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Valentines Day: Check

by The Next Family February 25, 2010

By: Ann Brown

Ann Brown

Valentine’s Day. It’s all over but for the wilted roses, the candy wrappers and the pundits.

My friend Andrea pretty much summed up how I feel about the whole thing.  She said,”All that perfunctory love. It’s creepy.”

This is why I am friends with Andrea. Well, this, and the fact that our friendship is based on the commitment ceremony we had that went something like this:

Me: (in an email to Andrea) I like you. Let’s be friends.

Andrea: Okay, I like you, too. You are smart and funny.

Me: You are smart and funny, too, and talented.

(Awkward pause, where I notice that she did not say I am talented, too)

Me: So, we’re friends now, right?

Andrea: Totally.

Me: I never want to have to actually see you in person.

Andrea: Cool. And we never have to speak on the phone.

Me: Excellent.

Andrea:  And we will never, ever say to each other, “let’s get together”, even just to be polite.

Me: Definitely.

Andrea: Only emails.

Me: Only emails.

(another awkward pause)

Me: Um, ‘k….so….bye.

Andrea: (message on my screen: “Andrea is now offline”)

We are going on eight years together.

I am the type who turns off the porch light and hides behind the couch when I see a car coming up my driveway. Andrea is the type who built a house that is very, very difficult to find and has no guest room. This portends a long friendship.

And there are others like us out there. Just run over and ask my friend Amy. Oh wait, you can’t; she won’t answer her doorbell. I love Amy. Ironically, Amy and Andrea once met in person. At my 50th birthday party. No surprise that they immediately liked each other. I wonder if they are email friends…I wonder if….huh, I wonder if they make coffee dates with each other and invite each other over for dinner parties and shop for bras together and…..and if they talk about me. And do they laugh merrily at how they have bamboozled me into thinking that they are not social, but it’s really that they don’t want to socialize with ME?

You know what, fuck Andrea and Amy.

(Andrea’s crafts website: www.onblueberryhill.com)

I have a salon, of sorts. My friends Claudia, Claire, Jane and I meet on Facebook every day or so to figure out the world. (I know I should put the word “meet” in quotes but it looks so weenie, so un-hip, as if having an “online” salon is still a novelty to me, or like the way my mom says, “bra” because, as a teenager, I told her to stop saying the weeniest of words –  “brassiere” – but now she says “braaa” as if she is saying only half a word and it sounds even worse.)

I know Claire, but I haven’t seen her in almost sixteen years. I met Claudia and Jane on Claire’s Facebook wall and although Jane has posited that perhaps Claudia is really a twelve year old boy masquerading as a middle-aged woman just to get in on our conversations, Claire has verified that she is, indeed, a bona fide middle aged woman. Anyway, if a twelve-year old boy wants to continue the ruse just to read our musings about menopause and SADD and raising children and shit, well, the more power to him. He will make a great husband some day if he pays attention to what we are saying about ours. Especially to the discussions about the transparency of “honey, why don’t I just give you a back rub” when what they really mean is, “honey, why don’t you just give me a blowjob.” Are you listening, “Claudia”?

(Claire’s website: www.clairelazebnik.com)

I also have an in-person salon, a once a month lunch salon with my friends Jeannette and Michelle. I know this flies in the face of my “don’t ask, don’t get together” policy but Michelle doesn’t really like email and Jeanette has healthy social impulses so she insists we actually get together.  She also actually reads the menu at the restaurant (we always go to the same Thai restaurant, except for a few weeks during the beginning of the Iraq war when we went to an Iraqi restaurant because we worried the owner would be boycotted and go out of business. Which he did, but it might have been because after every time we ate there we got really sick and she orders a different item each time, based entirely – get this – on what she feels like eating that day, not based on habit or fear of change. I run with the wild pack, baby.

(Jeannette’s website: oh wait, she didn’t want me to shamelessly plug her website. But she is an amazing artist and I am going to do it one of these days.  Not that Claire and Andrea WANTED me to shamelessly plug their websites. I just didn’t bother to wait for their responses when I asked if I could)

Now the two Adams in my life are a different story. They have both graciously conceded that I will never pick up the phone when they call nor will I show up at a gathering – chivalrous gentlemen that they are – but as far as I am concerned they owe me because they are the ones who talked me into letting my kid go three thousand miles away from home to college and as a result, I kinda had a little empty nest freakout and took to my bed for a while, catching up on my stories and my Xanax popping but missing out on a bunch of department store sales and, well, basically, Autumn of 2005.

(Adam Klugman fan page on Facebook)

And Robin. When his co-workers and friends suggest dinner dates with us or getting together for a drink, Robin has taken to saying simply, “my wife doesn’t go out.” I like the sound of that. It’s kinda scary, like he has me chained up in the guest bathroom or perhaps I have two hideous heads or something.

Oh shit. Hold on, someone’s at the door.  Turn off the lights.

Get down. Be very quiet.

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