Dear Close Male Friends: There have been times over the years when some or most of you entered into serious, sometimes long-term relationships. I believe I have been extremely patient with each of you, understanding that your respective significant other might be meeting various universal human needs and making your life better. It has helped me during each of your assorted forays into relationship-hood that other friends have been single and thus extremely accessible when I want to do things. Because there are many of you, our system has worked for a long time — as you know, I’m in my early thirties and still live in a studio apartment that doesn’t have curtains, and it hasn’t affected my lifestyle or happiness much at all.
Recently, however, I have become increasingly bored, no-obligation Saturdays serving as a weekly reminder that I’m the only person in our group who isn’t waking up next to someone I care about and then enjoying the day in a more traditional fashion. Do none of you remember the glorious past when we used to wear “Saturday shorts” and do nothing all day?
With each of you seeming to have found a situation preferable to doing nothing with me all the time, it has come time for me to seriously consider whether any combination of your individual friend-time is going to be enough to satisfy my own needs. I have decided to plea to each of you individually to ask that you seriously consider the choices you are making, as they hinge dangerously on the brink of altering my lifestyle. You are causing me to seriously consider dating again, after which I will disappear for long stretches of time and become inaccessible to those of you who might have become used to my completely open schedule providing companionship and recreation any time you find yourself with time away from your life partner. But before I make this long-term commitment to someone who will undoubtedly think it’s weird how much I miss hanging out with you guys, I have to ask: Is this what you really want?
Jarrett: Your wife is a great person — smart, charming, attractive. She recently let you get the dog you wanted even though she had initially expressed reservations.
I’m happy for you. The other day when you and some of our other close male friends were discussing brunch options over a group text, my name came up: “Does anyone know where Danny is?” I responded: “I’m out doing hoodrat stuff.” You said: “You’re supposed to do that with your friends.” It brought a tear to my eye, not because you understood my reference to the YouTube video of that 7-year-old kid in Florida driving his grandmother’s car around, but because I felt a lot like that kid, as if I were being punished by a bunch of mean adults who no longer think crashing a car that’s not yours has no entertainment value (or, in my actual case, going to the mall hungover on a Saturday). We have known each other a long time, Jarrett — the least you could do is let me live in your extra bedroom for free.
Andy: Andy, you have been my lone “bro” for more than a year, graciously accepting from our couple friends the jokes about us being together and splitting dinner bills because we were both single. Your new girlfriend is very nice, but don’t think I have forgotten that she doesn’t have an apartment of her own. Just tell me now: Do you need to take the “bro key” back? We live in the same building, so it’s pretty clear to me that you’ve been “busy” lately, with school and your new relationship activities. That one time when I came down to your place drinking a beer at noon and she was still there wasn’t awkward at all (I didn’t even notice the bra on the floor). I appreciated that time you went to the Belgian bistro with me at 10 p.m. when I had just awoken from a nap, but if that’s not going to be a regular occurrence again I’ll probably have to move up to the third floor so we don’t see each other as much — too painful.
Luke: Hi Luke. You have been in your relationship longer than any of the other close male friends, so it is with less frustration that I consider your recent lifestyle changes. Newly married and owners of your first home, you and your wife seem to be doing pretty well. But, for the sake of this discussion, I have to ask: Are you sure, man? I know you were really happy the day that you, Andy and I spent an entire afternoon drinking Bud Light Lime and hitting rocks into the river with the golf club you didn’t want anymore. Do you really want to just toss me into the undercurrent like you did with that club’s handle after we broke it? Or am I more like that stick we found that looked like a hammer? Should we maybe stop going down there?
Adam: Adam, we didn’t really hang out that much until I moved back to Cincinnati after college — not that we didn’t like each other and have common interests before then, just different primary friend groups and lifestyles. But once we started hanging out (you, me and that super tall freak who always used to hurt himself when he was drunk and then blame it on us in the morning), your positive attitude, friendly nature and interest in staying out real late every single Friday night was a blast from my past. You made me feel young again during a time when I really needed it (mid-2000s — very depressing for adults). But every lease that you and your girlfriend sign together makes me feel one step closer to the time I had to ride the bus to work and didn’t even have an iPod.
That’s all I can say, guys. I hope to hear from you soon, otherwise I plan to conduct a weekend survey of my dudes still living in Colerain to see if they would like to take me back. Should that endeavor go as expected (getting my pants made fun of/ass kicked), I’ll probably just order some How I Met Your Mother DVDs and join match.com. If that’s cool with you, then I’ll see you all at your weddings or the next Taste of Cincinnati, whichever comes first.
CONTACT DANNY CROSS: email@example.com