It’s just an unfortunate fact of life: Not everyone has an identical twin sister to bring as their date to work-related, couple-y events.
…Which is where a boyfriend really comes in handy.
I know, I know, who goes to a work-related couple-y event in THIS economy???
Who’s throwing a gala??
My twin sister, Joy, has been my date to work-related couple-y events for ten years.
This isn’t so much because I’m perpetually single (uh…), it’s because I’ve made the BONEHEAD decision to have long-distance relationships for most of my life.
And no one is flying 1,000 miles to go to a stranger’s retirement party, no matter how many crab cakes they promise.
Not that I mind having Joy there.
She’s the perfect work-related, couple-y date: She talks excitedly to everyone, is genuinely interested in who they are/what they do, and when co-workers and I get into deep conversations about the state of print journalism, she brings over the remaining bottle of wine.
(It also helps that people fuss over how alike we look. Instant conversation starter!!!)
crazy yuppie, but it’s really important to have a date with you to a work-related, couple-y event.
(Weddings are different. At a wedding you’re with friends, you’re drinking, you’re dancing and you’re probably checking out a groomsman. Ha.)
For a work-related, couple-y event, however, you need to have someone to talk to (so you don’t end up standing in the corner alone by the cheese), someone to SHOW OFF, someone who supports you and your career.
And, let’s not forget, someone who you’ve been telling your co-workers about.
You can imagine my excitement when I found myself in a proper relationship with a guy when I lived in New York.
I had just started a new job at a book publishing company, Joy and I had just moved to the city…THE CITY HE LIVED IN…and I was invited to several work-related, couple-y events within the first week of getting there.
I CAN BRING A PROPER DATE!?!?!
SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX?!!?!
Riiiiiight, that was the year I realized the difference between a good boyfriend and a bad boyfriend.
(And not knowing the difference until you live in the same city.)
His name was Edward and he was a financial adviser, which translates to super big hotshot in New York.
He was from New Orleans, my hometown, and I was excited to be in the same city as him after almost a year of dating long-distance.
I told him after my second day of work that there was a company birthday party at a bar on Friday night and asked if he could he please come with me.
I made it obvious that it was important, and how I wanted him to meet everyone.
He said yes.
When everyone at work started buzzing about the party, I told them that we would both be there.
I actually beamedsaying it. (Awwww 25-year-old Jenny.)
Edward didn’t have to work Friday night and had nothing going on. It was a perfect gathering for everyone to meet—a reserved outside patio at a bar.
I went straight after work. Edward said he’d meet me there.
I waited. And waited.
After a HALF-HOUR, people were asking where he was. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe he got stuck on the subway,” I said.
“Hey…do you mind if I don’tgo?” Edward spoke the horrifying words into my cell phone 45 MINUTES after the party started.
“What? Why?” I asked.
“I just…don’t want to be on a smoky patio. You know how much I hate smoke.”
I looked around, and ducked out of earshot.
“No one is smoking…” I said. “What are you doing?”
“Just watching TV on the couch.”
I could have killed him, seriously.
“Well, I really wantyou to be here,” I said. “I’ve only been working here for five days, I don’t know anyone, I’d like a friend with me.”
Edward wasn’t moved.
“Yea, well, if it was ANYWHERE else…” he said. “Anywhere with no smoking…”
You can’t SUCK IT UP for two hours?
What about,“I really want you to be here” DIDN’T he understand??
I almost cried, I remember. I felt like such an idiot.
And what a dorkyexcuse, too.
Oh, he doesn’t want the POTENTIALto have to smell cigarette smoke the required 20 feet away from the entrance??
JOY WOULD NEVER HAVE PULLED THAT SHIT!!!!
(SPOILER ALERT: It was a B.S. excuse. He was just selfish and unsupportive.)
But because I was 25 years old and really wanted it to work out between us, I forgave him and downplayed my hurt.
Until the next WORK-RELATED, COUPLE-Y THING, of course.
The second gathering, THE NEXT WEEKEND, was a “field day” picnic at Central Park (Central Park!) where everyone played Trivial Pursuit and volleyball.
“Free food!” I said to Edward.
I mean, why the Fdid I have to twist him arm about it?
It was a great Saturday date anyway. A stroll and picnic in the damn park.
“Yea, well, I’m planning on going to the gym until 2 o’clock…” Edward said.
My teeth clenched.
“Could you…maybe skipthe gym this Saturday?” I said.
“Ohhh….I don’t really want to,” he said.
That’s when I lost it.
Here I was a new resident to HIS city and he couldn’t even carve out time to be my date to an effing Saturday picnic.
I tried to be more clear.
“HEY, GUESS WHAT??” I said. “I’M TELLING PEOPLE THAT I HAVE A BOYFRIEND. WHEN YOU DON’T SHOW UP TO THINGS LIKE THIS AND HAVE NO REAL REASON WHY NOT, IT MAKES ME LOOK BAD.
IT MAKES ME FEELBAD.”
“Ok, I’ll come,” he finally said.
Edward arrived at the park at 3 p.m.
“SORRY I’M LATE, I WENT TO THE GYM,” he announced.
And that’s when I realized that Edward wasn’t just clueless, he really didn’t care about making me happy.
He didn’t care about anything but himself.
And no amount of explaining my feelings would make him be a supportive person, or make him stop doing whatever the Fhe wanted to do.
On the bright side, Joy won second place in Trivial Pursuit that day.