Seeking a friend after marriage has been tricky, especially the unicorn of them all – a “best” one, because every wife knows that her husband should be her best friend, followed by her mom if they’re on good terms or maybe even a charming brother. But if you ask me, these people are kind of disqualified from the title because they’ve already got a place in the inner circle. If you ask me, we need to spread our love and tantrums around.
It was easier finding a best friend when I was single. I was available and needy, and eager to feel chosen. The signs of friendship were easier to read then, too, like when I had to write a name down for my college’s rooming lottery or make a dinner reservation before the Sadie Hawkins dance. This created for some high-stakes drama, feelings were hurt and people were excluded, but I also knew who felt the same way about me and who just wasn’t that into my AIM emoticons.
Now that I have a live-in partner, I don’t call you every day to just see what you’re up to, I don’t assume we’re doing something on a Friday night without emailing a few days in advance, and I don’t give you “first-run versions” of my problems unless Rush is in a staff meeting and Mom turned her phone-off, and I am about to have a first-rate, hypoglycemic meltdown. I’m a little less available and a little less needy than I once was for a best friend. I assume you are, too.
But you know what’s still there? You know what I miss from knowing that you’re waiting to see the new Nicholas Sparks movie with me or that you’ve already blocked off my birthday two months from now? It’s the eagerness to be chosen.
I’ve been told God chooses me, but sometimes I think of God like that kid who puts Valentines in everyone’s slot. It’s nice but not always surprisingly after a while. I waited twenty-two years for a man to choose me (and I, him), but now there’s not much I can do to make him choose me more. The adrenaline of the chase has leveled off to a smoldering simmer – still hot but less noisy.
Of course, a best friend looks different now. I think of Mindy’s reasoning from last week’s episode of The Mindy Project: “Best friend isn’t a person. It’s a tier.” And maybe she’s right. I find myself using the term loosely for people from different stages of life: “best friend from high school” or “the girl I roomed with all throughout college” or “the maid of honor at my wedding.” But, then again, maybe we were right when we exchanged those yarn-tied friendship bracelets and matching lock and key necklaces from Claires.
Call me available, needy, or eager, but most days I want a real-life person here in Durham. I want someone who puts me at the top of her list and I put her at the top of mine, so I can just know already and drop this politically-correct adult bent towards inclusivity at the expense of intimacy.
I want to know that I’m chosen. That you’re waiting for my call. And that you carry a candy bar in your zipper pocket, always armed for the front-lines of one of my first-rate, hypoglycemic meltdowns.