I often tell people that the reason I skip my college and high school reunions is that I am already in touch with all of the people with whom I wish to be in touch. And that's true. I learned most everything I needed to know about my former classmates when they were my current classmates. As a result, some of them made the cut and remain good friends, some of them didn't yet still somehow linger in my fantasy football league, and yet others get the dreaded "ignore" button on facebook, and are blacklisted completely.
The problem these days is not my old friends. It's my new ones. I don't have any.
Living in a brand new city, even one as vast as New York, it hasn't been easy to meet new people. I've been here about nine months now and aside from hanging with some old friends once in a while and occasionally getting together with some of my wife's friends from work, there isn't much new blood. And every time I try to chat up some piece of ass, she sees my wedding ring and runs away. Damn marriage.
The places I spend the most of my time aren't necessarily ideal areas in which to cultivate new friendships, but until I succumb to #4 below, they're these first three are really the best I've got.
1. Local bars
On New Year's Day we stopped by a bar we like for some greasy hangover food and ill-advisedly proceeded to take shots of Jameson with the bartender. While there we struck up a conversation with the couple sitting next to us, encouraged by the fact that they too partook in some Jameson, and got along well enough to mistake some light, liquor fueled banter for potential friendship. After going home and sleeping it off, we decided longterm relationships are rarely based in chili dogs and whiskey. Plus, they were married dentists. I just don't have room in my life for new dentists right now.
A few weeks later we wandered into the dive down the street and witnessed perhaps the most intense round of karaoke I've ever seen. Some longhair got up there and went berserk, out-Geoff Tate-ing Geoff Tate on some obscure Queensryche song, and then pulling up an equally serious-haired friend to sing backup, backup!, on "Wanted Dead Or Alive." It was all I could do to keep from laughing and getting stabbed with a pool cue. The lesson? Best karaoke bar EVER. Not the best breeding ground for friendships.
One problem with the bars in my neighborhood is that they are mobbed by parents toting strollers. I imagine that once I have a kid of my own, the thing will be the ultimate ice-breaker and it will be nice to be around so many like-minded people starting new families. Kind of a built-in support system. But right now I want to get hammered in peace and if that mushmouth touches my arm again I'm gonna rip off its ears.
When I moved to New York I was transferred into a new role at my company, one for which I was blatantly overqualified and with which I quickly grew bored. It didn't help that my new colleagues were all 24 year old girls on their second jobs, giggling about Hello Kitty and sticking pictures of the Gossip Girl cast on their cubicle walls. When I suddenly found myself reporting to my third boss in three months - an arrogant 25 year old computer nerd who made me help him move his apartment during a rainstorm in the middle of a work day - I pretty much decided that I'd sooner watch a marathon of the Frank Caliendo show than stick around that gig much longer.
3. The Subway
The closest I came to making friends on the subway was that time the large shirtless man rocking in his seat and mumbling to himself got off at my stop and proceeded to repeatedly drop his pants in front of me. Unfortunately he must have seen another friend nearby as he proceeded to lurch Frankenstein style across the platform, occasionally treating other people to the party in his pants. We've since lost touch.
4. Some kind of neighborhood club or class or something
Haven't quite gotten to this point yet, not much of a joiner myself. We almost gave a kickball league a shot just for the promise of post-game happy hours but ultimately let the deadline pass. This option probably makes the most sense except for the fact that I hate other people and joining a uniformed league with my wife reminds me a little to much of that couple in Best In Show. If you think I'm down for that than you don't know my dog. You obviously don't know my dog.
The fact is, when you're over 30 and married, it's not quite as easy to make new friends as it was when you lived in a dorm with 300 other single people. You kind of need to meet other couples, as single people want little to do with you, and the odds of you everyone getting along aren't great. Especially when you're a cynical, misanthropic prick like me who can be too much for the friends I've already got. I'm starting to think that my storied repertoire of pitch-black dirty jokes might not be the best ice-breakers these days. The last person I told the one about the clown suit spit in my face. That was quite a shock. I didn't think a girl that young would even understand it!
Out of desperation, I've even been trying to meet some people on craigslist. It's not ideal but something's gotta give. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get anything going just yet as my wife keeps walking in right as I'm about to capture the perfect snapshot of my penis.
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
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7.18.08 @ 7:27a
I just don't have room in my life for new dentists right now.
7.18.08 @ 10:37a
Yeah. You're suffering from two problems, the way I see it:
1) You live in Park Slope. You might want to consider getting one of those babies they use to teach kids about responsibility in health class. It'll also allow you to drive in the HOV lanes.
2) You don't like people.
7.18.08 @ 11:55a
You mentioned your dog. Is he antisocial, also? Dogs can be good ice breakers if the dog and owner are moderately friendly. Of course, you could emulate some of the denizens of Venice Beach here in SoCal and walk down the street with a pet parrot, cockatiel, or iguana on your shoulder. Those pets always attract interest and conversation, but I'm not sure about friendship. I'm always afraid the iguana guy has critters at home who are bigger and weirder than the reptile friend on his shoulder.
7.18.08 @ 12:45p
Is he antisocial, also?
Love it. Well played.
And I don't actually have a dog, was just goofing, quoting the movie. I have a cat. And yes, she hates people as much as I do.
And despite Heather's maniacal dreams, I will NEVER put a leash on my cat and parade her around, not even to make friends!
Also, Adam is right on both counts.
7.18.08 @ 1:10p
"I have a cat. And yes, she hates people as much as I do."
Well...she's a cat.
7.18.08 @ 1:19p
My two cats love people. They think they are dogs! Train your cat to think she's a dog. (Of course, the training might result in catzophrenia.)
I used to have a cat who was okay with harness and leash, but I think he had psychological problems.
7.18.08 @ 3:42p
I disagree. There are PLENTY of baby-less young professionals around our age in Park Slope. People just like us! Not to mention some really awesome bars... but mingling with our contemporaries would require going out later than nine at night. Mike's in the bag by then.
7.18.08 @ 3:45p
Mike's in the bag by then.
With the cat?
7.19.08 @ 4:35a
Some people go to church to meet new friends. Think of the fun Heather could have explaining to all the "church ladies" what it's like being married to Satan.
I'm just kidding about joining a church, but you don't just make new friends meeting people off the street or hanging out in bars. Try networking. Don't some of your old friends have other friends with whom you would share common interests? Try getting together with some old friends and tell them to bring other friends along.
7.20.08 @ 3:03p
you brat. are you saying adrian and I aren't your new friends?
7.21.08 @ 11:37a
I definitely know where you're coming from. Over-30 married people (especially people who hate people) in a new city have a tough time of it.
I like Robert's idea of getting your old friends to introduce you to their friends. Transitive property friendship FTW!
7.21.08 @ 5:50p
Mutual friends are certainly a great way to meet new people. But there's also the pitfall of really only ending up hanging out together with that mutual friend. It's hard to get over that hump to become friends independently of your mutual friend.
I think it also just comes down to time. I think people our age are so busy, with both their job, their husbands/wives, their social calendar and then you throw in lots of young parents, that people aren't necessarily inclined to make new friends. It's hard enough to balance what they have.
7.21.08 @ 7:22p
Perfect for both of you.