November 25, 2008
It’s hard to pinpoint a beginning to my relationship with the IC. We had been friends for over a decade, close friends since ‘01, and neither was really sure when it was that we started looking at each other differently. When we grapple for a date, we always come up with “that Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2007.” It took us a little longer than that to make it official. After all, before he was the IC on this site, he was the guy with whom I shared a netflix account or, Netflix Parter (NFP). Still, “that Tuesday before Thanksgiving” became our official starting point. Last Friday I looked up the actual date of that Tuesday and saw that we had missed our anniversary, it had been the day before. How romantic of us, I thought. But since the date never meant anything, we could still celebrate that day, that Tuesday, today. And as IC says, we’re only celebrating this day once. By this time next year, we’ll have a whole new anniversary, the realest kind.
Chuck Klosterman had a quoted-everywhere piece a few years ago, from his book “Love, Sex and Cocoa Puffs”, about fake love. I blogged about it here although I didn’t mention the part that I’m thinking of today. He wrote:
“Within three years of its initial release, classifying any intense friendship as “totally a Harry-Met-Sally situation” had a recognizable meaning to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’d actually seen the movie. And that meaning remains clear and remarkably consistent: It implies that two platonic acquaintances are refusing to admit that they’re deeply in love with each other. When Harry Met Sally cemented the plausibility of that notion, and it gave a lot of desperate people hope. It made it realistic to suspect your best friend may be your soul mate, and it made wanting such a scenario comfortably conventional. The problem is that the Harry-Met-Sally situation is almost always tragically unbalanced. Most of the time, the two involved parties are not really “best friends.” Inevitably, one of the people has been in love with the other from the first day they met, while the other person is either (a) wracked with guilt and pressure, or (b) completely oblivious to the espoused attraction. Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less. But When Harry Met Sally gives the powerless, unrequited lover a reason to live. When this person gets drunk and tells his friends that he’s in love with a woman who only sees him as a buddy, they will say, “You’re wrong. You’re perfect for each other. This is just like When Harry Met Sally! I’m sure she loves you—she just doesn’t realize it yet.” Nora Ephron accidentally ruined a lot of lives.”
I actually hate the When Harry Met Sally comparison, only because their “friendship” was a joke compared to ours. They were acquaintances, at best, who happened to be going through difficult life situations at the same time. IC and I were so much realer. We had, at once, a deep, true friendship as well as the funnest interaction imaginable. We’d make each other laugh and make each other think. We’d read the same books. We’d argue about politics (he used to be a liberal but has long since seen the error of his ways). We’d play one-on-one poker and the loser would take the winner to dinner. We’d watch random sports and he’d say “we’re rooting for Carolina” and then we would. And when they’d win he’d buy me the t-shirt. We spoke on the phone or emailed every single day. I set him up with my friends. We were inseparable after 9/11. He was sleeping on my couch when Saddam Hussein was captured. We’d always call dibs on each other to share a room on group trips. I have half a dozen photos of me licking his face through the years. We’d go to the beach all summer and eat seafood afterward, sandy and salty and feeling amazing. He would give me the best advice ever, and be completely honest with the painful truth when he needed to be. We’d argue about Brooklyn v. Queens, and rock music v. hip-hop. The first night we met, he put his arm around me and kept it there. He isn’t the most outgoing person so it was a bit out of character. That memory always amuses me. The friend who introduced us, Frank White (who, awesome sidenote, I also introduced to his fiance, the lovely Yelena who sometimes comments here), was telling us to get together. And ten years later we did!
I encourage you all to run out right now and fall in love with your best friend. There’s really nothing like it. Don’t listen to Klosterman, it’s realistic to suspect your best friend is your soul mate. Mine was, yours might be too. This Thanksgiving, I’m happy we both realized it. Happy anniversary, IC, and many, many more.