On Wednesday night—after I was released from my office basement where I was held for a tornado watch—I met a potential new friend for dinner. That’s right, I will drive through hell or high water…or twisters!…for a girl-date. Dedication people. That’s what I’m talking about. Now if I had that same commitment to, say, the treadmill.
Anyway, my new friend seems great. She likes to cook. She likes to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat. And, not surprisingly, we hit it off when we first met because we were sitting next to each other. Common interests and proximity? It’s a match made in heaven.
Except one thing. She makes me feel like a 90-year-old denture-wearing grandma. It’s nothing she’s done or said, but she’s 23, just out of college, and every time I say the words “my husband” it’s as if we’re in a Pixar movie and I can actually see her eyes pop further and further out of her head.
I remember being fresh out of college and generally adhering to the belief that “marriage is weird.” And then, maybe two years later, my first friends started getting engaged, and I was happy for them, but would later call Callie and Sara and say, “why is everyone getting married? That’s so weeeirrd.” And they agreed. And then I got engaged and called them from my cell phone in Mexico to share the news, and wasted probably 30 seconds of my $2-per-minute phone calls saying “I know we think it’s so weird to get married [I was 26—not really a baby—but it still felt on the early side] but I hope you’ll be a part of the wedding anyway.” The point of this rant is not that marriage is strange, but that I remember when words like wedding and fiancé and registry seemed as far away as, well, forever, and like a vocabulary only grown-ups had, not my own friends.
Back when that was me, it seemed the few people I knew who were married or engaged—mostly coworkers—were genuine adults. Now I know better. But my new friend? She’s in the place I was. She thinks the fact that I don’t party a lot (she still uses party as a verb) is bizarre. That I’ve got friends with babies is inconceivable. I have no problems with where I am, but, like I said, spending time with her just makes me feel, well, old.
We could be good friends one day. Perhaps when our life stages are a bit more in sync. But right now? I can’t see us having a relationship that isn’t of the big-and-little-sister mentor-mentee variety. And that’s not what I’m in the market for. I don’t want to dance on the bar or revisit college parties. I’d rather watch Top Chef and have a glass of wine on my couch. But even though I’m happy with that, there’s something about seeing myself through the her eyes that’s a bit, almost, depressing.
Am I making any sense? Is it crazy to write off a potential friendship just cause it makes me feel like a lame old woman? I know age shouldn’t dictate friendship—and a five year difference is really nothing, I have great friends who are five years older—but when I feel more like an advisor than a friend, isn’t it fair for me to use BFF veto power?