The self-proclaimed feminist website Double-X shrewdly hired noted sociopath Lucinda Rosenfeld to write its friendship advice column. This is precisely the kind of fresh, contrarian perspective we've come to expect from the Slate/Double-X brand.
Double-X racks up a lot of hits by hiring anti-feminists to diagnose the ills of contemporary feminism. Retaining a psychopath as a friendship guru is the logical next step.
Before taking the gig at Double-X, Rosenfeld produced a substantial body of anti-friend literature, including a novel about friends who despise each other (the official website even lets you stick pins in a flash voodoo doll!). She's also the author of How to Dump a Friend (2001) and Our Mutual Friend: how to steal friends and influence people (2004). Clearly, she's perfect for the job.
On Monday, Rosenfeld answered a later from a woman who woke up in the gutter after someone spiked her drink. She later learned that her friends ditched her after she went to the washroom and didn't come back. These same friends later refused to pick her up at the emergency room:
Later, when I called them from the street, sobbing in hysterics and asking for help, they told me to go back to the club and that they would have an ambulance pick me up there. When my mother—who lives 2,000 miles away (and hopped on a plane the next day to be with me)—later called these two friends of mine to beg them to join me while I was recovering, they refused. It wasn't until I told them that the hospital wouldn’t release me until I had someone to drive me home that they came to pick me up. They then angrily drove me to my car, and I drove home alone. By then, it was the next morning.
If the letter-writer were asking me, my utterly predictable, non-controversial response would be to tell her to get some new friends. Plodder that I am, I'd repeat the received feminist wisdom (/ethical person wisdom) that it's very, very wrong to shrug off the abrupt disappearance of a friend.
As for the ER, well, I warned you that I'm really boring. Basically, if you know me well enough to remember my number, drunk off your ass in the middle of the night, I'll come get you at the hospital. Heck, if my number is even in your phone, you can bet I won't just leave you at the county general. Then again, I was raised by hippies and steeped in annoyingly traditional values like loyalty and community. Snore.
Rosenfeld isn't afraid to turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Her advice: Harden the fuck up, loser. Don't expect anyone to rescue you from the ER unless you're related by blood or exchanging other bodily fluids on a regular basis. Please understand that if your rational, self-interested friends seem a little hostile, it's only because they sense it's your fault:
Wow, that’s a tough call. A spouse or even a boyfriend? Yes, it would be his or her duty to haul ass to said hospital at 4 a.m. But your single female friends who are already, presumably tucked in their beddy-bies? I have to admit that, if I got a call like yours (or your mother’s) in the middle of the night, I’d do what I could from home, but would be hard-pressed to jump in my car until morning. [...]
Here’s a little secret. BFFs are great when you’re upset about a boy/sick cat/whatnot. But there are limits to friendship—limits that don’t apply to our romantic partners or close family members. What I fault your friends for is not driving you all the way home the next morning, or at least following you there to make sure you got through the door on two feet. I also wish they’d been a less critical of what was, by your account, a freak incident. Why were they so unforgiving? I’d wager a guess that they think you’re lying about the mickey, tales of which are sometimes used as a cover for irresponsible behavior. (Only you know the truth.)
Being a sociopathic advice columnist is not without its challenges, however. Rosenfeld is perplexed that so many readers are sending her angry emails.