Twitter introduced the “#FF” and we tweeters know that stands for “Follow Fridays”. In Twitter world, #FF is a way to recommend new friends to like-minded followers and discover new and exciting people to follow. But in my world, FF stands for something else. In my world, FF stands for Filter Free (or “FFF”, as in Filter Free Fridays).
The term “filter free” was originated by Child One and is oft-times accompanied by an emphatic gesture – her hand waving up and down in front of her mouth as she looks at her father and says, “Daddy! Filter!!!” Because sometimes, Sig Other says something out loud that perhaps he should not. Sometimes, Sig Other says things that we may all think but only he gives voice to. Sometimes, Sig Other struggles to adhere to the constraints of polite society.
It isn’t that he’s impolite, exactly. It’s just that he mostly says what he means. And mostly he manages to do so in a way that is not terribly offensive. Mostly. To be specific, Sig Other’s filter – the one that thoughts usually pass through before coming out his mouth – is more porous than some. He was raised, the son of a diplomat, in embassies all over the world, and so the filter engages fully at cocktail parties and in boardrooms and in ways which allow him to function most days quite successfully.
But something happens on Fridays. Some diabolical demon of destruction comes and lays waste to whatever thin membrane exists between every waking thought in that big brain and the impulse to express them. The breakdown begins at sunset and often carries through the weekend. And hence we dubbed these lapses “Filter Free Fridays”.
As Filter Free Fridays coincide with the Sabbath, witnesses are most often family and closest friends. Sig Other lets loose at the dinner table and, depending on mood and amount of sleep, can continue his Filter Free state through an entire weekend. There is Filter Free Frankness, known to most as inappropriately naked candor. And Filter Free Fun, which is often a song, a limerick, or loud scatological freestyling. Filter Free Fridays can manifest in public as well as in private. This can be as slight as a naughty joke or as massive as a loud outburst in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Mostly, Filter Free Fridays are entertaining. At worst they are embarrassing. Very rarely they are offensive.
On the rare occasion that the triple F manifests at the outward edge of acceptable, I consider becoming a Monday through Thursday wife. Why, I wonder, must I accept my role as wife of a part-time victim of temporary Tourettes? But along with the pain brought by lack of filter, there is also and quite often, great joy. Hilarious, uproarious hijinx are born of the filter free zone. And laughter accompanies Friday nights in as great measure as pain. On the rare occasion that I miss the filter, I remind myself that my vows were not “in politeness and in health”, they were not “until unbridled truth do you part”. And I knew about the Triple F long before we married. So I carry on and wait for the adventure ahead.