Not being a slut

‘I can’t understand how you can bear to live like this.’ ‘It doesn’t bother me. Look- that part of the floor is where I keep my underwear, and over there are the t-shirts. It’s creative order.’ ‘It’s disgusting. You live like a slut.’

I was shocked. And also surprised that my Mother’s vocabulary was so poor. ‘Mum, “slut” doesn’t mean you don’t keep your bedroom tidy,’ I helpfully explained. She wasn’t at all grateful for my help. It seems some people have no eye for ‘creative order’. Turns out, my Mother was right. Geoffrey Chaucer refers to a ‘sluttish’ gentleman in 1386 (or thereabouts- Chaucer’s dates are notoriously fluid), and the term ‘slutte’ in Middle English meant a ‘dirty, untidy or slovenly woman’. In any case, it is important to keep one’s bedroom clean.

I recently had an appointment with my therapist, and then popped back the next day to see her again. (I like to check she’s doing ok). We were halfway through the session when I noticed that she was wearing the EXACT same outfit as the day before. Same t-shirt, same blazer, same trousers. I could not believe that she had come straight from her walk of shame to our meeting. I knew this was a delicate situation, but felt that with my vast reserves of tact and sensitivity I was well up to the task. ‘Are you wearing the same shirt as YESTERDAY?’ ‘What?’ ‘Yes, are you wearing the same shirt?’ I raised my eyebrows to let her know subtly that I too, was a woman of the world. Though of a world where I was made to tidy my bedroom. ‘I’ve changed my trousers.’ Apparently she had woken up late, wanted to fit in a run, was rushing and picked up yesterday’s shirt from the floor. ‘Excuse me, did you say “from the floor”?’ ‘Yes.’ My therapist is a slut.

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