Yesterday I heard a woman say that one of the worst things a guy can do on a date is spend the whole time checking out the other women in the restaurant/bar/community theater production of Fiddler. I nodded in agreement: “Oh, it’s so true. Wandering eyes have got to go.” And then it hit me. I was that guy! Er, girl! Just a few weeks ago, I went to an event with a semi-friend (on her way to full-fledged friend, mind you), and though we had a really nice time together, I definitely spent a moment early on eyeing the other BFF prospects. Because what if she was there? My mythical BFF, the girl I’ll go on Sunday shopping trips with and who’ll talk me into buying the dress I don’t need because it looks that amazing. I’m not saying the current date couldn’t necessarily fill that role, but it was early in the relationship, so I’ve got to keep my options open, right?
This is not to say I didn’t pay attention to my friend—I did! I swear!—but in preparation for the girl-date, I spent some time trying to decipher the friendship code of conduct. If I thought I saw The One, could I approach her and just introduce myself? Would my girl-date be offended? Is that, like, cheating??
On the one hand, you never want to feel like someone you’re spending time with is only half-paying attention to you. That’s just rude. On the other hand, friendship is not romance, no matter how similar friend-dating and the romantic kind are. There is no exclusivity. We don’t have to have The Talk. (“What are we?” “Why do we have to give it a label?” “But do you like me? Or do you like like me?” “I just want to be friends! Not best friends. It’s too much too soon.”) And adding a third to the mix doesn’t bring up any porn imagery.
I was looking for friends, and my soon-to-be friend was looking for friends, so the more the merrier? We could be each others wingwomen! She could say to Imaginary Potential BFF “Have you met Rachel?” And we’d all three live happily ever after in Bestieville.
Needless to say I didn’t approach anyone. No new prospects jumped out at me, and I thought it would be weird to say to my semi-new friend “she looks good, I’m going to introduce myself.” And, who am I kidding, I haven’t yet worked up the nerve for a total “Come here often?” move. Without some connection—we’re both writers, we’re both new in town, we’re both in curly hair hell—I don’t know how to approach someone new. I’m a girl who’s been with her husband since freshman year of college. I’m not well-versed in the art of the pickup. But that doesn’t means it won’t happen. Never say never.