I hate being in the position when someone says, don’t tell anyone what I’m about to say…promise me. You’re suddenly saddled with a secret you never wanted to know to begin with.
And let’s face it, the moment one person reveals something, it’s no longer a secret, is it?
Discretion is my middle name. Growing up in Connecticut, if for no other reason you were taught to keep your mouth shut because it looked better with the seersucker skirt and blazer you were wearing. Throw in being Italian and forget it. Your mouth was clamped right out of the womb.
Clemenza was there waiting with a manual explaining the dos and don’ts on being Italian (and if you don’t know who Clemenza is, don’t talk to me. You need to take Godfather 101).
My mother had affairs when I was a kid. Since all players are dead I feel it’s okay to write about it. She taught me never to admit anything even if you’re caught red-handed.
That’s the flip side of discretion…denial.
One morning a woman came to confront her over an alleged tryst she was having with her husband. I was seven still in my slip getting ready for school. I hid behind the stereo to hear what they were saying. My mother, cool as a cucumber said, “Why Dorthea, I don’t know what you’re taking about. It wasn’t me, I swear. Wanna a cuppa coffee?”
I’ll never forget it. The woman’s veins were popping out of her neck while my mother sat there like Loretta Young in slippers and an apron.
Made a huge impression on me.
I too look calm even if my insides are doing the tango. Of course this is a perfect way to have a coronary, but I’m my mother’s daughter in more ways than one.
But back to secrets. Just yesterday Trudy, my annoying neighbor, called to tell me someone we knew had a complete facelift that made her look like Beyonce when she’s not even black. This was definitely news I did not want to know. First of all, if I saw her, would I even recognize her? Secondly, I’m dying to tell Camille because she knows her too.
I then do what I always do, make it about me. How would I feel confiding in someone like Trudy who’s big mouth is legendary and they told the world? What was she thinking anyway. She may as well have taken out an ad in the New York Post.
I hate being gossiped about so I tell myself, no…you will not tell Camille. She nor anyone else does not need to know that Erica, I’ll call her, had a complete renovation…not unless it was her kitchen or patio.
The phone is ringing. Oh no, it’s Camille.
“Hi, how are ya?…
What’s new? Oh nothing…just Swiffing is all. Did I hear what…Beyonce, you don’t say. Huh, isn’t that something.”
That’s the other thing my mother taught me…feign ignorance. Then no one can blame you when a person finds out her secret’s outta the bag.
Yeah, my mother could have lectured at Smith alright or the Mata Hari School of Marriage.
Care to enroll?