously pornographic. (One of my ex-girlfriends is currently a professional dominatrix in San Francisco. Her name came up repeatedly.)
And yet we somehow managed to consistently speak in euphemisms. I don't think a single "blue" word was uttered. And because we are members of the same tribe, we mutually recognized and internally translated each delicate pause, each "er" and "ahem", and each "and, you know..."
E. and I took sign language together when we were in college, and quickly developed our own signs that only we could understand, like we were twins. I think we still have a sort of secret language thing going on. And now I know where I can find a consistent supply of this. Which, you know, thank god.