This is a tale that I’m sure will resonate with many.
We’ve all got a friend with a questionable other half. You’re not sure what they see in them and you hope that it wont last. Most importantly, you should always keep your distance. This is a story about what happens when you let them into your home, and you’re not sure if or when they’ll ever leave.
6 months ago, my boyfriend’s housemate decided to move his girlfriend into their house. She had come over from America to study in England and would only be there for a few months. *Jenny baked cookies and was helping dilute the rent. She was also studying full time so wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. It seemed like a no brainer. How wrong they were.
The first time Jenny met Sean she was high on MDMA, It was 5 o’ clock in the evening. On a Tuesday. After introducing herself and announcing her passion for psychology, she proceeded to get down to business.
“Just so you know I am a really open and free person so I like to ask a lot of personal questions.”
Over the next few hours she proceeded to rhapsodise about the benefits of mind expanding drugs whilst gurning and interjecting with questions about Sean’s sex life. And therefore my sex life. I immediately hated her.
Braced for the worst, I had my first encounter with her in a more sober yet no less forthcoming mood. She burnt my arm with the AGA door and told me she loved reading people. I do not like to be read. She then explained that a chance encounter with the ducks in the local park had really resonated with her and she loved being at one with nature. As if throwing bread at birds put her on a par with Bear Grylls.
Once I’d been told how erotic she found the sight of her boyfriend’s (presumably not flaccid) penis I knew we could never be friends. We needed a code name. Something American. And something bad. I settled on naming her after the catastrophic biological warfare used in the Vietnam War. She was from henceforth, known as Agent Orange.
Things only went downhill from there. Agent Orange slept all day and stomped around all night. She would run down the corridors at 6 in the morning, giggling and pretending to be chased. She would then appear in the kitchen like a thundercloud in nothing but a pair of pants, presumably showing the boys what they were missing. She attended a fundraising dinner at the Houses of Parliament in a body stocking and once stormed into Sean’s room late at night to ask if he ‘wanted to play.’
She would endlessly lecture us about how deep and intelligent she was when in fact she had bought an online degree from Harvard. Arguments she could not win face to face, would be followed up with essays backed up with psychological literature. Her passion for becoming a psychologist became even stranger, when she admitted that her own personal mental health issues would make it highly unethical for her to practice psychology as a career.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend and a man we considered a friend, seemed completely oblivious to the growing tension within the house. Is it possible to ignore the fact that all of your friends hate your girlfriend?
Things reached a climax when she was found slumped in a corridor at a party, after having been overwhelmed by the experience of meeting her boyfriend’s ex. Literally floored by the prospect of 'sharing a lover’ with someone she had just met, she remained there dazed and motionless until somebody gestured to take her away.
Meanwhile, feeling in the house was growing ever more hostile. Sean fantasised about having her deported, others hoped for much worse. Grasping at straws, the only respite we could hope for would come from her imminently expiring visa.
Our prayers were finally answered, when Agent Orange decided to buy cats. Fuelled by hatred and thrilled to have a genuine cause for argument, Sean accosted her and refused to allow her to keep a pet. She was leaving for America soon and their care would fall to everyone else. A cat is for life, not a semester overseas after all.
It was in the wake of this encounter that things became clearer. She wasn’t planning to leave after all. Something had changed. Before we knew it, they were moving out, but Agent Orange wasn’t leaving the country.
When the truth came out, our jaws hit the floor. During their last visit to her parents in America, they decided to get married. She now has a visa and will be darkening our shores indefinitely. Thankfully she now lives in Highgate, although there is a small issue in that nobody knows the location of her key.
If a strange American asks you about psychology on the street, stay back. We don’t know what she’s capable of.
*I’ve changed her name so I don’t seem like a bitch. If she knows I write this blog then I’m done for anyway. At least I’ve tried.