WHO I PRETEND TO BE

Why Living With Your Guy Friends is Better Than Having a Boyfriend : A Comprehensive List

 

–written by SHELBIE JANOCHA & illustrated and animated by KENTON HOPPAS

 

My past living situations have included, but are not limited too: sharing a dorm room with a crazy drug-addicted Russian who yelled at me in a different language and threatened my life, a recluse who wouldn’t leave the room even when I was trying to have sex, and a psychotic bitch who left passive aggressive notes; sharing an apartment-style dorm with a jealous bitch, a Vietnamese girl who stole my best friend and yelled at me in a foreign language, and a girl that I had a complicated (read: fooled around with) relationship; subletting with a stranger who never cleaned up after his cat for one summer; a rich (maybe two-faced?) bitch who never cleaned up after herself or had any concept of what it’s like to not have tons of money and who called me her best friend only to never speak to me again; a house of five girls, two of whom made me want to slam my head against a brick wall when I saw or spoke to them; and, finally, my former tutor and good friend, Emily, plus the stars of this story, my two bros.

1.   “I don’t like seeing you like this.” Ben said, scratching at his blonde beard, his eyes squinting behind his gold framed John Lennon glasses. I shrugged my shoulders and settled back into the third day of a four-day funk, my body sinking into the grungy olive of our couch. He stands up and looks down at me. “Do you want a beer and a hug?”

Tears spring into my eyes. “Ben. That is all I have ever wanted.” 

Within thirty seconds, an ice cold Post Road pumpkin beer is in my hands, already opened, and Ben envelopes me in a solid 20 second bear hug. “Wanna play Mario Kart?” 

(And not just any Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64. Get on our level.)

He didn’t ask me what was wrong. He didn’t push it when I clearly didn’t want to talk. We just chilled and then cleaned the bathroom together. I took the shower and he, graciously, said the most beautiful sentence I have ever heard in my life “I like to clean the toilet.”

2.   There is always a six-pack of craft beer in the house.

3.   When we hang out there isn’t any expectation that I am to touch their dicks. 

4.   Smashed between a sweaty two hundred fifty pound man’s ass and some teenager’s knock off Louis Vuitton tote, my stomach gurgles. Loudly. Like, when you’re not sure if anyone heard it in the middle of a quiet classroom, except, everyone heard it and is giggling silently while trying to figure out how to multiply fractions without committing suicide. 

“Belmont is next.” The computerized voice says,. Belmont is next, but not before my  Blue Line train stalls for five minutes during the approximate minute and a half trip between Logan Square and Belmont. Trudging up the stairs, I remember that Aldi is across the street. “I can carry groceries for five blocks.” I think to myself. 

Wrong. 

Two large paper bags with no handles are perched on each hip and I am cursing myself for buying so many jarred and canned items. Do you really need that olive oil? Jar of baby dill pickles? (Fun fact: the acidity of pickle juice helps relieve menstrual cramps + they are delicious.) Extra Sharp Aged White Cheddar? Wine? Pasta Sauce? 

Yes. 

Three stops to readjust the bags so they don’t spill my $43.27 worth of groceries across Belmont Avenue, I reach the end of my block. And there, in all his glorious wonder, sitting on our front porch 100 feet away, a cigarette dangling from his lips, is Mike. 

“MIKE!”

Slow motion like when the protagonist sees the perfect pair of shoes to wear tonight, Mike turns his head, his dark hair sprouting in every direction (he likes naps) and sees me. Before I can even finish shouting, “Come help me!”  He has jumped off the porch and jogs towards me and says, 

“Next time just call me. I’ll pick you up in my car.”

“YOU HAVE A CAR!?”

5.   When walking to Walgreens, or anywhere, at night, no one says anything to me anymore.  

6.   They have cute friends.

7. If I don’t want to talk to them when I get home THEY ARE NOT OFFENDED.

8. Every night for a week, while my lovely roommate Emily is asleep because she is a sucker with a corporate job, Ben, Mike, and I drink beer and watch movies. 

So far on our list: Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Story of Saved By the Bell, Shrek, Office Space, and Dog Day Afternoon. One of them has supplied beer, the other Mexican food. While I don’t see my waistline taking too kindly to these unofficially official movie nights, I have never been more relaxed.

While Mike is eating his second Taco Bell meal of the day and Ben comes home with cupcakes from his bakery job, I am applying a thick layer of a smelly, sulphuric, bright green mask on my face. I hear the DVD menu music on loop and quickly run upstairs to the living room to watch whatever we have chosen for the day. In a floor length, floral print, button front night, dress that would make even your grandmother want to burn it, and my face rivaling the Wicked Witch of the West, I pose, “Am I sexy?” 

Ben turns around and chuckles (or chokes, I’m not sure), “Sure.”
“Oh, you’ve got stuff on your face again.” Mike says and takes another bite of burrito. 

Later, when my legs are sore and I shift them around, Mike makes room for me to lay them out across his knees, or Ben lets me prop a pillow against his shoulder to lay down. 

“Sorry guys, it’s just gonna happen.”

They just shrug their shoulders. 

9. Mike is teaching me how to drive. My first boyfriend let me drive his car for 3 minutes and yelled at me for holding down both pedals at once WHEN HE DIDN’T SAY I COULDN’T DO THAT. 

10. No bullshit. There’s none of this, “Im gonna tip toe around the issue because I’m upset but I still want you to give me head later and don’t want you to break up with me so I’m just gonna be passive aggressive and slam down your plate of dinner and I swear to Beyonce if you tell me you don’t want to have kale one more time you can go forage in the dumpster for dinner because you don’t help out with the grocery bill so you’re lucky I’m not feeding you raw mushrooms, you asshole,” bullshit. If I’m irritated, I just say, “Shut the fuck up.” And everything is cool. 

11. Boyfriends require that you give a damn. Sometimes I don’t give a damn. I shaved my legs for the first time in, honestly I can’t even tell you, last night and I was so proud/disgusted of the fact that I completely dulled a brand new razor without even getting all of the hair that I ran out of the bathroom and told Ben about it. He smiled. “Good job.”

12. When I mention my menstrual cycle, they just shrug it off. They’re not slipping their dicks in, so what do they care?


Ultimately, the best part is, I get all the love and caring without having to put out, and I get the whole bed to myself.

 

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