When couples split, does the friend group have to follow suit? Al DeLuise takes a look.
During a divorce a couple naturally starts the process of dividing their assets. Who knows how many hours are fought over who gets to keep the battered bedroom furniture they had since their first apartment (the husband) or the brand new fifteen thousand dollar living room set that upon purchase was promptly quartered off because it was just too damn nice to use (the wife). While all that is going on there is one more question that needs to be asked:
Who gets the friends in a divorce?
In my divorce some decisions were obvious. My ex-wife Arlene had one true friend that she brought with her into the marriage — Rene. She has known Rene since grade school so that was an easy choice. Rene was placed in Arlene’s column along with most of the household furnishings and appliances which included that really nice toaster oven that I could have used to heat up the cold pizza that was soon to be the staple of my divorced-man diet.
A majority of our other friends we had during our marriage came with me. That was not because they did not like Arlene; on the contrary they all loved her. Arlene was always the loudest and funniest person at a party and was often, for good reasons and bad, the center of attention. They came with me simply because I knew them all before I ever met Arlene. In the unspoken pre-nuptial I kept the friends because they were mine to begin with.
And then there was Lilly.
Lilly was a friend of Arlene’s from work and they knew each other well before I showed up on the scene. She was a very pretty woman. Her husband was a very handsome man. In fact, if you ever saw their wedding photo they looked like the couple that came with the frame. By the time Arlene and I split up Lilly had already been divorced and for whatever reason, Lilly became my friend. It’s not that she wouldn’t talk to Arlene; it’s just that Lilly and I started to hang out more after the divorce than before.
We would often go out for drinks and you would think having drinks with a beautiful woman would be something every divorced man would wish to happen to them. But like the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
As we would sit in these bars, getting semi-drunk, men would often come up to Lilly and start to talk to her like I wasn’t even there. That doesn’t do much for a man’s ego, and it didn’t help that Lilly would often turn her back to me and become totally engaged with this stranger. Sure, we weren’t dating or anything, but come on…
There were other things that I didn’t expect to happen now that we were friends. We used to play racquetball and one time, in the middle of the court (with glass walls no less) she said, “Do you want to see my new tattoo?” I of course said yes and I expected her to lower the shoulder or raise the side of her t-shirt to show me the new ink. I was not prepared as she pulled down the front of her shorts to reveal a colorful toucan perched very close to her genitalia.
“Do you like it?” she asked with a smile.
I said yes but the thought came to mind that it would be somewhat intimidating for the next person that was performing any acts down there to have those inquisitive bright eyes follow your every move.
Being the guy friend I was surprised how open she was about her dating. I suddenly knew everything she did, and with whom she was doing it with. I guess she felt comfortable with me but I don’t think I needed to know the size of the man she was on-again-off-again dating. Apparently he had a very large penis and she liked to talk about it. She was so proud — I’m surprised she didn’t get a t-shirt made that stated, ‘You have to be T-H-I-S L-O-N-G to ride this ride’.
Once, after a few drinks, Lilly excused herself and went to the ladies room. When she came back she blurted out, ‘Do you want to sleep with me?’ I was blindsided by the question (what the hell was going on in that bathroom?). I asked her why she would ask. Lilly said she thought it was odd that after all these years of knowing each other and hanging out I never tried to make a move on her. She told me about a friend in California whom she had known for years that suddenly came on to her and she was surprised by his actions. I told her I was her friend and that was as far as I expected this to go. This wasn’t When Harry Met Sally. She laughed and smiled then sipped her drink and turned to talk to the man that sat behind her.
Lilly and I eventually had a falling out. After I stopped and picked up sushi for her one night (at her request) we were having a few drinks when her teenage son, who just a few moments before had squirted gasoline from a two-liter plastic soda bottle onto a fire he built in the backyard, began mocking me while we played a board game. I sat there and waited for Lilly to reprimand him; no child should ever talk to an adult the way he talked to me, but she just laughed. I took it as long as I could then calmly just got up and left. Well, in all honesty, I did get up and leave, but it wasn’t calmly. Not my proudest moment but who the hell lets their kid talk to an adult that way?
That was the end of my friendship with Lilly. She did reach out to me a few years after that and wanted to get together for drinks. I agreed, more than willing to let bygones be bygones. I stood in the entry way of Houlihans for an hour but she never showed up and I never heard from her again. Who knows, maybe the bird talked her out of it.
In hindsight, I should have traded Lilly back to Arlene when I had the chance for that sweet, sweet toaster oven.
Photo credit:Bill Ohl/flickr