Is Taxidermy A Friendship Dealbreaker?
Dear Swaddle Team: I work with a girl, who recently announced she’s taking up taxidermy as a hobby. A few days later, she told me that she had purchased formaldehyde to get started. She told me her first project is to make a dragonfly locket, and she asked me if I wanted one. I said yes, because she scares me a little. Will she kill me if I don’t wear it?
SB: Taxidermy is a SUPER dealbreaker. I don’t care who shares that interest with you, whether it’s your friend, your partner or your own mother, my advice to you is to back away slowly. Forget about the locket, this sounds like a cry for help. What is missing in your friend’s life that this has become an outlet?!
This hobby can lead nowhere good. I mean, what’s next? Collecting teeth? Now seems like a good time to find some new friends with different interests; consider them backup in case your bestie turns beastly (ahaha).
KB: Well, I have a completely different take on this one. When has anyone ever been given such a perfect gift? (I mean the co-worker, not the dragonfly.) She definitely sounds way more amusing than the creepy, paunchy dude who used to sit next to me at my old job picking his nose all day. Count your blessings.
She sounds like a total freak … in a good way. She can probably take you to underground dance parties, secret poetry readings, and weekend trips with her other freak friends (and lots of peyote). Your social life is about to get a major boost, so stop complaining.
But regarding the locket: definitely accept it. She still may be a serial killer.
LG: You know, it’s not every day you have to ponder where you come down on taxidermy. My first reaction was an absolute ban and a kind of spiritual sidling away. But the more I think about it, that seems premature.
A dragonfly necklace, while not my personal style, could actually be kind of cool, like a butterfly preserved in amber. So, as long as the offer appears to be extended in the spirit of friendship, and not some weird victim-grooming, accept. You can always keep it as a trinket on your desk (which is a good rule of thumb for evaluating the appropriateness of most workplace gifts).
But don’t put it next to the photo of your pet. You don’t want to give her any bigger ideas.
MM: I’m with KB on this one. Colleagues who are into dragon fly preservation are definitely more entertaining than those who can go on about Game of Thrones.
I’d do some research before I accept the present, though. What if it’s a code for an invitation into some underground voodoo cult? Her being a serial killer is not the only thing you have to worry about, IMO. Do some digging, and get yourself an evil eye bracelet for good measure. I hear those are pretty effective.
SB: I stand corrected. Once the visions of glassy-eyed stuffed animals and entrails in jars cleared, I could see this differently. While quirky jewelry and artistic insect preservation is not what came to mind at first, when I look at it that way, I have to agree with you ladies.
LG: But SB, I love your line in the sand! We all have dealbreakers, and I’m frankly surprised that taxidermy of any kind isn’t one for more of us. Which begs the question — what is everyone’s dealbreaker?
I think mine would have to be those life-like dolls. I like to think I judge people on their own merit, and it’s not like I couldn’t be friends with someone with a collection of dolls made to look exactly like actual newborns … but they’d have to be a really stellar person. And we could probably never chill at their house because I’ve seen the movie Chucky and I know how it ends.
SH: With all due respect to the believers in the power of evil-eye bracelets, MM, my dealbreaker is just that – I perhaps couldn’t be best friends with someone who thinks nazar is real.
So, I suggest our recipient of the dragonfly necklace think of it this way: Your friend shared the news of her latest pursuit with you in the belief that she won’t be judged (sorry to take you on this guilt trip) and she probably knows where you stand on the quirky barometer and won’t go beyond it. So, don’t let it evoke Dahl-esque imagery and be a sport. She sounds like one.