By Anthony Paull
I’m mistaken; I thought dating was over, passe, pedestrian, but I’ve come to find we’ve simply altered the rules. Blame it on evolution or survival of the indiscriminate if you will, but I feel the Internet – the need for “social” networking – has shape-shifted us into a new species that no longer identifies with the concept of boundaries, particularly when it comes to interacting with friends face-to-face.
“So? I slept with Drake, big deal,” Patrick says, while catching a beer with me at a German pub. “I’m not even sure what Drake is to me anyway.”
“Well, for the last three years, he’s been one of your best friends.”
“Oh…yeah, hm,” he says, quickly slurping his Guinness to avoid the awkwardness of the moment. “Well, I had to guilt someone into sleeping with me. What the hell was I supposed to do? I haven’t had sex in like, two months.”
Yes, two months! There’s no telling how long that is in dog years or asshole years.
Therefore, I should understand, and I should accept the fact that Patrick resorted to the desperate measure of doing Drake – an act which technically, I’d be fine with if it wasn’t for his tactics: specifically his “woe is me” method, where usually after drowning in three beers, he openly questions why anyone would have sex with him. “I’m so fat and ugly!”
“I can’t believe that actually works,” I groan.
“Dude, of course it works. Women have been doing it for years,” he assures me.
My response: whiplash, coupled by a few gratuitous eye-blinks. “Stop being so dramatic. You know I just can’t have sex with anyone.” Surveying the bar, he leans in for a whisper. “You know my problem.”
Yes, besides a martyr, Patrick is also a sharp-shooter, the quickest gun in town. In other words, he pre-ejaculates. Mainly, before he gets his zipper down….
“You know, I bet some guys find that sexy,” I inform him.
“Oh bullshit, Anthony. You always try to make everything sexy,” he jabs. “There’s nothing sexy about it.”
‘Tis true, but I’m grasping for straws to make light of the situation. I hear that’s what you do as a friend. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should just start having sex with him. Is that how it works? Seriously, I haven’t dated for awhile so I don’t know. We’re in a bar. We’re having drinks, talking sex. Could my flattery be considered a come-on? When your friends start having sex with one another how do you know where you stand with any of them…ever?
The next day, I contemplate this while heading to the funeral of another friend’s grandmother. I wonder about my role in the funeral. Should I be attending? Is this what my friend would want? I can’t call and bother him, and I’m not sure if it’s wise for him to bother me either – mainly because I’m pathetic, and still dealing with the death of my nine-year relationship. Each of us, we’re swallowing so much loss and sadness. We each need a helping of support, so why do I question if it’s proper for me to provide him that support today? Who knows, maybe I’m more confused than Patrick about roles in a friendship. Or maybe I’m just too horny to think straight.
Would life be more clear if I said screw it and started screwing everyone too?
“Dude, it happened again,” Patrick says. On the phone, his voice sounds panicky, as I drive up the crowded interstate to the church. “I shot all over Drake’s leather couch. I couldn’t stop it. Dude, I got some on his cat…hit him like a bullet.”
“I don’t need all the details.”
“Please, I can’t deal with this. What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing!” I yell. “It happens to a lot of guys. It’s normal. Get on medication and get over it!”
“Well, you don’t have to be nasty. What’s your problem?”
“I’m on my way to a funeral.”
“Oh,” he says, concerned. Then he goes silent, turning the “oh” into an “ooh” when he forms an idea. Maybe if he were to have sex somewhere completely un-sexy, like a, hm, funeral, he’d be able to perform longer. He’d drop atom bombs. “Dude, why didn’t I think of this earlier? I just have to have sex somewhere where I’m totally turned off. Any ideas?”
“Well, why don’t you try my car, because right now, I seem to be totally turned off in it…probably because of this conversation.”
Patrick doesn’t find me funny. I’m not being supportive, he says. If I were a good friend, I would help him; I would have an answer. Sadly, he tells me that his ailment fails to allow him to feel like a real man. What will Drake think of him if he can’t fully perform? What will Drake tell everyone?”
“He’s your friend. He won’t tell anyone anything,” I assure him, walking into the church.
He lingers with a response. “Maybe that’s why we have sex with friends, because we trust them,” he says.
“Yeah, and maybe that’s why I’m not having sex,” I admit. “Because lately, I can’t remember what a real friend is.”