By Anthony Paull
Lucky us, we’ve moved so quickly from Generation X to Generation Y that we haven’t realized we’ve returned to the onset of the alphabet with Generation B. Yes, many of us, programmed from birth, are so in tune with the fact that life isn’t fair – passing our days whistling to Rolling Stones’ theory of you can’t always get what you want – that we can’t help but ensure we have something to fall back on should our lives crumble when we least expect it.
Hence, we develop a back-up plan. And not just in one miniscule aspect of our tumultuous lives, but in many.
For instance, in grade school, we’re taught not one, but two sports or instruments before deciding which one sticks. Then in college, many of us choose to double-major, backing a risk-taking theater degree with education or psychology just in case our dreams never come to fruition. And finally, when settling on a career choice, even one we’re truly passionate about, we’re smart enough to keep a well-diversified resume, balancing our talents should we opt (or be forced) to take an exciting, new direction.
Oh, how we have become a Generation of Plan B. And what’s wrong with that? After all, we know that nothing is truly forever in life. We’ve seen families melt and form into new wax statues before our eyes. We’ve suffered the crippling effects of divorce, either firsthand or by association. We hear the pop divas on the radio, the subdued cracks in their sweet candy-corn voices, singing to reach out to their estranged fathers. We empathize.
Then we cover our bases to make sure the same thing will never happen to us, especially in our romantic relationships. The problem is: all of this calculating, all of this preparation, is great when your partner, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, deems you as plan A, but what happens when you realize you’re Plan B?
Meet Marshall. He’s a sweet, sweet friend who recently told me his secret: the man he thought was his boyfriend, the man who ignites his child-bearing hips, has another boyfriend. But wait! That’s not the bad part.
The bad part is the other boyfriend is Plan A. So what does that entail, you ask? Well, Plan A gets escorted to five-star restaurants and resorts while Plan B is happy at home with a Happy Meal. Plan A is taken on plane trips to exotic islands named after cruise ships in the Caribbean, while Plan B (aka Marshall) only gets a trip to the club, where sometimes he has to pitch in for gas.
And to think, Marshall thought his boyfriend cherished him. “He tended to be so thoughtful,” Marshall explained to me at the same club where he discovered the truth. “He always remembered the type of Happy Meal I like: chicken nuggets with apple dippers on the side.”
“Yeah, but sweety, the problem is the apples and you weren’t the only ones being dipped,” I reminded him.
“Right,” he said, lost in thought, before slugging his Corona Light. Then he told me how he met Plan A two weeks ago. His boyfriend had been so busy doing community service (or servicing the community) that he wanted to make it up to Marshall by buying him dinner at the club. Unfortunately, Plan A was their server. It seems Plan A had forgotten to inform anyone about his fab new job.
It didn’t take long before eyebrows were raised, tweezed, and the sad truth came out. Luckily, Marshall was civil and bolted out the door, relying on Plan C-U Later rather than crying out his eyes. He saved that for me, mewling something to the effect that he had a mouth like Texas and legs like Gandhi. “So why isn’t that enough?”
“For some guy, it will be,” I promised him.
Still, I had my doubts. In these fear-ridden times, we’re constantly bombarded by paranoia on the news. Don’t go near your mail; there might be Anthrax in it. Don’t go near your boyfriend; there might be an STD in him. The terrorists have taught their camels how to swim, and they’re on their way! We’ve become a race terrified of being alone. We need to be surrounded by super-sized fries and double-double cheeseburgers. Remember: comfort lies in numbers. So why have one boyfriend when you can have two? Do you want to loan your entire heart out to someone who might die or leave you tomorrow? Why can’t you share your heart? You have enough love to go around. The ubiquitous thought of being single leaves the weaker of the human species wary, contemplating the benefits of super-sizing each of their intimate relationships.
So how can you tell if you’re Plan B? It’s simple: Ask your boyfriend where all of his time and money goes if none of it’s spent on or with you. And if he hasn’t got an answer, “B” smart enough to inform him that you’ve devised your own new plan: one where you lose his two-timing ass with the knowledge that you deserve a man who puts you first.