The idea popped into my head about half way through my third drink. I was almost drunk enough to spew out word vomit, any unfiltered thought that crossed my mind. But not quite. Wait. Should I say that? Will that be awkward? Nah. He’s my bro-bestie, if I can’t speak my mind to him friendship, and really life as we know it, is a sham.
So I spoke.
“You know what I just realized? If life was a chick flick, we would end up together.”
I caught Walter mid-sip into his porter. He swallowed.
“Yeah, I know,” he replied.
As if I had just said, “The subway at rush hour is crowded.” Or, “New York is cold and horrible in February.” Or, “I write a blog called New York Cliché.
When I think about it, I guess it was an obvious statement. All forms of media want us to believe that men and women can’t just be friends. Perhaps the most controversial cliché ever, but we’ve seen it a million times. The average movie, television show, book, (even blog!) serves as evidence to the statement. Friends was called FRIENDS, not Couples, not Lovers, but how did it end? When Harry Met Sally: perfect example. You’ve all heard by now that J.K. Rowling just blew up any belief that Harry Potter and Hermione were really, actually just friends. Then there’s another well-know Harry (at least around these posts), my ex-boyfriend Harry, who left me for another woman- his best female friend.
You can think of a million more examples. Until recently, I vehemently fought against the stereotype. “I don’t believe that for a second! Of course men and women can just be friends! I have plenty of guy friends!” Now I start to wonder. After the man you love leaves you for his female best friend, it’s hard not to believe it (and dwell/obsess about it) for scores of seconds. Is it true? Are my best dude friend and I just biding time? Ya know, meeting for lunch and faking orgasms in delis, until one day 5 years from now we proclaim our love for each other on New Year’s Eve? Is it inevitable?
Maybe we just don’t remember examples where men and women are simply friends because it’s unremarkable. Because there’s not enough drama. We get bored, loose interest. If Dawson and Joey had never dated, millennials to this day would still feel profoundly gypped. Dawson’s Creek wouldn’t have lasted two seasons. Everyone knows the Will They or Won’t They dance get’s tiresome if there’s no pay off.
Walter and I have canoodled the Will They or Won’t They dance for years. To the point where our friendship circle is tired of gossiping about it. No one would deny in a different dimension, with timing a skosh different from our own, we would have ended up dating. I imagine a horrible break up, ending with us never speaking again. Fortunately timing is everything, a cliché you know is true, so that never happened. In this dimension we remain fast friends, the best of friends. We don’t want more, we’ve certainly had enough chances.
If life was a chick flick, there’s a montage of Walt and I cruising in a convertible, blaring tunes and singing along to the golden age of pop-punk. There’s a scene where we stay up all night talking and sharing an e-cigarette, watching the sun come up over the roof tops of Harlem. A trip upstate where I crash around blackberry bushes picking berries and Walter looks on bemused from the side of the road. Next moment a bee stings me, right on my right butt cheek.We both hold each other, tears streaming down our faces. Because we’re laughing so hard, not because a bee sting on the ass hurts like a bitch.
If life was a chick flick, Walt forsakes New York, moving in October for the sunny beaches of Florida. I go visit him in February, my two roommates in tow. We arrive at the airport in matching dresses and squeal with delight when we see our friend waiting for us at the gate. The next 3 days are spent at the beach, exploring little Florida coastal towns, sitting on the dock in front of his house smoking cigars and willing dolphins to jump out of the water.
None of the above is the work of a screen writer, it’s all true. We’ve had some great times. Right now I’m in Florida visiting my bro-bestie. Best. Vacation. Ever. Please don’t be disappointed when it fails to culminate with a declaration of love at Disney World or an epic romantic gesture at the airport. No. We are here doing our part to prove that yes, men and women can actually be friends. Seriously, they can!
Proving that is what this vacation is all about.
Just kidding. It’s really about trading disgusting, cold, slushy NYC for sunny, warm, beautiful Florida. Duh.
Life is not a chick flick.
It’s so much better.