The mention of a “side chick” will draw the ire of any respectable girl. And most of us guys don’t need someone on the side. If we’re not happy with the person we’re currently seeing, we break it off and either try again with someone else, or see the departure as an excuse to drink ourselves into oblivion for a few weeks. We don’t ride a relationship half-chub just because we still want to go places and be seen with someone good looking.
A cryptic solicitation hit my phone late Tuesday night asking what my plans were for the weekend. In most cases, a question about my weekend plans on a Tuesday night wouldn’t prompt a response from me and, even if it did, the response would be terse and dismissive. But noting the sender, a girl who’s been on my to-do list for a while, I humored it. She asked, in a roundabout way, if I’d be her date to a family picnic a couple hours away.
Before I hit her with an outright no, I asked “so [ex boyfriend’s name] can’t make it?”
“No, he can’t make it.”
“He’s doing something else. So, why don’t you come if you’re not working?”
Not sure if a picnic is my scene.
“Come on. My dad even asked if you were going.”
Right as she pulled the dad card, I knew her game. I doubt she even asked her “but we’re still friends” ex. For good reason. He’s a whiny manlet and I’m a good face to parade around her family, even if we’re not dating or hooking up at the time, so asking me to accompany her makes sense on her end. In the past, I would give the invitation a resounding yes, as common sense says that meeting a girl’s family is always a good omen.
This time, I knew better.
I was once naive, like any other guy, and thought the notion of being a girl’s date to a family function meant she was a feeling it — that it would be a slam dunk off the headboard. That’s never the case. I would be paraded around as some girl’s arm candy, just to end the night with a quick hug, some taillights, then popcorn and Playstation (and possibly Pornhub).
The same shit happened earlier this summer, except with a girl who was pushing dime status. She and her boyfriend had been circling the drain for some time, recently broken up, and she invited me into a similar scenario. She had a family function that encouraged bringing a date. Instead of trotting out the other guy, she got me to go with her. Being naive, I happily obliged. I saw it as an opportunity to impress her with how good I am at charming the panties off of parents and grandparents that don’t already know my preceding reputation. Rather than show her and her family just why I’m a future Bachelorette contestant, I instead just showed her I’d go do inane things with her that I don’t really want to do, stay sober and make uncomfortable conversation with strangers without any expectation of a burgeoning romance.
I’ve come to realize that going on stupid little adventures with a girl — especially when she has another guy somewhere on the periphery, doesn’t bode well for my ability to close on her. Rather, she’ll be more inclined to keep me around for the trips out to see family, the cute little day dates, the movies — all the 1950s drive-in romance bullshit. And, the more I cave to a friend and go places with her, the more I distance myself from the prospect of going home with her. Sometimes, it’s just to leverage me against another guy. God forbid I’m putting the work in for someone else.
No more. Fuck that. I’m nobody’s arm candy de jour.
About an hour later, I answered. I told her to give her family my best, but I wouldn’t be able to make it.
“That’s too bad. My family would have enjoyed meeting you.”
I bet they would have. She’d be content with her familiars thinking we’re dating. I’m a very datable guy and, to her, bringing me would be like rolling up in a new Stingray that she gets to borrow for the day, rather than her family see her climb out of the same old dented up Elantra. She’s not quite ready to bury that old Elantra and commit to the newer, superior model — not when she thinks can borrow that Corvette for the day when she wants to impress relatives and keep the Hyundai around, just in case she gets around to fixing it.
I may be the guy equivalent of the finest muscle care American hands built, but I’m not the one who gets borrowed and shown off a few days a year by someone who has no intention on buying. My looks and charm can’t just be borrowed when it’s convenient.
I’m nobody’s side dude and I’m certainly no one’s arm candy..