Friends come in and out of our lives. I stumbled on that “Fact” on my twitter feed. It set the threshold for any friendship at seven years and cited a study from sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst in 2009. In other words, if you hold on to a connection for longer than seven years it is likely to be for life. Otherwise you will replace him or her with a new friend and so on. And everything I read on twitter that has “FACT” on it must indeed be so. And so I examined my life. And my friends. And readers of this blog know I’m not very friendly. I’m a self proclaimed “misanthrope”. But in reality I’m just a douchebag.
N. lived across the street from us in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He had earned the dubious title by agreeing to befriend the only Jewish kid in the neighborhood. And I agreed because I had had strange, inexplicable (and quite bizarre I might add) sexual fantasies involving his older sister C. We dug a hole to China in his backyard and looked for fossils of dinosaurs. We were BFF’s, to use the parlance of our time, but that bond met its tragic end when I revealed to him (and that hottie C… call me girl) that Santa Clause was a hoax. A fiction set forth by the adults. I knew this first hand. From a book at the library. And by watching Carson when I should have been asleep. They protested. They were mortified. And in some small way I sensed the buds of a subconscious anti Semitism take seed in their shattered little Catholic hearts. The friendship ended and dashed any hope of fulfilling my deviant desires with C.
In Holon, Israel I befriended S. He was the runt of the class and I was the fatso. It was a match made in heaven. He had a cute little sister that had substituted C. in my B-Movie sci-fi inspired fantasies. And sometime in the early 1990’s basic cable replaced the two channel system here in Israel and S. and I would watch a bizarre, semi erotic game show on the German RTL network on Friday nights. Tutti Frutti. And I could not fathom why Israelis hated the Germans so much when they provided us with such great tits and, well, that was about it. Just tits. But that was enough. Until high school. When he discovered computers. And I discovered real tits. And booze.
In High School it was I. Or Y. The Three Musketeers. Until Y. started dating that Romanian chick with the odd name who had the reputation for sexual experimentation using various fruit. With I. it was different. He wanted to have sex. With a streetwalker. Because one of his friends had done it in Eilat. So he dragged me with him on a cold rainy night in January to the old industrial area of Holon, where the “Tempo” bottling factory was and found one to satisfy his desires. His friendship was predicated on me keeping his secret. Which I did faithfully. But our friendship was shattered one day not too long after Kurt Cobain died. We were looking at pictures of his mom from the 70’s. And she had had a hairy armpit. Which I joked about. And which he took grave offense at. Because his parents were divorced. And his mom had raised him. And thus we parted ways.
When I moved back to Israel in my late twenties I reconnected with I. And again we became besties. He was a professional by now. And so was his girlfriend. And he would take me aside and “remind” me not to mention anything about that cold and rainy night in January in the old industrial area of Holon. And I didn’t of course. And he would drag me along to all of his friend’s bachelor parties. Seedy and awful smelling warehouses in the Petah Tikva industrial area. And the rancid smell of 25 sweaty guys all eagerly anticipating the arrival of some down-on-her-luck stripper permeated the room. And they would while the time away drinking vodka-red bull, smoking hash joints and playing Xbox. And the stench of that place would stay on my clothes for weeks. But our friendship came to a fiery crash when I asked him to help me move one day. And he couldn’t be bothered. And you can always find out who your friends are when you need help moving.
My best friend H. Who replaced I. Who shared my passion for making films. And who lived in the basement of his mom’s house. With his fiancé. And smoked. But made me promise not to tell his mom. Or his fiancé. And we went to bars. And drank. And argued politics. And films. And we went on location to various European cities to shoot commercials. And shared hotel rooms. Until one day his wife got pregnant. And then lost the baby. And he cried on the phone. Wept. And I have never heard a grown man cry for so long. On the phone. Which I understood. It was a late term miscarriage. But he was a tough guy. A real bad ass. With the street cred to match. And no one could see him cry. Ever. Or live to tell about it. And a few days later I made the mistake of probing him on a financial matter. I’ve never been good with timing. And he used my lack of sensitivity as a pretext to cutting all ties. Just short of the seven year mark.
Six years ago today I started dating my best friend. My confidant. My soul mate. My M. And as cynical as I have been throughout my life, as protective and guarded as I have been, there is something so intensely real about our friendship, so tangible yet so utterly abstract, that I find myself an open book to her. And not all of it is pretty. Or flattering. Or easy to stomach. But nobody said friendship was simple. And this is the kind of friendship, the only kind of friendship, that I ever hope makes it past the seven year itch.
If we make it another year we’ll probably remain friends for life.
So that’s something you might want to consider.
Putting up with me for the rest of your life.