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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Single people bite!

Or maybe I'm off my rocker right now, 'cause I just strolled back to the Herald from the dentist's office across the street, and I'm a little groggy.

I am not an anti-dentite. I am a big fan of this dentist. He gives good drugs and has hands like cotton. And that's a good thing, 'cause while I have a high pain threshold (something I learned through multiple knee-rebuilding surgeries and the subsequent therapy), all bets are off with my mouth. I can't stand even a smidgen of pain in that region. I'd rather have my fellas locked in a vice clamp than deal with mouth pain.

This dentist's assistant, however, does not have hands like cotton. She's very nice. And I have no doubt she did a great job on my teeth today, but I think maybe she was a boxer or slammed her hand into brick walls in a past life. No gentle touch here.

But I digress. I think I really might be a little loopy right now.

What prompted the title to this post was a call I got from an old friend as I strolled across the street to the dentist's office about two hours ago. One of the first things out of her mouth was "Where have you been!!!" I know good punctuation. I used exclamation points instead of a question mark on purpose, because her question was more of a statement. She was suggesting that I have been off the charts and out of the loop lately.

Now here' s the funny thing about this. In the weeks leading up to my wedding nearly two years ago this friend was one of many - male and female - who cautioned Mrs. B and me to not turn into one of those married couples after we tied the knot.

They begged us to not suddenly fall off the social radar after the wedding. They warned us that marriage would make us inaccessible and would zap our desire to stay connected with friends. They shared with us tales of married friends, who within weeks of their weddings stopped returning calls or emails.

To be fair, I believe prior to my own wedding that I said some of the same stuff to single friends who were about to be married.

But this friend was nuts. In my case, with one exception, I've found this doom and gloom prediction to be just the opposite. My single friends have been inaccessible. They haven't returned phone calls. They never send emails asking how things are, unless they're responding to an email I sent them. And so on and so forth.

In fact, when I think back to when I was giving the same kinds of warnings to soon-to-be-married friends, I realize that they didn't abandon me after they got married. I subconsciously abandoned them.

My friend this morning wasn't really scolding me when she called. She was teasing. Still, it prompted me to share all the thoughts I've just written.

I expected her to tell me "whatever!" But she agreed with me. After a friend gets married, you see them with a full-time partner and instinctively you back off a little and give them more space than you might have before. After a friend gets married you start to feel a little like a third wheel, and you get a little uncomfortable inserting yourself into social situations with them. Even if your friend and his/her new spouse tells you to continue coming around you just sort of assume that they have magical married people things to do. Really, all I do more of since marriage is yard work, maintenance stuff around our house, and run errands.

If anything, after I got married I was sort of eager to hang onto my buddies, so I didn't feel completely isolated from my old life. Did I hang out with them as often after work? Not even close. I certainly didn't stay out as late on those days we did do Happy Hour. But I kept an iron in the fire so they wouldn't forget that "Independent George" still exists. Mrs. B was the same. She still did things regularly with her girlfriends. We had become a team, not a single organism. We still had separate friends and interests.

So I'm left to conclude that in this case single people are full of it. You guys abandon us just as often as we abandon you, maybe more. I think secretly you guys just might not want to deal with your old single buddy or single gal pal suddenly becoming a Siamese twin.

OK, I'm gonna go pop a Motrin and get back to work.

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  • It's true to a point. Unless the friend is close to both people in the marriage there is usually a big drop off.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 2:54 PM  

  • "We had become a team, not a single organism."

    You'd not believe how I read that at first.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 4:11 PM  

  • well, most of my friends are married or in committed relationships-and I'm still single. Doesn't stop me from hanging out with them!

    By Blogger Claudia, at 4:57 PM  

  • I think you are right in your assumption about singles backing off from couples a lot of the time. Now, I don't remember how things were back when my ex and I first got married -been way too many years and most of those things I'd prefer to forget at times anyway. But speaking as a single person, albeit it divorced, also a whole lot older than you and probably many of your commenters too, I know after my divorce, over the years since then too, it is difficult for me to feel really comfortable with some of the friends I had who were, still are "couples." After 27 years of being single again, I still feel like a fifth wheel if I am with couples unless it is a larger group with a few others like myself who are now single or alone -whichever term you wish there. Right now, I don't have any single friends who live near me so I end up now with virtually little to no social life in my dotage. Just me and my grandkids now seem to be all I can relate to these days. (Second childhood, maybe?)

    By Blogger Jeni, at 5:46 PM  

  • When I saw the title, I thought you got into a fight with a single guy and came back with canine marks. If single people bite, then married people bite worse. Your single friends don't call you because doing something with you is a hassle. And they don't like your wife. They lie and say they do, but if they call and don't say "why don't both of you meet me there", then they don't like spending their free time with your lady. Maybe she's square, shrewish, alcoholic, or a combination. Whatever the reason, your friends feel they have to turn into someone else when they're with you and your wife or else they won't get to see you again. And they never wanted to see your wife.

    I am single. Here is the conversation I just ended with my married friend two minutes ago. "So we're gonna go to the game at the end of June, right?" "Yeah, but first I have to check with my wife. But I don't think it'll be a problem."

    What prophetic last words. I can tell you this--I will not be buying tickets for the game yet or maybe ever. Married people forget that their single friend has to be really good friends with their spouse to make the 3rd wheel thing work, no matter how many times the wife or hubby sez its OK. Otherwise it's awkward, with you and your buddy talking and the spouse looking like the third wheel and getting upset about it. It takes a spouse with very well adjusted self-esteem to make you feel otherwise. Most people I meet simply are not that secure.

