Periodically, Mr. Right-Click will get a bee in his bonnet about how I don’t have any friends.
I do have friends. In theory.
But not you know, local, close real life, in-person people that I really want to hang out with most of the time. As I write that, I’m really hoping that there’s not somebody I’m going to alienate and there probably is.
It’s like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry says, “I already have three friends — I cannot handle any more!” That’s me. I cannot handle any more than that.
Or like when somebody says something racist and they try to prove that they’re not really racist by saying that some of their best friends are black? I’m like that with people. Some of my best friends are people. Really. I mean it.
When I was younger, I was kind of one of the smart kids, I guess, but I didn’t completely fit in with them, either, mostly because I did not let myself. I have never really been comfortable with the concept of fitting in. Kind of a “Wouldn’t be a member of any club that would have me,” kind of thing.
But in any case, the smarter kids were more accepting of me. Most of them did not seem to have a problem with me, and they were my friends. As it happened, the group of kids I went through school with had a large group of smart kids, so some of the smart kids were also cool kids. Which doesn’t always happen, you know. So this was kind of weird. Because I was kind of not fitting in with the smart kids and not fitting in with the smart kids who were also cool kids at the same time.
My friend R and I always referred to the cool kids as “Bops.” It was “the Bops” this and “the Bops” that. There was a “Bop” party somewhere on the East side. We could go but who knew whether the Bops would want us there. All of the Bops are wearing those stupid jelly sandals again, did you see this?
Well, anyway, part of the smart kids were mixed in with Bops in my year, and this kind of mixed things up. And by the end of my Senior year, I found myself going to parties with Bops and smart kids, and equally not fitting in and fitting in with both groups, equally confused and identifying with each, equally amused and annoyed by each, finding fodder and infuriated by each. By the end of the year I was almost a Bop by Default, much to my chagrin. It was weird. I would have Bop friends and Smart friends, and some would talk to me in some contexts but not others.
Life is weird. It goes in cycles. People are weird. Sometimes they both make me want to punch things. Other times they make me want to hug things. Now that I’m older I have to try to remember the times that have come before and just laugh.
I’ve been working out with Travis for several months now and occasionally, to better pass the time whilst torturing me with a round of Steppers! he will regale me with tales from life as a sort of single 22-year-old male in Los Angeles. I say sort-of single because technically Travis has a girlfriend, but you know how 22-year-olds are.
I have lived in or around Los Angeles my entire life, but never have I heard of Malibu referred to as “The ‘Bu” until Travis told me about going there a few weeks ago with a friend and his girlfriend, and seeing some “exceptionally well maintained cougars” to whom he yelled out something wildly inappropriate, as they crossed an intersection, after imbibing a few too many beers at a Mexican restaurant.
To clarify, I made a point of asking Travis if his girlfriend had been in the car at the time that he said these things to these “cougars.” After he confirmed this, I then asked for his girlfriend’s phone number, so that she and I could have a little “talk,” as well as the approximate ages of said “cougars,” just so that I know, for future reference, what passes for a cougar these days, in case it should ever come up.
Say what you will, but there is a certain wisdom in the simplicity of the 22-year-old male. It is not unlike that mentality I myself had in my mid-twenties, when I thought I just needed to find an investment banker to marry and all of my problems would be solved. Some days, Travis’ tongue-in-cheek life plan includes trolling The ‘Bu for a wealthy cougar to take care of him. On those days, we discuss how I can write about this on my blog and spin it without alienating all of my readers for being totally antifeminist. Other days, we discuss making a workout video for Travis’ “army of totally shredded housemoms.”
Life takes you strange places. Sometimes you don’t realize it until you’re discussing a spinoff series of CougarTown blog posts with a 22 year old personal trainer in between rounds of sumo squats.