Do we get a tax break if we get married? I think it depends on how much we make. We need to look into that. Have you researched wedding dance classes? I told you I’m on it. There’s a place in the Mission. OmiGod, this is going to be so much fun planning a wedding. What if we find “the one” after we end up getting married. HAHA! That’s never going to happen. We’re too fucked up in the head.
I used to go to my gay BFF’s place often, so often that you’d be surprised to know I drove cross-town from my condo in Western Addition to his loft in Potrero Flats. “It’s meeeee,” I’d yell into the door phone, then bound up two flights of stairs, and help myself into his always unlocked apartment. Gliding past his rescue dog, given her propensity to pee when excited, I headed straight for the couch and was sipping wine within 60 seconds of arrival. Reading material poured out of my bag: work reports, magazines, books. He resumed work on his laptop. I got cozy by tucking the alpaca wool throw underneath my legs.
We had the best of both worlds—casually dating in the city, but coming home to someone you’ve known for a lifetime. A comfortable relationship like that can, not surprisingly, be quite toxic because of the built-in fall-back option. I’d drift into a zone during what should have been a romantic dinner date and think, I need to leave so I can eat salted caramel ice-cream and watch So You Think You Can Dance with my BFF!
It was just as hard when I did finally meet “the one.” The toll it took on the BFF must have been similar to getting divorced (albeit without hiring a lawyer), then dealing with your ex-spouse’s newfound relationship.
“I give your marriage two years,” the BFF would swipe.
“Who says shit like that? I’ve never heard anything so mean in my life,” I’d cry.
“The only reason you’re upset is because it’s true.”
“Look, don’t take it out on me that you can’t find a committed relationship,” I’d volley.
“I have a boyfriend, thank you very much.”
“He’s cheating on you and you know it!”
I was just as selfish. It was only after I met Dean that I wanted the BFF to find someone. Before that, I scowled at any guy he dated. “Are you serious? You’re going to date someone who went to community college?” “He seems cool. I mean he kinda has a halitosis problem, not sure how you can stand kissing him, but normal otherwise.” “He’s a total coke-head. What’s wrong with you?” “That’s disgusting. He’s young enough to be your son.”
Life is really all about being in sync. Allowing others to be in love, when you’re in love. Eliciting joy when happy. Empathizing when feeling down. It’s natural, and human, to be envious, to be jealous, to be an all-around devil of a person. I imagine it takes a patron saint to genuinely feel someone else’s happiness when you’re experiencing a rough patch.
I was on the phone the other day with a friend who apologized for baring her burdens. “Girl, wait ‘til you hear my stuff.” My pain made her smile—but not in a bad way, not vindictively. It’s a fact that misery loves company. When you’re down in the dumps, you don’t want to know that everyone else in the world has won the lottery. Of course it’s uplifting to realize that others are suffering alongside you.
When the BFF did meet “the one,” I cheered. I provided round-the-clock moral support. I repositioned the fights as opportunities to learn and grow. I advised, counseled, I praised. “You’re doing such a good job. He’s such a great guy. Don’t fuck this up.”