On Friday night we went out to dinner with Jenny, one of my favorite friends, and her new husband, Kelly.
Jenny and I met right when we both got out of college. We became roommates and shared a few years of singlehood—drinking lots of margaritas, running up credit card bills at the mall, and making out with random boys in dark bars. She’s always been my fun friend— you know, that girl in your life who will try anything once and when she does something incredibly over the top you laugh and say “That’s so (insert friend’s name here).”
Now she’s married, which I’m still trying to get used to. Like most everything else in her life it was on a whim— she met the guy in last April, got engaged in October and married him at a courthouse in December. Now, Jenny doesn’t go many places without him.
And that means one thing: Fred has to like her husband. In this strange world of coupledom, your friends fall into two categories: the friends you hang out with by yourself and the friends you hang out with as a couple. Since Jenny is joined with Kelly at the hip, it was imperative that Fred and Kelly hit it off so that we could spend more time with them (read: I could spend more time with Jenny). We had chatted with them at holiday and housewarming parties over that last few months, but this was going to be our first real alone date. And Fred was not looking forward to it.
“Every time I’ve seen Kelly all we talk about is Jeeps and college basketball,” he said. “Then when we’ve exhausted those two topics in five minutes, the conversation is over. How am I going to talk to him through an entire dinner?”
“He seems just as outgoing as you are,” I said. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” But I wasn’t sure. What if they didn’t hit it off? Or worse—what if neither one of us really liked Kelly after spending a few hours with him, and they became those friends who we try to avoid?
They showed up to the restaurant 10 minutes late.
“Sorry,” Kelly said. “Jenny couldn’t find anything to wear.”
I laughed. We all sat down and Jenny and I started catching up. I was casting sideways glances at Fred and Kelly who were discussing… college basketball. My heart sank. And then, a few minutes later I heard a wonderful sound— Fred was laughing. Genuinely. Kelly was cracking him up. And as the night wore on, Kelly was cracking all of us up. He’s a great story teller, a good listener and he cracks on Jenny as much as I did when we lived together.
We stayed at dinner for 3 hours, then parted at the door to the restaurant and Fred and I walked to our car.
“Kelly really came out of his shell tonight,” Fred said. “I would love to hang out with them again.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. We have a new couple friend.