Just bitchin'

Shady Ladies


I’ve run into something lately that bothers me no end. It chaps my hide…creams my corn…grinds my gears…gets on my last nerve.

It’s a delicate subject, in my opinion.

It’s shady ladies.

By that term I mean women whose prime survival tactic is subterfuge, manipulation, and dishonesty. Of course, females don’t have a monopoly on these stratagems. Everybody lies. Everybody cheats. No one, man or woman, is completely without a few smudges on their shields. But the ones I’ve encountered are people who are adept at the art. They’ve been doing it all their adult lives. They’re good at it. They will make no effort to change, because being shady has served them well, has brought them far.

It’s a sore subject for me because I was raised by an immigrant who drummed it into her children’s heads that they would only receive what they earned by working for it. And working hard. We were taught that no one owed us anything. There are no free handouts. And…here’s the kicker…that you should rely on no one to right your wrongs or pay your way.

A lot of this was because I was raised post-feminism. The bras were already burned. The angry speeches already made. So, for some reason I find it personally offensive to watch women choose the shady way when others are offered to them.

Perhaps some examples would help.

Example #1:    A woman whose hard luck story is first and foremost on her tongue. It is her identity and what she clings to because it has allowed her to cobble together an income of fraudulent claims for welfare, food stamps, and state subsidies. These are good and useful resources for those who need them. But not for someone who spends her days wandering malls and hanging out. Someone whose hard luck is years in the past. Asked what she’ll do if these funds are taken away, the reply is ‘Something always turns up.’ Ask more and you’ll discover it’s not something that turns up, but someone. This is a woman who brags she gets through life by surrounding herself with the ‘right’ people. They feel sorry for her. They don’t look too deep, and they give her money and gifts until she fades them out as they become suspicious of her story. Whereupon, she goes in search of new prey.

To me, that’s shady.

Example #2:    This lady runs her own ‘business.’ House cleaning. She spends her first few hours plying her employers’ ears with tales of her hardships. “I’m a single mother; you’ll have to give me some money for gas, I’m living that close to the edge.” In addition to her fee, she is handed, over the course of a month or so, several hundred dollars for various mishaps that befall this brave soul trying to buck the odds. She needs gas. Her car needs repairs. Her child is sick. Her absences and no-shows are attributed to her difficult circumstances. Until she slips and it’s revealed that she’s a single mom who’s been living with the father of her child for decades (there was no wedding, but it’s a marriage for all practical purposes). And her child is 30 years old. She claims him as a dependent even though he lives fifty miles away in his own home, and has a life separate from his parents.

Shady, shady lady.

I’ve met these people and talked to them in depth. I haven’t lost money to them or been taken in by them. They’re boastful about what they do.

As I said, everyone gets a little shady at some time. No one’s perfect. But to make it your lifestyle of choice? There are labels for such people: scam artists, con men (or women), grifters…

…shady, shady ladies…



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