Friends Without Benefits

When I put a pop tart in the toaster, remove it from the hot slot once it was perfectly chestnut brown, and put half a stick of butter on its contents focusing on the sprinkle frosting center, I cream myself.  This is the single handedly most amazing dish ever created.  Unless I put my thighs in the mix; that spanned across mountainous regions if I continued to make selfish choices by consuming fried Pop Tarts.  Seriously, I could be on the same show as the idiot who chose to eat McDonald’s everyday for a year.  Or the lady who decided to blog about eating school lunches for a year.  Pop Tarts were all I would consume for a large, embarrassing portion of my life.   And my own father is the General Manager at a prestigious steakhouse in the cities, so I totally understand good food.

That is why I chose to consume ridiculous amounts of Pop Tarts when I was in middle school, when I had the metabolism of a hyperactive squirrel.  I had a perfectly buffered sense of quality food, and I was (what my Mom liked to call me) “a good eater.”  In these blissfully ignorant days, metabolism did not matter. I got my exercise frolicking across my parent’s lawn because I actually thought I was of the equine species.  I thought a course mane was flowing from the nap of my neck and my Adidas were hardened hooves.  During these excursions I often sported stirrup leggings and a large forest green tee with a painted horse on the front.  I would run across the rolling hills of our suburban back yard, tossing my head, and hooking horse show ribbons to my glasses.  The scene looked like a painting right out of Gone With the Wind for the Challenged. And I swear my mother was convinced I was gone with my mind.

I did not have a plentiful handful of friends during the time, with an imagination almost bigger than JK Rowling’s.  In middle school, all kiddies wanted to do was sneak into the garage and pull down each other’s pants to effectively compare what they were up against anyway. I had none of that.  I even refused to take sex ed classes in fifth grade and instead went to the classroom where kids could learn about the earth.  I was content with tossing my blonde tresses into the wind, galloping freely across my parent’s back yard, and remaining completely ignorant of my own sexual capacity while in puberty.  At the time I cared more about the equator and pollution.

However, I did have one young gentleman whom was forced to hang out with me.  Forced because our families were lifetime friends and frequently traveled together.  For me, this was nothing less than a miracle.  I could finally have another imaginary horse to compete against me in one of my make-believe horseshows. I imagined my impeccable gate, and me prestigious breeding, and knowledge about the game would naturally set me above all competition.

In midst of discovering my quickly producing hormones, the news could not be better.  His name was Drake.  He was a hockey player at a prestigious suburban school out east (closer to the city), he had thick, curly hair that made me self-conscious about my epic horse-wear and he was tremendously funny.  When he would laugh, so would I.  He had an amazing ability to make me laugh even if something wasn’t funny; he was instantaneously contagious, like an STD.  If he was a bird, I was a bird.  Our parent’s always joked about us getting married someday and falling in love.  We laughed in the name of ridiculousness.

Basically, Drake was one of the only human beings who stuck with me during my difficult and awkward times, as a fugly gremlin who wore leggings with fireworks on them.  When I thought made up creatures called ‘Borrows’ were roaming the small islands in my backyard pond.  When I thought my pointy mosquito bites on my chest didn’t need a bra for support. When I thought I could be measured by hands.   And mostly because he was (oopsie poopsie) born into a family that was best friends with my own. The poor human being was tied down into a family that conveniently, loved spending time with one another. Our families vacationed many times together to the Florida coast, and, fortunately for me, we closely became great buds.  I would strap on my Jesus Exhilaration sandals and hit the beach by his side.  I had the knock-off shoe brand because purchasing Doc Martens would have put my small family on food stamps and welfare.

While in Marco Island, I daydreamed blissfully during family dinners at the resort, eating beachside hamburgers with provolone, and about running across the white beach together, my Jerusalem cruisers kicking back shells and happiness. Since I was not blind and deaf in the 90’s, I understood what these stompers were capable of.  I simply could not ignore the earthquake pounds I made when I walked in them, and the copious amount of leather used to make one shoe.  The sandals were an un-sexy, very durable shoe that should not have been worn unless I was scoping the side of an active volcano.

Needless to say, Drake did not go for my post elementary school appeal or my sweet kicks.  And I can only imagine why.  With my sandals, I was at least two feet taller than him.  I didn’t wear a bra in fear it would slice me in half or chaff my skin off, and my boobs were topping a generous C cup come 7th grade.  The fact I could have started my own business with those suckers single-handedly imitated him enough.  Not to mention he was probably afraid I would sit on his head in his sleep and suffocate him.

