Monday, March 07, 2011
Making friends in a new town when you’re married, child free and over forty can be challenging. If you’re married, the single people on the prowl have no reason to talk to you (unless they are dedicated homewreckers, of course.) People with children gravitate toward others with children so that their kids can play together, leaving them with unfettered adult time to drink and do blow. And as for those of us over forty ---- well, we’re just too tired.
So what is an old, married and childless Punchman to do in a new town? (And yes, we’ve been in San Diego two years now---but remember that for old people, two years go by in a heartbeat.)
Making friends as a couple is an option, but it’s definitely a different dynamic than having friends on your own. You interact differently with the world when you are half of a unit than when you function as a solo entity. Plus, since I am mildly retarded I have the additional problem of the George People conundrum. It’s important for me to make friends on my own so that my personality doesn’t continue to evaporate.
I have heard repeatedly that the best way to make friends is to get involved in activities you like. That way, you will likely meet other people with similar interests and yada yada yada. But it’s not always that simple for a mildly retarded Punchman. For one thing, I don’t really like anything or anybody and have no legitimate interests to speak of, so I wouldn’t know where to start with that. Plus, there aren’t any clubs I know of whose mission statements include the torturing and murder of annoying sales reps or the watching of bad made-for-TV-movies for hours on end. I'm a bit of a lone horse, I'm afraid.
One time I decided to place an ad on the “Strictly Platonic” section of Craigslist. I wrote a funny ad, specifying that I’m a sarcastic bitch who likes Amy and David Sedaris and that my primary purpose in life (aside from complaining) is to eat good food and drink lots of alcohol. I received many replies, about 60% of them from guys who apparently had called in sick to school on the day the word "platonic" was taught in vocabulary class--- and although I did enjoy seeing some of their nude pictures, they were not what I was after.
A few other people replied with depressingly generic “I’d like to be friends with you, I like having coffee and taking walks on the beach” kinds of responses. (Buzzer noise --- NEXT!) One guy wrote me such a long sad-sack reply that I had to turn off my computer and down a few Darvocets just to get over the urge to slit my wrists.
Only one person --- one person --- seemed to capture the spirit of my ad and replied in a fun, joking manner. We started exchanging emails and eventually did meet ---he turned out to be a nice person and we have become pretty friendly. Only problem is, he’s a non-drinking vegetarian. And since I’m an alcoholic who, given the opportunity, would gladly swallow a full pound of bacon in a sitting, we are far from a perfect match in terms of spending much free time together.
Which is why the other night I placed a phone call to a guy who had come to one of our parties as a guest of another friend, a guy with Scandinavian roots like me (meaning that he knows how to drink.) We both speak Norwegian and otherwise had had a pretty good time talking to each other. I decided I should try to get to know him, so I asked our mutual friend (more of an acquaintance of George’s, actually) for his phone number.
I left this gentleman a message four nights ago and he has not returned my call. I told him I go to the gym right near his apartment building, and that maybe he’d like to meet me for a glass of wine at the wine bar next to the gym sometime. I gave him my cell phone number, because aside from my office land line, our cells are the only phones we use.
Now I fear he is not calling me back because he thinks I called him to troll around on George. I asked him to meet “me,” not “us.” I said “call my cell phone.” I asked him to drink wine with me.
Yeah, I guess that could sound kind of flirty.
I thought maybe I could call again and specify that I’m not looking to bone him --- but that might be even weirder. Not sure what to do.
Shit, it’s like being single all over again.
Update: The mutual friend ended up calling George to tell him of my message to said 3rd party friend. And suggested that the four of us get together.
Ok, now this was even MORE awkward because, instead of just calling me back, this guy felt the need to call Mutual Friend to ask why the fuck I was leaving him messages asking him to drink wine and call my cell phone number.
So I manned up and emailed Mutual Friend and just said "step off bitch, I'm not cheating on my husband, I just want to have a conversation with someone where I can get a word in edgewise and maybe do it partly in Norwegian."
Or a version of that which was maybe slightly nicer.
Mutual Friend forwarded my email to New Friend, and as a result I now have a New Friend date! I feel just like Kelly on "The Office!"