WHEN PEOPLE ASK HOW I KNOW MY FRIEND KATE, I’ll tell them we dated the same guy. After several cryptic minutes of me giggling uncontrollably, I’ll usually break down and tell them the real story.
In my early twenties, my best friend Chad Gervich tried to set me up with this guy, Johnny, he knew from work. He told me the two of us were exactly alike and would hit it off the moment we met. I was intrigued. Chad typically hated the idea of me with any man. It took away from my time being the stand-in for his out-of-town girlfriend, who was dating another guy and not returning his phone calls. I knew if Chad was willing to doff off his beard, this guy must be worth it. I agreed to meet him.
After a few days of silence from Chad, I called him.
“What the fuck? I thought you were setting me up with my soul mate?”
“Yeah. Well, turns out he’s dating someone and it just kind of got serious.”
“So a week ago he was willing to be set up and now he’s in something serious? I don’t get it.”
“Well,” Chad said, “he bought her a Christmas present.”
“Alright. So he has a girlfriend,” I said.
“He still said he’d love to hang out as a group one night, though.”
Ew. Fuck this guy! He thinks I’m fucking desperate enough to go out under the pretense of ‘hanging with a couple of friends’ just to meet him?
“Tell this guy to suck a dick! Also, I’m really offended you would think I’m anything like this douche.”
“What do you mean? Meeting someone while you have a boyfriend is totally a you move! You’re like the queen of the accidental date!”
I hung up on him.
For the next two months, every action I took was a strategic move to make Johnny throw himself off a bridge. I didn’t even know this guy but I needed his face to be smashed into a million pieces while my 7 foot tall smile looked down on him from a giant billboard in the sky. This was the first time in my life I was being rejected by someone I’d never met. According to my father, I was the catch of the century. A Goddamn debutante! And this fucking guy thought he could just pass on ever knowing me altogether? “I hope he dies in a grease fire,” I thought.
Six months later, Chad called me from work. He was sitting next to Johnny who’d just seen my epic turn on the Lucy Vanous vehicle, 18 Wheels of Justice. Johnny was apparently single now and suggested the three of us go out to dinner.
“Well, well, well. Look who decided to come groveling back,” I thought. I told Chad I’d need to check my schedule and get back to him. And then I did a victory jig around my apartment.
“See Douchnozzel, this is what happens when you play out of your league!” I screamed at the mirror, imagining it was Johnny.
An hour later, I called back and agreed to dinner. I changed my outfit three times before meeting them at a Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood. My goal in going definitely wasn’t to date Johnny; it was solely to make him spend the rest of his life on earth wishing he’d dated me. Then the unexpected happened.
I met Johnny and instantly realized he wasn’t some cocky asshole trying to Neil Strauss me into liking him. He was a total dork. This awkwardly tall, socially inept video game nerd was fueling my deviant behavior for absolutely no fucking reason. The dinner was innocuous and the conversation light. “I must have gone home with at least three guys in an attempt to spite you!” I thought to myself while watching him show Chad a wizard trick with his straw.
Once we finished, Johnny asked if I could drive him home. Reveling in the fantasy that he didn’t have a car, I obliged. This poor, innocent, fool needed my compassion. Sure, he was relatively good-looking, and had a job far more stable than mine but that was no reason for me to like him. I needed to have nothing to do with Johnny. I’d made the point that I was irreverent, engaging, and adorable and now it was time for him to never see or hear from me again. Unless of course it was on TV and I was riding Brad Pitt naked in lighting that made my boobs look less like penne pasta noodles.
When we pulled up to his place, he invited me inside. His apartment was clean and sensibly decorated. Knowing I wasn’t there to hook up with him, I didn’t do my usual excuse myself to the bathroom and check out all his prescription drugs routine. Instead, I just plopped down on his couch and requested a drink.
Two drinks and two hours later I had to make a decision: Drive home or take pity on this guy and at least let him kiss me. Sitting on the far end of the opposite couch, I knew there was no way in hell this fragile bird was going to make the first move. I stood up and told him I needed to get going. But what I felt like saying was, “Hey, Dickwich, you have a hot chick in your apartment, I doubt this happens much! Maybe you should try to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Johnny extended his hand like a gentleman and asked if he could walk me out. I couldn’t take these shenanigans any longer so I grabbed his face and stuck my tongue in his mouth.
At that exact moment, his phone rang.
“It’s probably your girlfriend calling,” I whispered.
His answering machine responded before he could.
“Hey Johnny, It’s Kate. Remember when you came your initials on my chest? I’m just listening to the Strokes and thinking about how we used to fuck all the time to this album. I’m sooooo wet right now.” Beeeeeep.
“The fuck!? Did I just hear that correctly?”
“I. Um. Wow. I swear I haven’t spoken to that person in at least—”
“Who has sex to the Strokes?” I asked, utterly thrown.
My entire perception of Johnny changed again. If he had crazy sex with this girl and she’s still calling for more, maybe he wasn’t such a prude. Maybe there was a side to him he’s not sharing. And just like that, with a few X-rated sentences, Kate gave Johnny all the game he was lacking. I slept with him that night not because I genuinely wanted to but because I wanted whatever it was Kate had.
“Who has sex to the Strokes?” I asked, utterly thrown.
After dating Johnny for thirty days, I slowly came to the conclusion that Kate must have been heavily intoxicated and had zero other male contacts in her Rolodex when she drunk dialed that night. Johnny was as vanilla in the bedroom as he was in real life: Not once did he offer to come his initials anywhere near my tits.
In the twilight of our relationship we went to a group dinner at a mutual friends’ house where Kate had also been invited. I walked into the house nervous and wishing I’d had a professional do my makeup. Kate was there, sitting in the living room, practically glowing. She was beautiful, charming, and ecstatic to meet me. As soon as our eyes met, she jumped up and ran over. Before saying a word, she handed me a package. I opened it to find a CD. It was the Strokes. Written in black sharpie across the cover was a note: “Not wet anymore. Just mortified!”
“I think I love you,” I blurted.
It turns out I was right about Kate’s drunken stupor. She had no recollection of making the phone call and only learned about it when Johnny told her the story later.
I spent the rest of the evening not with Johnny but gamming it up in a corner with Kate. She was me, if I’d gone to law school and actually did something meaningful with my life.
“Maybe Chad did introduce me to a soul mate after all,” I said to Johnny when I broke up with him on the drive home.