OK, that’s possibly a little misleading. Possibly a little very misleading. I’m no Kenny Rodgers, if you know what I mean. There haven’t been that many who have travelled in and out my door, if you know what I mean. I’ve loved many boys (and still do), but I haven’t luuuuved many boys, if you know what I mean. Cough. Cough. Good Catholic girl, etcetera, etcetera. And yet, and yet . . .
A couple weeks ago, I went out and kicked up a little dust with my girls on a Thursday night and long story short, I ended up calling some old buddies at three o’clock in the morning. You know, just to shoot the shit. First I called The Fox, then I called Devious Knickers and then I called Tartare. By some miracle, none of them picked up, and I left them each long and ludicrous voicemails. I talked and talked and talked until each of their respective phones cut me off. What can I say? Doctor Dash was working an overnight shift and I was bouncing around the house, snarfing Dutch Crunch Mesquite BBQ Chips and feeling chatty. I was in a state of mind that called to mind my old good time friends. I could have kept dialing, but after Tartare a seed of good sense took root and I switched gears and listened to some loud music with my cushy head phones. Like I said, I was bouncin’.
The next morning, over a woozy and funny breakfast with some of the aforementioned crazy girls, I happened to mention that I had called my buds in the wee hours and Nanook’s eyes bugged out at me just a little: You went home and drunk dialed two GUYS? There was no judgment in her voice – just surprise. It hadn’t even occurred to me that my calls might be deemed inappropriate by oh, I don’t know, like, the whole world.
I started pondering, because that’s what I do. Was it inappropriate for me, a married lady, to call two married guys at three a.m? (By the way, Doctor Dash is also friends with them – he has a separate and distinct but equally as important friendship as mine – but I knew them first – they are mine). What’s the litmus test for inappropriateness? What my mother would think? What their wives would think? The purity of my intentions? What The Fox and Devious Knickers think? What Doctor Dash thinks? What is the test?
And more importantly, WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE A TEST? They are my friends. Some of the most hilarious, trippy adventures of my life have happened to me with one or both of them at my side. London, Chicago, Southbend, Detroit, New York, Seattle, Key West and God knows where else. We’ve wandered and imbibed and woven miles of floating tapestries with our serpentine conversations, our peculiar observations and our extravagant laughter.
They are two of my favorite people in the world. They just happen to be men.
By mid morning, I had heard back from both of them. The Fox and I chatted on the phone and Devious Knickers and I exchanged a flurry of emails. They were amused by my ramblings, sounded happy to hear from me, if a little surprised at the late hour. It was great to catch up.
Since he is ever willing to indulge me in my musings, to delve into the shadowy crevices of human nature, to poke holes in the smooth fabric of convention and peek his curious little eyeball through, I wrote to Devious Knickers about the issue I’d been noodling since breakfast – why did I feel like, suddenly, the friendship that I had with them was no longer legitimate? No longer sanctioned. Devious Knickers responded: “And to get back to the issue of calling boys that aren’t your husband at 3:30 a.m, yes, you are right that there aren’t too many people who would understand what was at play there.” But isn’t it enough that we all knew what was at play there? I knew I wasn’t being shady and he knew I wasn’t being shady, so isn’t it ipso facto NOT shady?
And to take it one step further, aren’t we allowed to do what we used to do ever again? Eat, drink and smoke everything in sight and go on a crazy adventure in some strange place? There are socially acceptable reasons to see my college girls, but them? It seems like it just can’t happen anymore – not without chaperones. They are lost to me and I to them. We joked of going to Cairo. Exotic cafes with hookahs and belly dancers, delicious lemony mezze, dusty labyrinthian streets, bustling markets with shady characters beckoning and yelling over tables of gold, silk, and fruit. Oh, to go to Cairo!
And to be fair, I got to marry one of my adventure boys. We do go on adventures – I have that in my life, but I still miss those boys, those adventures, that freedom, that youth.
Doctor Dash, is an eminently fair guy, who understands my friendships and loyalties, the things that make me happy. He knows how I am about my guy friends because he was (and is) one of my guy friends. And he agrees that there is a double standard for old friendships based on gender. He agrees that it’s unfair. He agrees that it doesn’t make sense. But the standard is there nevertheless. We talked about the fact that he could jet off to meet up with them at any time, no questions asked. On the one hand I’d be happy that the boys I love are together, reenforcing and tending to old and valuable friendships. On the other hand, I would be bereft. I would feel so left out. So sad to be missing the fun.
To my surprise, he said: You could go to Cairo, but only if both of them went. Aha! Oho! I’ll take that! He is nothing if not fair, my Doctor Dash. Fox? Devious Knickers? What do you say? Cairo? Hulloooo? Hulloooloooloooo???
Just mulling anyway.
Just mulling – missing a vanished piece – wondering if it’s vanished forever.