November 21st, 2002


Bad couples

Besides the Megan and Scott pairing of my last entry, jacitation and I set up two other scary couples. These were all good people, friends of ours, but somehow the chemistry of their relationships changed them into couples to AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Let’s not use real names. AS reunited with us out of the blue, distraught over the end of her 5 or 6 year relationship. I invited her over for TV and food. She started developing an interest in my housemate AR. It was one of those shy people relationships, they’d hang out all night in the same room, barely speaking and when AS left, AR would start asking question after question. This would only end when AS arrived home 20 minutes later and would call with her series of questions.

When they finally got together they did that shy couple thing of closing everyone else out. When we did see them they did that annoying finishing-each-others-sentences thing. Soon they started not returning phone calls and avoiding us. Patterns suddenly became clear. AR grew up in SF and had scads of "friends" who he wasn’t friends with anymore. Different re-inventions of his personality called for entire new groups of friends. Dating a grad student made him into clean-and-sober-college-student/budding-intellectual and that we didn’t work with that persona. We were evidently his sit-around-the-TV-poor-and-drinking-beer friends. This from the person who coined the phrase, "TV is absolute good with no drawbacks" in his zine. AS it seemed only reached out for friends when she had no boyfriend and was happy to close back down.

That was a disappointment but not as creepy as T and J. We knew them on a college campus in the ‘80s. T was an intellectual Marxist finishing grad school and J was a socialist-feminist aligned with the non-aligned Marxist-Leninists. T was shy and geeky and managed the campus movie theater. He was a music guy, knew all the punk/new wave history in great detail but somehow it was endearing on him. When J started dating him she reported back that surprisingly he didn’t own only one pair of corduroys and one white shirt, but in fact had an entire closet full of them, hung and neatly pressed.

T’s neatness obsessions was always an issue with all of us but their relationship just intensified things. He was the type of person who cleans up during a party. You had to watch your plate at all times to make sure he wouldn’t grab it and scrape your food into the trash. He would change clothes immediately if someone spilled on him. Before the information about his closet cache of identical clothes came this had always mystified me.

They moved in with each other very quickly. Traditional gender roles reared their heads almost as fast. J gave up on her studies and began to plan the move to wherever T got his next job. T was all she could talk about anymore. This might have been forgivable if their relationship had been pleasant but they bickered over anything at any time no matter how small. The type of bickering where ever disagreement they ever had was fair game to bring back up and throw in the other’s face. Uninterestingly to the observer it was always petty stuff too. "You always put the milk on the wrong shelf in the refrigerator!" "I hate that coffee cup!" "You put that Elvis Presley record away in front of Elvis Costello!" etc.

They fought often but would make up by giving each other stuffed animals. Soon their apartment was overflowing with fluffy bears and bunnies. During a poker game with assorted campus radicals, punks, and the local UAW president I witnessed something I never want to see again. T, holding a white stuffed bunny in J’s face speaking in a strained but fakey, child-calming voice. "Mr. Rabbit really thinks you should use a coaster for that beer bottle," he sing-songed.

We all knew it was time to finish our beers and leave.
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