    Plus, most married guys call up their single friends when they get tired of their wives/families and need a place of solace. You get tired of being someone's outlet pass to the flats, unless they're the good kind of married friend that shows up with a 12 pack, No-Doz, Viagra, cigars, and hookers for both of you.

    Married women get together with other married women to complain like an Springer guest and after a while, your buddy and their mate tend to get boring (I find that many married women tend to avoid their unmarried friends because they either feel threatended by them or can't keep their head out of their hubby's ass long enough to have anything in common). Neither one can do much without the other nor can they seemingly go an hour without getting on the phone to each other. I would like to call it true love, but most of the time it's the king of naggy spouse shit that ruins your time out.

    I've only met three couples who made marriage look fun and then only one of the husbands told me he liked it. This is after being a participant in like 9 weddings (5 are divorced, 2 are separated), attending 7 other weddings (no ratio of together vs. split), and being told of countless serious engagements, and even marrying a few couples (I'm also a notary).

    Most relationships just don't work out and the single friend is always the fall back when it doesn't. Therefore, there is usally some resentment of being only considered when there is a crisis and never getting to do anything good with the spouse, (like screw them or something) so that you could enjoy some benefit that offsets the marital complaints (This is especially true when you told your married friend not to marry this person, they did anyway, hated you for a few years for speaking your mind and then had the nerve to call you back when it turns out you were effin' A right).

    I also think somehow, married people have to justify their decision and its affect on their life to their friends to avoid looking like relationship hypocrites. So to accomplish this, they need to complain about the fact that they lost their friends when they got married.

    They really should shut the eff up. I mean, they already claim they had the best thing in their life happen to them, didn't they? Geez, talk about cake and eat it too.

    Anything else in the single guy bites because married guy can't see how he's turned into a husband who needs marriage to be as cool as being single, come see me--I got lots more where this came from.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 6:14 PM  

  • Actually the process starts when a friend gets really serious with his girlfriend. When I was in college the first time a buddy said he couldn't go play golf with the guys cause his girlfriend wouldn't LET him, I was stunned. Seriously dude, he asked permission and she said "no". I still feel sorry for him.

    It can be tough when a friend gets married though. It kind of makes some people feel like they've been left behind or something.

    It's even more difficult for people of the opposite sex who are just friends when one of them gets married. The new spouse sometimes doesn't want another guy/girl around.

    By Blogger Jay, at 6:45 PM  

  • I am going to ignore the anti-single thing here, because quite honestly, sometimes, I do suck.

    What I am disturbed by is the hatred for dentists. I adore the dentist.

    By Blogger mist1, at 10:38 PM  

  • Wait a while, the real scism comes between people with children and the other group, both singles and marrieds with no children. That's the real difference.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 12:32 AM  

  • Hammer, we agree. I'm just trying to figure out why single friends can't even return phone calls or emails. Is marriage equivalent to the plague to them?

    Sarc, get your mind out of the gutter ;-)

    Claudia, you rock. I wish my single friends took after you.

    Jeni, I get your point. I used to find it difficult to hang out with other couples, period, married or unmarried, 'cause I just hated that feeling of being an "extra."

    BD, once again, you have to make this personal. What would possess you to say or suggest my friends don't like my wife? You have no idea. Assumptions, my friend - they make an ass out of u and umption. No scenario you describe here about bad marriages and calling on single friends after things go sour in an effort to get comfort comes even close to my situation or what I've written here. In reality, when I hung out with my buddies my wife was rarely present. And when she was present, their girlfriends - or their dates-for-a-night - were always present too. What kind of loser do you think I am? I'd never be that guy who went to a guy's outing and brought his significant other along.

    Jay, that opposite sex friendship thing is a weird one. One of my best friends pre-marriage was a woman I worked with at my last paper. We started at the same time, are relatively close in age, had some similar interests, a lot of mutual friends, etc., and we just hung out a lot. Luckily for me, she and Mrs. B became friends well before our marriage. And if we still lived back in Wisconsin, I think the two of them would be much closer than I ever was with that friend. And that's fine by me. Evolutionary process.

    Mist1, you misunderstood me. Go back to the top paragraph. I said I was "not" an anti-dentite. I like my dentist too. I just think his assistant has ham hands.

    CEO, you have me worried now. Last I need is more scisms. I wish I had the $$$ to gather all my friends in every category and put them on an island for a week so we could rekindle our connections.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:44 AM  

  • You know what, I can add to this. Before I was married all my married gal pals called me day and night. (Maybe they thought I was their personal do bitch or something) We kept in touch though we didn't do lunches and such but we were still pretty tight. When I got married both my best gal pals were in my wedding party and I thought that we'd be closer than close since we had one more thing in common. You know what? I never heard from them again. Ok, I'm exaggerating but not by much. They literally stopped calling. No matter how many calls I made or cards and emails I sent, they just didn't keep in touch. Now, it is 4 years that I've been married and I haven't seen either one but a handful of times since. It's really quite sad.

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 10:41 PM  

  • my dentist told me that the lady prior to my appointment said she would rather have a baby than see the dentist. He told her to make up her mind and he would adjust the chair.

    I think kids is what really makes the difference in relationships.....have and have nots. hard to combine the social lives.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 1:28 AM  

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