Deal With It

“I’m so past doing THAT.”

“I don’t want to have to deal with those people.”

“I’m in a relationship now, is this party strictly singles?”

The quotes above have been uttered within earshot recently from once-single Hobokenites now in the alleged lofty position of coupledom. The perch appears so high that speaking condescendingly about all-things sans significant other has made that perspective quite different from the one before Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful walked into their lives.

Always one always to embrace the meaning of schaedenfraude (a German word meaning to laugh at other peoples misfortune), I find it pleasurable to root against those with the kind of pretentious posturing that derived from temporarily successful relationships in its opening stages.

Because when it doesn’t work out, and the possibility that it will lead to an engagement party is as likely as the Eagles making the playoffs this year, guess who comes crawling back into a social circle that before the breakup seemed so juvenile?

Rhetorical question.

It doesn’t get any better than that, really…

You know the type: When single, always the first to call you back when plans for the evening are being made. Always up for joining a ski house, beach house, a Thursday night at The Madison.

Halloween party? They’ll be one of the first in line to buy the costume most likely to induce conversation.

Christmas Party? Always the first to embrace the tradition of mistletoe.

Dating? Always one to give someone a chance, even if it appears that the plane won’t ever get off the runaway from the get-go…

And so on…

Then, almost magically, that person meets the man or woman straight from the pages of their wish book…or at least a mate that meets the idea to be worthy enough to warrant exclusivity; and two weeks later it’s as if they belong on the back of a milk carton. From this sequence of events reveals the true motivation behind why they were stoked to be your wingman or women in the first place: To meet someone to rescue them from the horrible existence that is being unattached in a social haven like Hoboken.

In an instant, cocktails and debriefing of what’s happening within a circle of friends is replaced by whipped itineraries such as family functions, 14 weddings in two months, and using up those old Blockbuster rental gift certificates accumulated from years’ past.

In the next instant, that person becomes a “we” instead of “me.”

Justlikethat, emails become snail mail in terms of response time from that once-single friend that treated their inbox like it was instant messenger (unless, of course, the email inquiry concerns how things are going in their storybook romance). Happy hours become as antiquated an idea as throwing a toga party, and 10:30 is no longer the time to start heading out, but when an evening mercifully ends.

TV used to be a place to put your keys and baseball caps on, but now it’s actually habitually viewed several nights a week. The cross-gender shows are always a big hit with couples: Desperate Housewives, Lost, Prison Break, Extreme Makeover, Nip/Tuck and Commander in Chief are required viewing simply to have something to talk about over dinner with other Tivo-minded couples (in addition to the discussion of quirky habits that exist between the two wrapped in perfunctory nudges that couples must perform as if in a game of “Which pair owns the better chemistry?).

When a PC (pretentious couple) does decide to slum it and actually join their poor friends that are still free for the kind of night out that they used to enjoy (see: warm beer, soggy chips), oftentimes the results can be disastrous. One example occurred not-too-long ago at Three A’s, when a guy across the bar sent over a shot to an engaged-to-be-engaged girl whose boyfriend happened to be in the bathroom. Upon returning, the apple of his eye was finishing her shot.

“You’re doing a shot?” he asked, as if she morphed into Kate Moss and there was a mirror and white powder was on the bar instead.

“That hot guy sent it over to me, honey,” she sardonically replied in a baby voice. “You may have some competition if you don’t start going back to the gym!”

“Grab your coat,” he replied without hesitation. “We’re leaving.”

“Why?” she asked, looking to her friends almost embarrassed.

“Because I’m getting too old for this shit,” he said.

It was later learned that the boyfriend wasn’t ever going to win a Dale Carnegie Award. He also wasn’t exactly as amply framed as he had become in the past nine months since meeting his honey.

The innocuous event brought out his worst insecurities in terms of the one-in-500 chance of losing her to a potentially socially adept guy (emotions beget illogical thoughts), and appearing as though he was entering his second trimester after becoming smug and complacent. Conversely, shot-guy-across-the-bar exuded ample guns and a more relaxed, non-smothering personality.

The gym is another item that is left behind when moving from me to we, as many couples take an “I’ve got him/her, so I don’t have to work so hard” mentality. Some say simple predictability leads to less sex after a courting stage is complete and both parties are secure in the knowledge that neither will stray, but ultimately, perhaps it’s just because these partners aren’t as physically flexible or possess the stamina they once had when they first met.

The “Past this,” “Too old for this shit,” “Over that” mindset may be why some settle when looking to settle down. Excessive alcohol from socializing in pursuit of Wisteria Lane isn’t processed as quickly, leaving longer hangovers, unproductive days, and an overall need to live a more responsible, cultured existence.

So when a person isn’t feeling whole anymore, he or she enters a half. The half is there to save them from unpredictable situations (see: drama/fun) and, like a business man who can’t hack it in the real world and becomes a teacher in the suburbs, and isolating themselves from anything resembling competition.

What makes zero sense is that these happy couples don’t somehow get sick of each other from spending so much time in seclusion. If anything, you would think they would embrace getting out and away for each other for a few hours.

You know, build a little anticipation…

Maybe even create a situation where they actually, I don’t know, miss each other.

Sounds healthy, no?

So the next time you experience one of your seemingly married couples shun one invitation after another in the name of alleged maturity, ask yourself these questions:

Were you being used to help them find that path to security in the first place?

And when their relationship fails like so many others have in the past, how long before they coming crawling back to be invited to that next bar crawl?