How Mothers Drive Their Daughters Crazyby Karen Ekstrom

How Mothers Drive Their Daughters Crazy
by Karen Ekstrom

1976. Freshman Dorm. The University of Texas.


“Billy dumped me.” Vicki said, as she burst into our dorm room, crying, and threw herself prostrate on Lisa’s bed. “After all we’ve meant to each other.”

I raised my eyebrow. “I thought you said Billy was a dweeb? Boring and stupid? When did he become important?”

“He’s fabulous.” Vicki sobbed. “I’ll never get over him.”

After five solid minutes of listening to Vicki cry and moan over Billy, I turned and whispered to Lisa, “She’s got sperm poisoning.”

Lisa’s eyes flew wide – Lisa being my best friend since elementary school. We’d gone through everything together and now we were living the dream – roommates, in college. Life was good. Or it had been up until today.

Vicki pulled her bloated face out of the pillow. “What do you mean – sperm poisoning?”

I flinched. Didn’t mean for her to hear that.

“Oh.” Lisa leaped up, her face twisted in horror. “That’s Kathy’s mother’s theory. She swears that sperm is poisonous to women. That, no matter how awful the guy is, if you have sex with him, after three times, you’ve been poisoned. By the sperm. It drives women crazy. It’s why women fall in love with jerks and assholes. But… Ahhh… Everybody knows her mother is crazy. Isn’t she Kathy?”

Lisa shot me a searing look, expecting me to agree, because my mother was crazy.

But sometimes…

“She is…” I sat back, pulled my hands up and pressed my fingertips together like the therapists do in all of the movies. “But, let’s examine the facts. Less than three weeks ago, you had your first date with Billy. Afterwards you slammed him. Said he was not very bright. And now you’re crying your eyes out because he dumped you. Hummmm…”

Vicki glared at me, still sniffling.

“And… You’ve been arriving home late from the last couple of dates you’ve had with him. And, you’ve had this weird glow… Which leads me to believe you’ve had sex…” I trailed off.

Guilt covered Vicki’s face.

“I knew it.” I jumped up, grabbed her and swung her around. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Red flames flew up her neck. She opened her mouth but nothing came out.

“I’m dying. Spill everything.” I said, bursting with curiosity since neither Lisa nor I had ever done the deed.

Vicki crumbled. A thousand expressions crossed her face before she grinned at me.

“Okay. I did. And it was terrible the first time. So embarrassing. And over so fast. Like in seconds. Then, we did it again and it was better. Still fast. But better. And the third time… well, he broke up with me after that…” She grimaced and teared up again.

“Well,” I patted Vicki on the back, trying to comfort. “According to my mother, it only takes three times for the sperm to poison your mind.”

Vicki whimpered. “I’m in love.”

“That proves it.” Lisa said. “Billy is a jerk.”

Vicki looked at me for confirmation. I nodded. Big. So, she couldn’t mistake my meaning. “And, three weeks ago, you thought so too.”

“Oh my gosh… That’s true.” Vicki sat up. “I’ve been poisoned. Did your mother mention a cure?”

I searched my brain. “I don’t think so… but it’s possible. I just don’t remember.”

“Call her.” Lisa grabbed the phone and thrust it in my face.

I recoiled. “No. You know how that call will go. She’ll think I have sperm poisoning and I’ll never hear the end of it. Why don’t you call her? She’ll never believe you had sex. She adores you.”

Lisa chewed on the side of her mouth for a minute, thinking. “You’re right.”

She dialed and held the phone out. Vicki and I crowded in to listen.

Mother answered.

“Hello Mrs. Smith, this is Lisa.”

“Hi darling, how are you?” My mother gushed out of the phone.

A few minutes of chitchat ensued. My name never came up. I mean really, why would it. I was just her daughter.

I circled my fingers in the air, as they droned on, urging Lisa to get to the point.

A minute later, she took a deep breath. “Mrs. Smith, Kathy and I were talking about your Sperm Theory and we wanted to know if there was a cure?”

“Oh my gosh. Who did Kathy have sex with?”

Even through the phone, I could hear my mother’s voice raise an octave or two. I rolled my eyes.

“It isn’t her. It’s the…” Lisa squirmed and looked apologetically at Vicki. “Girl across the hall.”

“Now don’t lie to me. I know it’s Kathy. Just tell me. How big of a loser is the boy?”

“No really, it’s not her.”

“Is Kathy, at least, on birth control?”

“I promise it’s not Kathy.” Lisa turned to me and mouthed I’m-trying.

“Oh Lisa, bless your sweet heart, you have always been a good and loyal friend to my daughter, but I need you to tell me the truth now. Is she pregnant?”

“No. Really. She hasn’t had a sexual relationship with anyone yet.”

“How far along is she?”

That was it. I grabbed the phone and said, “No mother, I’m not pregnant and I haven’t even had sex with anyone but I’m going to. I’m going to grab the first 12 guys I see and do it with all of them. The minute I get off this phone…”

I paused, still furious and wanting to say something else horrible – but I couldn’t think of anything scathing enough.

There was silence on the other end of the phone. Then, my mother said, “Well, that’s going to make you look very slutty to the father of your unborn child…”


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