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“This Friend”


People in relationships baffle me. They spend their lives living vicariously through singles, dragging them into their cult of couplehood, when really, what must they want other than to be back in those uncomfortable but oh so attractive shoes? It’s schaedenfreude.

They’re not happy until we’re miserable like them. They obsess over adding new couples to the guest list for charades or a round of Trivial Pursuit: the Pop Culture edition, and leave no stone unturned when seeking out converts-to-be. The most elaborate, and most obvious, baiting for information is the attempted nonchalant life inquiry. “So how are things? You know, work, your 401K…” Blah blah blah, quick segue: “You seeing anybody? Oh, really? Because I have this friend…” There is no question in my mind that every person who has been single for a minute of their lives has been hypothetically set up with “this friend.”

“This friend” gets around. Every couple known to man has tried their damnedest to set up “this friend” with a nice significant other to share in double dates and dinner party conversation, and smugly grin over such quality matchmaking they have mastered. “Well, Jenny and Matt actually met because of us. Funny story—Oh, no, you tell it, hon…”

The story is never funny. The story is a sham and you, my former favorite couple, are not the inventors of setting up friends. Nor should you strain your shoulder by patting yourself on the back. People need to hook up, it’s human instinct. You arranged sex for your friends to keep them from b*tching about the dating scene. It’s like keeping a child from screaming by shoving a candy bar in his mouth. This is not a novel idea.

But please. Go on. Tell me about “this friend.” I’m sure he’s attractive (once you get to know him) and so funny (about six cocktails into the evening). He’s just my type, if you take away all of my prerequisites and throw in some “tolerable” details. Maybe, in fact, we should just cut the awkward ‘date’ part and get down to business. Fact is, “this friend” really only cares that I’m anatomically correct, and that neither of us have gotten any in awhile. He deals with me being tall, and if I’m not his idea of pretty, he exaggerates a bit to his buddies. Everybody wins come morning.

I’m sorry, and I’m sure that my existence as a lone creature is nothing short of pathetic to you. But am I that desperate in your eyes? “This friend” is the best I can do now? Am I really there? Already? And even worse… am I that awful as just me?