Humans are social creatures, so much so that any interruption of the group’s equilibrium is met with resistance and hostility. By this, I mean your buddy Ben just got himself a new girlfriend.
He introduces the fellas to his new woman and topically, she seems nice and doesn’t say much. But deep down, you know she is a succubus. He’ll bring her around a few times and “she’s one of the guys” now. You try to like her, like really try. He doesn’t exactly date all that often and it is a bro courtesy. But once she becomes comfortable, the cracks start to show. She’ll get tired and want to “head home early” right as the night starts to turn fun. This is where you see Ben fold like a cheap suit and she flashes the smirk. Everyone knows this smirk, and she now has your friend’s balls in a jar above the mantle.
So the only logical next step is to have the council of friends speak on the issue. Maybe this snake-charming jezebel has tricked the others, but this isn’t your first rodeo. Too many times have your friends in college put the pussy on the pedestal, only to have their hearts broken and return with their tails between their legs, back to the pack and licking their metaphorical wounds at happy hour. This imbalance does not sit well. It is lightly brought up to Ben. He assures you he still has his sack. He restates that none of their man time will be compromised. But next time you guys hang out, he will make an appearance but duck out early to “take care of something.”
Gone are the days of watching away college football games at the bar, poker night, tailgating and porch drinking get-togethers. He gone, and he ain’t coming back. How can he choose this harlot over our years of friendship and camaraderie?
At this stage, you pray for a breakup. Life looks pretty bleak. How could a once proud man be reduced to a shell of himself so quickly? The answer is simple: Ben broke the “bros before hoes” code. Before going and getting himself married to the horse woman, Matthew Broderick once eloquently stated, “Cameron has never been in love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.” Ben is Cameron, Cameron is Ben.
After being essentially cut off, you receive a “Save the Date.” Looks like our kid Ben just signed over his Peter. Shortly following this harrowing experience comes the dreaded phone call asking yours truly to be the best man. Why did it have to be like this? Not too long ago, Ben was operating under the name B.J. Summers, attempting to take home strange from the bar. You question reality, have an existential crisis, and reluctantly agree. Strippers at the bachelor party are out of the question out of “respect for his new bride.” The thought of giving the best man speech is the furthest thing on your mind.
The big day comes. Her terrible, conniving family is there. You see where she gets it from. Offhand jokes are not taken well and you bite the pillow because this wedding is going in dry. People know your name from her family and they are all aware of what you are capable of. Just once I’d like someone to call me ‘Sir’ without adding “You’re making a scene.” The wedding comes and goes and Old School runs through your head. In the end it is quick and painful as you watch Ben walk in toe with his new demon wench bride.
Lots of people have a Ben in their lives. You may even be Ben. It’s easy to place blame and pass judgment but in the end, the crushing societal pressure to marry, have kids, flip a coin for divorce and get that second mortgage on your white picket fence house is too alluring for our hero. It wouldn’t sting so badly if she didn’t swoop in like an eagle and sever a once sacred bond. Unlike a sitcom, you can’t just replace Ben. It would be unsavory and an insult to his honor. When the group comes together, misty eyed tales and reminiscing talks of better times are discussed as the group pours one out for our fallen brother. He’s a distant memory, no tears, only dreams..
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