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Live From The Friend Zone: It’s Signals, Jerry, It’s Signals

Live From The Friend Zone: It’s Signals, Jerry, It’s Signals

Read last week’s Live From The Friend Zone

You’d think as I get older I’d get better with understanding women, but somehow, it’s the complete opposite. I guess in a way it kind of makes sense; I used to be surrounded by women alllll the time. High school, camp, college. Always around girls. I at least stood a chance when it came time to picking up on vibes and signs.

But now? Most of the women I interact with are girlfriends of friends or potential mates. Either way, I know hundo p what their intentions are. Oh, she’s banging my buddy? Not a potential mate. Oh, she’s talking to me on Bumble? She’s a potential mate. There are just way less gray zone opportunities, and frankly, my skills for interpreting signals from women are deteriorating faster than the polar ice caps.

The Seinfeld pilot is all about Jerry being unsure of the romantic intentions of a woman he met, and he and George spend the entire episode stressing over all the signals she’s given him. George famously quotes, “it’s signals, Jerry, it’s signals.” Twenty-eight years later, and guys are still having the same discussions with their friends, albeit stressing over completely different types of signals. Jerry didn’t have text messages to show his friends in 1989; I don’t have phone conversations with tone and cadence to dissect.

While Jerry’s girl ended up staying at his apartment but was revealed to have a fiancé, the jury is still out on my little situation. A girl I have a report with told me she was newly single. A cry for attention? A courtesy head start from the competition? Quite honestly, I had no idea, so of course I read into every text, over-analyzed every word. Every time stamp. Every read receipt. (Mia has hers on, because there’s a chance she’s a mental terrorist. Yes, another red flag, but my penis only has eyes for the third base coach trying to wave him in).

I have no Rosetta Stone for text messages, but maybe you do? Anyway, this is me, over-analyzing every word, letter, and piece of syntax on earth while I attempted to set up a date with her.

* * *

You know when you get up from a nap and you’re not really sure what year it is? Like there’s at least an 11% chance that you just got Rip Van Winkled and somehow fell through the space-time continuum and now that motherfucker’s all topsy-turvied. This is exactly how I felt waking up to the text from Mia saying she was newly single. I just sat there and became that eye-blinking GIF on repeat, not believing my eyes and trying to process everything.

Mia – Sunday, May 21, 3:08 p.m.: Me and not so funny guy broke up! I’m sad max!!! Tell me someone will love me!!

And I have to say, I’m not proud of my response. I should have brainstormed. Taken a long swig of nearly frozen Michelob Ultra and thought on it. But I didn’t. In a state of grogginess, I just fired off the very first thing that came to mind.

*PLEASE NOTE: all spellings, times, and punctuation are as they appear in text; only the names have been changed.*

Boston Max – Sunday May 21, 4:24 p.m.: Awww Mia I’m sorry you’re sad
Boston Max – 4:24 p.m.: But don’t worry you’re very loveable!
Boston Max – 4:25 p.m.: Think about how much more you’ll laugh now thiugh

At this point, I was thinking what most of you astute peers perceived last week, that this was just a cry for attention from a vulnerable friend. That’s sort of how I saw it, at first.

Mia – 4:35 p.m.: *Crying emoji, and not the cute kind, the one with like the River Euphrates erupting from each eyeball
Mia – 4:35 p.m.: True
Boston Max – 4:41 p.m.: Let’s do lunch later this week? I’ll cheer you up!
Mia – 4:41 p.m.: Ok!!

Okay, I know what you’re all thinking, and I’m thinking it, too. Lunch? Fucking LUNCH?! Lunch is what Ari Gold offers to clients he doesn’t give a shit about. Lunch is when Carrie Bradshaw meets up with Miranda Hobbes because she’s not cool enough for drinks with Samantha. I botched it. I played it too safe. What an IDIOT. Even if I thought she was just reaching out as a friend, for attention, why even give her an option that doesn’t include getting sauced up on wine with a side vodkie.

I was in Boston most of that week for work, and I was discussing my little predicament with a few male colleagues in their early 40s. They both seemed to think that there was a reason she texted me. She didn’t text every guy she knew. I was, at the very least, on a short list. That had to mean something, right? It’s a signal. I had to change it up. It had to be more of a date atmosphere. It’d be the only way to glean what was going on in her head.

