Issue #122 – “The Seventh Wheel” – January 14th, 2008

-Recently I went out with six friends – two married couples and one couple that lives together – thereby making me the seventh wheel.  I’ve been the third and fifth wheels plenty of times, but never the seventh.  It’s nights like this that make me introspective about being single.  On one hand, it’s kind of depressing to see my friends with their significant others laughing and sharing, and realize I don’t have that.  On the other hand, it’s exhilarating to know that I’m not responsible for anyone’s happiness but my own, and that the next girl I wake up next to in bed won’t be living with me.  Upon reflection, I don’t think that being an odd-numbered wheel is something to be ashamed of.  In fact, I look at it as a badge of honor.  I’d be the fifteenth wheel if I could – if only to be in a room with fourteen people whose lives are more boring than mine.

-I’ve never been much of a dater.  I can probably count on both hands the number of official dates I’ve ever been on.  Quite frankly, I just don’t have the patience.  Drinks are for getting drunk, and I prefer to eat dinner while wearing something with an elastic waistband.  As far as conversation, well, no one likes to talk about themselves as much as I do, but listening to some chick ramble on about her career as an event planner?  No thanks, I’ll pass.  Besides, it’s not a real job if you can be rendered obsolete by an Evite.

-I love when I’m the odd-numbered wheel, surrounded by married people, plus that one couple that’s been dating for like six years but still hasn’t gotten engaged yet.  I always feel a sense of camaraderie with the girl.  She’s like, “What’s new, Karo?”  And I’m like, “Not much.  You?”  And, surrounded by others’ wedding bling, she sighs, “Nothing.”  And then we both get drunk secure in the knowledge that neither of us is getting hitched any time soon.

-Though I frequently mock the institution of marriage, I do hope that one day – many years from now – I will get married myself.  The thing is, most of my past serious relationships began with a one-night stand.  Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that that’s how I’ll meet my future wife as well.  So I figure the next time I try to take a girl home from the bar and she objects, asking, “What kind of girl do you think I am?” I can respond, “I guess not marriage material.”

-One source of conflict that I often have in my romantic relationships is that I just don’t like pets.  Sorry, it’s true.  I hate dogs.  I hate cats.  I hate anything with fur or that needs to be fed or that has a stupid name the story behind which I’m forced to hear.   The problem is, girls with a pet want their significant other to love and care for it as much as they do.  I can’t offer that.  I really just hate all animals.  I mean, I can barely stand humans.

-In the end, I am completely comfortable with my status as a seventh wheel.  It’s actually kind of fun, especially when my friends’ wives cook for me or do me favors because they think I can’t fend for myself (which is partially true).  The only person I feel bad for is my mom.  She’s graciously never pressured me to get married.  But I’m starting to get the sense that she’d like me to tie the knot and pop out some grandkids sooner rather than later.  I tell her that it will happen eventually but, you know, she’s a mom; she worries.  I only hope she takes some consolation in the fact that one day I’ll finally be an even-numbered wheel.  Until then, I’m happy being odd.

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

-You know what would be great?  If, when I’m texting someone, my phone would actually recognize the word “texting.”

-Over the holidays, I played my six-year-old cousin Daniel in tennis on his brand-new Wii.  He consistently beat me.  And I was literally trying as hard as I possibly could.  Either he’s a prodigy, or alcohol has slowed my reflexes to a pre-kindergarten level.

-When Anderson Cooper reports about Britney Spears on CNN, do you think he’s cognizant of the fact that a little bit of his soul is dying?

-The gearshift on my truck comes out of the steering column, as opposed to being in the center console like most cars.  This has caused me to look like a complete moron when driving someone else’s car, because I always instinctively reach for the wrong lever and do something like put the windshield wipers on instead of shifting into park.  I play it off so poorly, too: “Oh, did you say go in reverse?  I could have sworn you said put the brights on and spray wiper fluid.  My bad.”

-Do Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends get health insurance and dental?

-I was running at the gym the other day, and this chick who was obviously a cigarette smoker got on the elliptical right next to me.  The stench alone that emanated from her body actually made me wheeze and slow my pace on the treadmill.  I wish smokers wouldn’t exercise.  That way they would die sooner and leave me alone.

-Are artists happy or sad when they see their work on the side of a tissue box?

-It boggles my mind that people go out to dinner on a weekend night, and then go right out afterwards without peeing, washing their hands, or freshening their breath.  I feel like I go to the bathroom about five times for every one visit of an average person.  Sure I’m a tad obsessive-compulsive, but is no one else paralyzed by the thought of going out in public with food in their teeth, dirty hands, and a full bladder?

-And, finally, I believe my aversion to dating stems partly from bad experiences and partly from being unduly influenced by television.  For instance, I once went out with a girl and later gave her some tickets to a stand-up performance of mine.  She proceeded to show up with another guy – on another date!  Plus, have you ever noticed how on TV, when thirtysomethings go on dates, the guy is always wearing a suit and tie?  What universe is that based on?  Because if that’s what dating in my thirties will entail, then Mom’s got a longer wait for grandkids than I thought.  I guess, in a way, happily married people and perpetually single people are similar: we’ve both given up on dating, but have merely chosen different exit strategies.  And so, my seventh wheel status continues indefinitely.  After all, relationships require a strong stomach – not an elastic waistband.  Fuck me.