For weeks all I heard about was Straight Faggy Friend’s woman problems. It was always the same, the age-old “I like her, but she gets scared and pushes me away” type shit. Four weekends in a row I played backup to the plans she canceled last minute before I felt under-appreciated enough to decide I had to get real with him about the situation. We were sitting on the couch at his place, chain-smoking in the spare bedroom on the low end Chinatown.
“She was super flippant about it, all ‘I don’t make plans, babe.’ All I hear when girls say that is ‘I don’t want to commit to anything’. And that was fine, you know? But then why would she exert all that energy to try to get me to hang out?”
“I dunno, could be one of those ‘do you want me? Well you can’t have me’ routines.”
“She’s not the only girl hitting me up. Her loss.”
I laughed, holding the straw from my cocktail between my finger and thumb to keep from stabbing myself in the face with it. “Ah, but she’s the one you’re sitting here talking about. So it’s clearly working.”
“Fuck, really?” he said, staring at the smart phone in his hand. We were quiet after that, sipping our drinks while he tapped back a response he didn’t feel like running by my first. She’s good at this. Really good.
“I should make friends with her. Maybe she’d give me pointers.”
“God, don’t. She’s awful, all these girls are awful.”
“And? Maybe I want to be awful, too.”
“That’s not you at all. You’d get bored of it before you even got started.”
“Not stringing people along is a moral high ground that isn’t getting me anywhere. The air of mystery, the available but never really available thing is so…”
“So… not you” he finished for me.
“Well yeah. But it could be!”
SFF rolled his eyes and went back to texting her, presumably. I’m scrolling through my contacts, wondering if I’ve really resigned myself to spending the next few hours in his company. Maybe there’s someone else to hangout with… There isn’t. Everyone’s out of town or “doesn’t make plans.” I feel his pain in that, at least.
He picks the lighter up off the windowsill for a cigarette he pulled from my pack without asking. “Did I tell you she said the sex wasn’t good last night? We were just laying there naked and she told me it wasn’t working for her. That I was too passive or some shit. Can you believe that?”
“You went to Parsons. So, yeah, I guess I can.”
“The fuck does that have to do with anything?!” he said, insulted that I thought his art school attendance had anything to do with his sexual capabilities.
“Listen, I think you’re probably great in bed.” I’m lying for the sake of his self-esteem and continue. “But you art school kids are all the same. Wax poetic about Bret Easton Ellis novels and then kiss like you want to cry while fucking. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the way you are.”
He’s pushed out his lower lip—pouting, ugh. What an unbecoming look for a fully grown man. “I can be macho or whatever. I just don’t like to.”
“You can but you don’t like it? You aren’t going to throw the bitch down and ravage her. This is the same girl that wouldn’t stop calling after you fucked her while she was all coked out and crying, remember?”
“That was different.”
“Look, I don’t know what to tell you. Hire a shrink or something.”
“You won’t listen to reason and just get more wrapped up in her crazy chick antics. I’m out of suggestions.”
“Aren’t you supposed to just… sympathize with me or something? Let’s cuddle.” He’s under the blanket and motions for me to pull my legs up from in front of me. “I wish I’d met you before I met her,” he said, talking to the back of my head.
“Yeah, well I don’t. You’re a mess.”
“You’re just saying that.”
“No… I’m not. I can’t be that cray-cray. That, and you’re not my type.”
He scoffed. “You don’t even have a type. Unless you count ‘not whoever’s interested in me’ as a type.”
“Dang man, go easy. Sorry you’re bummed on being friend zoned.” Pulling myself out of the one-sided cuddling embrace, I look out the window, studying at the building across the street. Those bricks are so old, weather beaten. The fire escape is empty, I doubt anyone sits out there in the idyllic fashion I used to imagine before I moved here.
“All you’ve done for weeks is lament over a girl that doesn’t like you and then get mad when I call it how I see it. Listening to you whine about some chick before trying to put the moves on me isn’t an aphrodisiac.”
I know he’s fuming, but I’m enjoying his silence. We don’t talk and I light another cigarette. I’m going to have the worst headache tomorrow from chain smoking, but how else do you fill weird quiet moments? Repetitive actions ease the awkwardness for me. I’m only a little stoned, but The Weeknd is playing in the background. I stare at the ceiling, watching thin trails of smoke making their way upwards. Another night spent assuming the role of an unpaid, unqualified relationship therapist. I’ve got to quit doing this.