Before delving into the collapse of my freshman group of friends from college, I think it’s important to describe some of the adventures that we had together so that you can mourn the calamity of our feuds as much as I did back then.
As I’ve said before, our common interest was partying. In many cases, there was no further connection binding us together.
The group’s demographic skewed female to Jurassic Park levels. There were basically three dudes, counting me, hanging out with like a dozen girls. I loved the proportions at the time, but future events would make me question whether or not females are truly capable of empathy towards each other, or if any semblance of girl friendship is just a long con style intricate murder plot.
Bobby is one of those friendships that came out of our group (we called ourselves “K.I.T.T.” – short for Keep In Touch Tuesday) that actually made the enormous headaches that most of these people caused me feel worthwhile in retrospect.
The other guy, well, he had an emotional issue or two (or seven thousand). We’ll call him “Tommy” because of his ongoing need for anonymity when it comes to the stories I have to tell about him. Tommy was a quirky stoner with a lot of money and friends that liked to throw parties in their shitty apartments.
One such celebration of alcohol was The Lingerie Party. Now 19 year-old Brantley had heard legends of lingerie parties, but was skeptical of their existence. The concept was too awesome and it always seemed to happen to someone else. I guess skepticism is the wrong word. 19 year-old Brantley thought of Lingerie parties as “winning the lottery” or “seeing a super majestic bald eagle doing its thing” – he knew that those things did indeed happen, but that they didn’t happen to many people despite everyone’s longing for them.
Well this time around, I was invited and I looked forward to the event with both excitement and trepidation. You see, I was still self-medicating a lot of social anxiety at the time and if I didn’t get the dosage strong enough, I had a tendency to sweat like someone with a serious medical condition. Being in nothing but my underwear, there was a strong chance that I would be making it rain on the whole party unless I somehow managed to attach the keg directly to my face.
I coolly suggested to Bobby that we grab some robes or like Hugh Heffner smoking jackets. I also jokingly, but actually totally seriously, asked him, “So what’s the boner policy at lingerie parties?” “Don’t get one,” he replied tersely. Then the robes were more important than ever.
Helping Girls Shop for Lingerie
For some reason, Bobby and I accompanied a ton of the girls to the fancy mall so that they could go shopping for lingerie. I thought the idea of being on hand to provide a male perspective to girls looking for skimpy underwear was a dream come true. In reality, however, there are few responses that a slack-jawed 19 year-old boy can give to a lingerie-consumer requesting feedback (and none of them are particularly respectful).
Now at that point in my life, I wasn’t articulate enough to say things like: “Women shouldn’t be viewed or treated like sex objects that exist solely for men’s amusement and gratification,” but something along those lines was clicking deep down inside of me. I realized that these were more than just half-naked girls that I would soon be getting drunk with. They were friends that I respected. It was almost as if they were human beings equal to myself, you know?
After a few awkward moments of babbled feedback, Bobby and I absconded to the food court and ate meatball subs from Firehouse.
Bobby’s Weird Lime Chicken
The night of the party, the plan was for the boys to prepare dinner for the girls and then we would all part ways to get dolled up and go to this sexy underwear kegger. Bobby took head chef duty, and we made this weird lime chicken that most people pushed around their plates politely before tossing into the trash. Out of stubborn loyalty, I opted for seconds. In a lifetime full of mistakes, this decision still stands prominently within the regret regions of my brain.
Unsurprisingly, Bobby and I were stripped down and ready to go to the party within minutes and the girls took much longer. To be honest, I don’t remember all that much of the actual event once we got there. I remember puking in the bathroom after just a few beers and being a good enough friend not to immediately blame Bobby’s Weird Lime Chicken. I remember different scantily-clad girls sitting in my lap on the balcony next to the keg. There really wasn’t any intra-KITT drama at that point, so it was a pretty tame affair as far as shit shows go.
The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery
Most importantly, however, I remember The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery ever to draw breath within our douche bag infested world. He strutted around the small apartment with his chest puffed out and his arms held away from his sides like some kind of monkey with vertigo. “I go to the gym a lot!” his body language shouted. His hair was thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly gelled into spikes. He wore sunglasses. Inside. At night. Indoors. At this nocturnal event. Where there was no sun. His heart boxers were cute but cliche. But here’s the best part: He wore about a half dozen Magnum condoms around his constantly-flexed bicep as a kind of arm band. I wish I was a talented enough writer to make this up.
Naturally, I played him in beer pong. Occasionally in a long-tenured beer pong career, you will encounter complaints that the cups don’t have enough beer in them. The result is that they move around when the ball hits the side and the movement prevents the shot from going in. It’s a real complaint, albeit an insulting one to make to someone far more interested in beer than pong. The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery claimed that under filled cups were the cause of his beer pong mediocrity. Every time. After every shot that bounced off the cups and didn’t go in: “Is there even any beer in that cup?” I’m certain that if he acted this way at every party he attended, it was only a matter of time before someone’s fist decided that he had too many teeth in his mouth.
I don’t remember who won that game. It doesn’t matter. Pong is just a game. Beer is a form of enlightenment.
I do remember my partner from the beer pong game sitting in my lap on the balcony later that evening. The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery, who had been hitting on her and being brutally rebuffed throughout our entire game, strutted stupidly out to where we sat and asked her to grab him a beer. She laughed in his face. He grabbed his own beer and dumped it on her (and on me by proxy). Everyone was on their feet and I don’t remember how I talked this girl out of altering some of his facial features. I think I was standing in between the two of them and lightly shepherding the douche bag into the apartment, but I’m a pretty non-confrontational guy who totally panics in situations like that, so defusing this bomb was most likely entirely accidental.
The douche left eventually and we all kept partying and having a great time, despite Bobby’s weird lime chicken.
When Fate Graces You with an Apology
A few months later, The Purest Embodiment of Douche Baggery landed the task of going door to door in college apartment complexes for some reason or other. I was hanging out with the girl that he dumped beer on when the douche knocked on the door. He said his piece on whatever it was that he was doing and then awkwardly apologized for that night. I laughed at it at the time, but now I know how rare it is to hear apologies from random shitheads that you cross paths with in life. The potential divinity of the moment completely eluded me in that moment, but really, what are the odds of him knocking on that door in that apartment complex precisely at that moment when I was hanging out over there?
I wouldn’t be enlightened enough to see it this way for hundreds more beers.