Issue #83 – “Boys” – February 13th, 2006

-Twentysomething males often refer to their guy friends as “my boys.”  Likewise, women often refer to their female friends as “my girls.”  But there’s a huge difference between my boys and your girls.  Namely, your girls suck.  Your girls change every season.  Your girls are catty.  One of your girls probably fucked your boyfriend.  Female friendships are often contentious, jealousy-ridden, and, ultimately, ephemeral.  But not so with my boys.  I started with a group of friends in elementary school, gained a few in high school, added several recruits during college, and all those guys remain my boys to this day.  Moving to Los Angeles last year was difficult, but whenever I get a text message from one of my boys back East telling me how big a crap he is currently taking, along with how little he misses me, I feel like I never left.

-All my boys have an understanding that they will endure vicious but good-natured verbal abuse from one another.  For instance, a few months ago my boy Gadi gathered our high school crew together and told us he would soon be moving back to his native Israel permanently.  With a lump in his throat, he explained that his “soul just feels better in Israel.”  At which point we all broke down laughing.  Now he can’t say a word without getting made fun of.  Gadi: “So what do you want to do tonight?”  Us: “Not sure, how does your soul feel?”

-But at least Gadi was able to take the abuse face-to-face.  My old roommate Brian was not so lucky.  He once made the unfortunate mistake of going to Europe with a friend and leaving a cell phone voicemail message that said, “I will be out of the country for two weeks.  If you need immediate assistance, please contact my fiancee.”  Oh sweet mother of God how could you leave a message like that?  When Brian returned home he had about twenty-five voicemails from the boys requesting “assistance” from his fiancee for, among other things, eating his own ass.  Even Gadi left a scathing message, which presumably made his soul feel much better.

-Clearly, your girls are clouding my boys’ heads.  Like recently when the boys received an Evite from our friend Seth’s girlfriend, announcing Seth’s birthday party that Friday, 10pm, at Stir Bar.  Fair enough.  That is, until Seth, demonstrating an egregious error in judgment, emailed the boys a few days later asking for suggestions on where to throw his girlfriend her own, separate birthday bash the following weekend.  Triplet #1 was the first to respond, emailing, “Yeah, I have an idea – how about this Friday, 10pm, at Stir Bar…at your fucking party.”

-I’m far from immune from taking shots myself, however.  In fact, my moving away has provided the boys with a virtually unlimited supply of ammunition.  When I visit New York this week, my every move will be met with a chorus of “Karo, you’re so LA.”  Me: “Let’s start getting drunk early tonight.”  Them: “You’re so LA.”  Me: “What do you think of this new Yankees hat?”  Them: “You’re so LA.”  Me: “I hate LA.”  Them: “Then why do you love it so much?  Nice shoes, fuckface.”  Where’d that come from?

-Of course, you could have easily just read this description of my boys and concluded we’re all evil and hate each other.  You might think we’re no better than the girls I earlier so handily excoriated.  But the truth is, guys bond by making fun of each other.  As twisted as it seems, I think that constantly demolishing each other’s self-esteem ensures that no one ever gets too big a head – which is what I think often leads to your girls being reduced to an ever-rotating panel of dyed blondes who don’t share any history.  My boys in 1996 are my boys in 2006 and will be my boys in 2016.  And that really does make my soul feel good.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-Has someone with a form ever asked you to initial one section and sign another?  Why my entire signature over here but just initials over there?  I’ve already got the pen in my hand – let me just polish off those seven other letters.  Maybe initialing is reserved for the shit that companies only wish you’d do.  It’s like, “By signing here, you agree not to sue us.  But by initialing here, you promise not to tell anyone we suck, OK?”

-I’ve become a bit of an ellipsis whore when I write emails.  I just can’t resist…putting those three dots…in between all of my thoughts…even where…grammatically inappropriate.  And I’ll tell you what my latest weapon is – two dots.  People don’t know what the fuck to make of it.  A girl will email me and I’ll write back: That’s what you think..  It’s not quite a period, not quite an ellipsis, but it sure is confusing.

-Besides marriage proposals and requests to perform at sorority houses, probably the question that I get emailed most frequently is: Why in my books and columns do I say waiting “on line” instead of waiting “in line”?  And the answer is…I have no fucking idea.  I guess theoretically “in line” makes more sense than “on line.”  But I’ve always said “on line” so I guess it’s just part of the Northeast vernacular.  Quite frankly, whenever I’m “on line” for a bar, I’m far less concerned with the syntax of my situation than the fact that hordes of “gourmet broads” are walking in while I’m stuck outside losing my “goddamn buzz.”

-Every Sunday morning, I get woken out of an alcohol-induced slumber by a deliveryman bringing me the groceries I order on  (The guy is usually thrilled when it’s toilet paper day and he has to carry an 18-pack of Charmin mega rolls.)  He brings the groceries into my apartment, I sign the receipt in one spot and initial in another, and then the guy leaves.  But what I’ve always found to be strange is that, when I close the door, and the guy is still in the hallway scanning his clipboard for his next delivery, I turn the lock on my door really, really slowly.  Why?  First of all, as everyone knows, locking your door slowly does not make any different sound than locking it quickly.  But more importantly, why am I so concerned that the delivery guy will be offended if I lock the door on him?  Yes, I do see him much more often than my own mother.  And, yes, he knows my eating and toilet paper consumption habits better than anyone on earth.  But does that mean we’re friends?  Do you think he walks away thinking, “I can’t believe he locked the door while I was still standing here.  I really thought he was going to invite me in this time to watch daytime television and nosh on those Sun Chips he’s so fond of.  Well…patience, patience.  Maybe next time.”

-And, finally, people also often ask me if my friends dislike being written about in my column.  Actually, most of them treat it as a badge of honor and enjoy the attention.  In fact, I’m considering changing the column’s tagline from “Writing what you’re thinking since 1997” to “Helping Triplet #1 get laid since 1999.”  I’m sure he’d love that.  The truth is, though, I was a little nervous when I left my boys behind and moved to Los Angeles.  I’ve always thought of myself as the connector, the nucleus of the group.  Yes, Triplet #1 and Triplet #3 are brothers, but would they really ever hang out if I didn’t make the plans?  This weekend in New York, over a few thousand beers, I hope to find out.  The litmus test is simple.  I’ll ask, “So how are you guys doing without me?”  And if the response is, “Bite me, Karo.  How does your soul feel in LA, you LA-loving asshole?” I’ll know everything is just fine.  Fuck me.