Boston Max – Wednesday, May 24, 12:37 p.m.: Hey girl what’s up

Mia – 12:40 p.m.: HIII

All capitals? That’s a good signal, right? Means she’s excited to hear from me, yeah?

Boston Max – 12:42 p.m.: Idk if I’m going to be able to swing lunch tomorrow; would you wanna audible to after work drinks instead

Mia – 12:42 p.m.: I was maybe gona go to Lyla’s for din so yes

Boston Max – 12:54 p.m.: Tyte. You pick the time, I’ll pick the place

Mia – 1:18 p.m.: K!!

So Mia was open to the idea of drinks. She didn’t shoot it down, and she was even going to find time for me. In there like swimwear.

Mia – Thursday, May 25, 9:51 a.m.: Hi let’s reschedule. I got drunk last night and now I’m depressed feeling and I think I probs shouldn’t drink again today!!! Plus I’m going to Lyla’s for din and I should go to the gym before hand so I can get this summer single bod on. What are you doing this weekend?

Fuck. Single summer bod? That’s NOT the answer I needed. Should I have told her she looks great already? Nah. Seriously why’d she say that? It’s a sign. She wants to be single this summer, because of course she does, who doesn’t want to be single during the summer?

But, she was going to squeeze me in before dinner with Lyla, and now if we rescheduled, we’d have more time to get our drank on. AND she asked me what I was up to for the weekend. Mia never asks me what I’m up to for the weekend. She wants to hang out. Why? What kind of signal is that? So, she loves me she loves me not. I don’t fucking know, man.

Boston Max – 10:15 a.m.: Oy don’t be depressed! But I feel ya on taking it easy. I just got back from a week long biz trip
where I drank every day and didn’t step foot in a gym
*grimacing emoji*
Boston Max – 10:16 a.m.: I’m not sure about this weekend. Moxon invited me up to the farm but I’m feeling really lukewarm about it. You don’t have MDW plans?

Was I lukewarm about the farm? A little. But I thought maybe if I was wishy washy about my plans, Mia would throw me an invite to hang. (And yes, I gave my buddy an alias in honor of Varsity Blues, you got a problem with that?)

Mia – 10:36 a.m: Not really. Might go upstate sat,, might go to my parents house one day to chill
Mia – 10:36 a.m: The farm sounds fun!

Boston Max – 10:37 a.m: Yeah but getting there (and back) is a pain, and the weather is supposed to be kinda crummy.
When do you leave for your trip

Mia – 10:38 a.m.: Oh that’s true it’s not even gona be nice out
Mia – 10:38 a.m.: Well if you’re chillen in the city I’ll be around. Or tomorrow!

Okay, she’s into me. Has to be. Multiple hangout options? She loves me. Gotta be a sign.

Mia – 10:38 a.m.: I leave Thursday
Mia – 10:38 a.m.: Much needed. Get me out of this funk

Oh, yeah. Kind of important. At this point, Mia was leaving for Europe one week from this text convo, fyi. So here was my thinking: Mia was going to come back from Europe a rejuvenated chick after grinding up on Euro studs for ten days, so any groundwork to be had would need to be set in the next week, because if she comes back from Europe without having me even remotely on her radar, I’m going to quickly fall out of the race a la Jeb Bush.

Boston Max – 10:45 a.m.: Yeah it’ll be a nice getaway. You’ll shake your funk, just in time for summer!
Boston Max – 10:45 a.m: I’ll let you know about this weekend, but even if I head upstate to the farm we’d be coming
back Sunday so maybe we’ll hang Sunday night or Monday or something

Mia – 11:07 a.m.: Oh def!!! Ok keep me in the loop

Boston Max – 12:10 p.m.: Yeah same! Have fun tonight w/ Lyla, tell her I say hi

Mia – 12:13 p.m: Will do!

Okay, she seems excited about the prospect of hanging out. Time to clear my head upstate with the boys and strategize how I’m going to take the football into the red zone.

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Boston Max

Spending my retirement fund at Trader Joe's and trying to remember to check my mailbox semi-regularly

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