I love chatting with my best friend (whether in person or via text) because our unfiltered conversations often veer into strange territory. For example, there was the time we discovered Archer porn (don’t worry, this is one of the few articles I write that is safe for work),
the time we thought disease was hilarious,
the time we discussed taking lolliturds to The Wizard of Oz,
and cats serving in the military.
But during one of our exchanges a few months ago, we discussed our fears, and out of this discussion the Fear Challenge was born.
The Fear Challenge is a simple concept with a difficult execution: confront something you are afraid of while having the support of your best friend.
Her fear is scary movies and clowns. From Ronald McDonald to Tim Curry’s version of IT, my best friend has a hilarious fear of face-painted circus performers.
My fear is having visitors inside my house without hours of intense, sweat-inducing, back-breaking cleaning. If my guests happen to move the sofa, they will not find a dust blanket, a stray cat toy, or hair tumbleweed. If they happen to run their finger along the top of a door frame, their digit will return clean. While my guests enjoy our hospitality, however, I’m on edge, desperate to have them out the door before the cats decide to take a wretched shit or a gerbil-sized ball of cat hair makes a surprise appearance. However, this was too big of a fear to confront so I settled for eating mushrooms.
However, this happened:
Capital eff you see fuck.
I wasn’t prepared for “tonight.” I had plans earlier in the day that prevented the time necessary to thoroughly clean. However, despite my trepidation, I took a deep breath and replied with, “Cool.”
I thought, ‘Maybe I will have time to at least vacuum. And I could always keep the lights low and burn a dozen scented candles.’ A few messages later I took a deep breath and replied with jittery fingers, “I’m not cleaning for you.”
It was done.
In a few hours, I would be facing my worst fear. You may be thinking, ‘Whatever. This is your best friend. I’m sure she’s seen your house unkempt.’ To that I say, “Ha! Ask her. She’ll tell you I’ve made her wait on the front porch when she comes to pick me up before going out.”
So I left Partner’s socks on the floor,
I left the shower curtain draped around the bathroom shelf,
I left mail on the sofa table in the dining room,
What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that after many years living together, I had Partner trained. After receiving word of our company that evening, he put away his socks and mail, straightened the house, and lit a candle without me having to ask. He still didn’t vacuum, dust bleach the bathroom, or steam the floors, so there’s still that.
After she arrived, I forced myself not to make excuses or ask how the house smelled. And you know what? It wasn’t even a big deal to her. She never mentioned (to my face) how disgusted she was. She never said (to my face) that she felt dirty being inside my home. She never told me (to my face) that the house stank.
After a short while, I allowed myself to unpucker my butthole, relax, and enjoy our time together. The condition of the house never crossed my mind. Of course, an hour and a half of this may have had something to do with it:
I wonder what our next fear challenge will be?