Falling for Friends: a Field Guide

By Loulou Sloss:

I am a romantic. This is a deadly understatement. I am such a romantic that as I pick up my libido reducing SSRIs from CVS and my hand graces the one of the sleep deprived pharmacist, I savor the romantic connotations for the rest of the day. Of course, only until I pass by an old homeless man on the street and he says, “A dollar, miss?” and I say, “No I mustn’t, not here. Oh what will father think with our engagement and all.”


This quality of mine has contributed both positively and negatively to my life. Positively in the way that I can see even the most minute actions as great feats of desire and intrigue. Sure my math teacher is 53, has a husband, and a snaggle-tooth. But maybe he asked me to stay after class to profess his undying devotion and whisk me off my scuffed Lands End loafer-clad feet with bad back and all.


But my romantic fate has also led me to great heartache and frustration. The most common way I achieve this anguish is by falling in love with my friends. This love is never requited but always tremendously awkward. And here is how I do it:


Stage 1: “Oh he does that a lot, do I think it’s hot?!?”

This stage is all about being receptive. “Hmm.. Every time he sits down he I can see the top of

the Gap Kids logo on his underwear. That’s peculiar,” you will think about your friend as the two of you work on your cumulative Spanish project together. Next class you will think, “that's

endearing!” Then, “That’s so cute.” “Kinda hot.” And next thing you know, you're 10 minutes

late to every Spanish class because you go to the bathroom and cake on so much eyeshadow he asks if you’re taking “Intro to Self Defense” this term. This stage is the only one in which the process can be reversed. Once you have moved past it, you're in too deep, like a bad doctor giving a Colonoscopy.


Stage 2: “As friends, of course.”

This stage is when things get really awkward. You have spent at least 3 weeks pining over this idiot. His smile, his speaking cadence, the way he takes his Snapchat selfies from a particular angle that makes his nose shadow cover the pimple over his lip. Whatever it is, no one else sees it. The dance is coming up. PAGEANTRY, your weak spot. You devise a plan and explain it to your best friend who you think is the only one who knows about your crush. “I can just ask him to the dance as friends; we’d both be going alone anyway.” She will of course say it's a terrible idea, but you will do it anyway. He says yes.


Stage 3: “The Dance”

Spanx, tweezers, blow dry, shaving parts of your body he couldn't even see if he tried. He knows what you look like, you’ve been friends for quite some time, BUT tonight for some reason, you think that one extra hair in your unibrow would make all the difference. You show up to the dance, and he is waiting outside and gives you the mandatory “Wow, you look good.” Which of course could either mean. “You look like if my grandmother threw herself into an oncoming train, lived only by a thread, and put on mascara to try to distract from the scars.” or “You beautiful princess kiss me right now in front of all these chaperones.” When taking photos, he doesn't automatically put his arm around you and it feels like he’s peeing in your bowl of soup, and not even sexually! And lastly the greatest pain. He’s dancing farther and farther away from you and closer to the girl who you corrected when she used the said subjunctive conjugation of trabajar last Spanish class. He leaves with her and it is a knife to the heart.


Stage 4: “I’m so excited for you!”

So. The dance is over. You cried all you “waterproof” mascara off and ditched your breakfast

plans for a bag of Hershey's Kisses and a bagel that feels as if it is an attack on your Jewish

heritage, slathered in butter. “El Jefe ;) is typing...” Hope is recovered in your heart, and then

you read it. “Gabby and I are dating now!! Such a hot piece of ass, I'm so excited. Anyways, I

hope this doesn't make things awkward between us because of your feelings for me.” What? He knew? But you only stared at him when he would look at himself in the reflection of his dark computer! And how were you supposed to know that he got a notification every time you wrote him a poem about his Jawline and then deleted it? You are humiliated. Did your Spanish teacher know too??


Stage 5: Aftermath

After this last realization, things go back to normal. You get a B+ on your project but that is

because he choked over the word “sacapuntas.” It brings down your average. It hurts, but soon you realize: Your friend in Math got a haircut...


This sad, awkward, uniquely adolescent tale of mine will prevent you from doing the same. But I leave you with these last words of caution: it hurts a million times more when you fall for a girl friend!!

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©2018 by The Milking Cat.