Unlike a lot of people I’ve never really had much of a problem going to the dentists or anything like that though. My partner completely refuses to go at all. (As far as I know this is out of fear and not because she once left one at the altar.) Rachel certainly doesn’t have a problem returning to Barry though; as Friends™ delves into the seedy world of on-off-on relationships.
I’ve never had anything as serious as Rachel’s situation happen to me (with the cheating, and the engagements). A couple of times my previous partner and I hooked up in moments of weakness after university. But, thinking about it, some of my most rewarding flings did happen in a weird, sort of, on-again/off-again limbo. Whatever it was that happened with my “Cannibal Boss” followed that sort of non-relationship pattern. Until the last off-again, when “Other Boss” swooped in and turned out to be a much better fit for her.
There was one non-relationship in particular that spanned several years. I find it hard to say why it never developed into something more serious – other than us just being too young. Neither one of us wanted to get tied down and drifted apart. They’re still one of my favourite people I’ve ever met, and every now and then I find myself missing their presence in my life. Usually when they pop up in my Facebook™ newsfeed.
Sadly they’re the only Real Live Friend I decided to stop seeing altogether when I got with my current partner. Just in case old habits came back. As Rachel finds, it can be very enjoyable returning to someone you’ve got a history with. But it’s not always a good idea.
“The One With the Most Uneventful Birthday of All Time”
In another surprisingly meta-turn T.O.W.T.E.O. flags up the weirdness of the Friends™ spying on Ugly Naked Guy by giving them their own spy across the street.
Everyone’s freaked out before Joey tracks her down and she wins them over with kind words and compliments. I’ve been thinking a lot about Joey’s creeping. It’s an interesting relic of the show. Many instances of his behaviour, like him getting sexual gratification from imagining Rachel at camp, seem especially seedy by today’s standards. And yet they often garner the biggest laughs.
How much of this is because of the broad strokes Joey is cast with and how much is because we recognise him from real life is hard to say. But I don’t think anyone would deny that they’ve perved on at least one of their Real Live Friends at some point.
There is another element however, which reflects real life – attractiveness. We forgive Joey for a lot of his creepiness because he is young and attractive. Likewise the characters do as well. Could you imagine Rachel or Monica’s reaction to Joey’s comments if they came from Mr Heckles? Or Ugly Naked Guy? Or even from Chandler?
Context and mode of delivery is all important. The same thing said to someone by a nice young attractive man in a bar has completely different connotations when said by an old man in a duffel coat, a group of men on the tube, or even the same nice young man once he’s had three too many beers, is bleary eyed, slurring, and drenched in sweat.
Joey is also an expert at cloaking his pervy-ness behind compliments. And as a result, much like the woman on the phone, he is let off the hook.
Speaking of hooks (because it wouldn’t be RLF without a tenuous “speaking of” segue): I had another reminder of orthodontists this week when I ended up watching some old family videos on my birthday. My braces definitely go a long way to explaining my lack of success with women at the time. (Though not my lack of success once they were removed.)
It was very strange watching the videos. I remember the events happening, but it was like watching a different person’s life. I remember the child in the videos but he isn’t me. I’m hoping this is just a natural result of aging. And not because I drank so much at university I severed the connection between the person I was before and the person I am now.
If I needed another reminder of how I’m now DEFINITELY. AN. ADULT. the fates certainly delivered. I spent the rest of my birthday having to sort out my MOT, car insurance and road tax. The mundanity of this was brought into sharp relief by the home videos including a wild bouncy castle birthday party.
My birthday dullness, combined with leaving my job after three years, has got me thinking: What’s the best thing that’s happened to me in the last three years? Aside from moving in with my partner I don’t really know... I’ve been on some holidays? Drank a lot of wine? Seen the new Star Wars™?
It seems like nothing’s really happened. I’ve been sitting still (literally in the case of work).
All my fears of wasting my life combined when I decided to leave. Fears I entertained daily as I sat in traffic jams or stared into the void of the internet.
But will my new role be any different? I’m replacing being annoyed at people in cars with being annoyed at people on trains. Staring blankly at a computer displaying the news with staring blankly at a computer screen displaying a spreadsheet.
And all for a change of scene and a bit of extra money.
Sitting outside in the garden at work on my last day, I’ve been struck by how peaceful working here has been. I think actually in many ways it’s helped me heal my mind a little. Even as the clock has ticked away.
I will miss the place, but perhaps something a little less peaceful might be a little more interesting.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
This weeks RLSM comes courtesy of Chandler Number 2 who, so far, has probably been doing the best job of living up to their character. Another bizarre parallel comes with news that she’s moving into Joey Number 1s shared house! Hopefully this will give us a new hub of fun and many RLSM’s to come. Although annoyingly it is right next to the job I am now leaving.