We drifted apart in our high school years.  He figured giving me the opportunity to grow out of my compulsive pop tart eating, sandal stomping, horse days would be for the best.  I gave him a break for that reason.  But I wasn’t heartbroken for long.  I had Kellogg’s to back me up for the long, dragging few winters without Drake.  I slowly started growing into my clunky knees, large rib cage, and my big head and when I was birthed into the college world, Drake came back into my life.  I figured it was because I had finally purchased a Victoria’s Secret Body bra, dyed my hair blonder, got contacts, and stopped running in circles as if I endured in some physiological horse identify theft.  He started visiting my roommates and I every weekend, storming into our apartment ready to party with an army backpack the size Kristi Alley’s badonkadonk.  I had to ask him a few times what he kept in there. I was afraid he was going to whip out my old Jerusalem cruisers and make me wear them.  Those days have come and gone, buddy.  And considering I was the clumsiest human being on the planet next to an intoxicated homeless person, I would end up on the floor anyway.  I needed to install that Life Alert system in my apartment.

Drake always came to our apartment for a weekend of mayhem mentally and physically prepared.  Our apartment was teeny, and I refused to let him sleep in my bed.  I absolutely hated sleeping with other people; best friends didn’t trump that exception.  My bed was full size, not small enough for one, not big enough for two.  Therefore, I vowed it was a perfect size for me to sleep diagonally, a position I slept best in.  Sleeping with a plus one would shatter the effective path for my rem sleep.   Drake couldn’t stand my selfish sleeping preference.  The diva in him would ignite and, like Mariah Carey, he demanded a fan blow in his face during various activities, especially sleeping.  Therefore, he somehow fit a fan in his massive Army backpack whenever he came over.  I’m sure he shoved his ego in there somewhere along with a life supply of Axe, Versace cologne, whey protein, and a bag of ice. Landon was my bro-nugget.  I loved him for everything he was and everything he wasn’t.

When I was twelve and I first met Drake, I felt my first twangs of keen attraction. He had nice smooth skin the color of how I liked my toast, and dark eyes the color of exotic clay.   I knew the attraction was there because being with Drake made me feel like I did when I paged through Teen Bop and landed on a picture of Leonardo DiSexiO. But a strange thing happened somewhere between almost having a heart attack at age twelve from too many cherry pop tarts with butter, and retiring my leather kicks. I figured the sugar content in pop tarts had been too high because my enthusiastic sexual attraction for Drake flew out of my radar the minute he went through puberty and started regularly storming into our apartment gripping a bottle of Jack Daniels and taking shits in my bathroom.  Suddenly, his skin was just normal boy skin and his eyes were the color of dirt and rain; nothing special to me anymore.  I was fine with the transition because it made me stop acting like a retard whenever I was around him.

In everything Drake wishes to accomplish in life, he wishes to accomplish it in the most over-the-top manner possible.  He drives a broango (i.e. Durango) and when I sit in the passenger’s seat, I have to physically remove a pile of bullets the size of my pointer finger so I don’t receive surprise butt sex.  The interior smells like Versace and cigarettes, and he proudly houses a toolbox in the trunk for various activities including: repairing large complex objects, getting chicks, and makeshift creating on-the-spot Halloween costumes.  In a sense, Drake is like a theatrical version of the American boy.  He prides himself on being over-the-top-patriotic, manly, athletic, hard-working, and pervasive.

In pop culture news, the worst thing that could have happened to Drake was the season premier of Jersey Shore.  For months following the event Drake could not have a normal conversation without sounding like DJ Pauly D with an accent on the verge of ‘Joy-zee’ and ‘Minne-soohtan’ especially after a few Jacks with gas station ice, “You goh-tah stay fresh tah death. You goh-tah.” Then he would dance and point at himself, “Fresh ha-oh-cut. Fresh tahn.  Just stay fresh. Britt. Stay fresh bish!”

For a while, Drake claimed he was half Italian, which didn’t make any sense because his father was 100% Native American and his mother had blonde hair and pearly white skin.  For a valid example of his on-going pride as a stand-up guido; one day, in a deep engagement with my roommates I like to call a conversation, we were discussing our family’s heritage.

“I’m half German, half British.  And sometimes, I pretend I’m Irish.” I noted with a sigh.  I always wanted to be Irish, mostly so I could wear ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ shirts and dance like a Leprechaun at public venues.

“I’m a mut,” my roommate Tara stated with a weird pleased look on her face. “Swedish. . .English. . . Irish. You name the legacy, I’m it.”

“I have a little French in me, German…” my other roommate lost track of what she was talking about and looked up into the ceiling for a moment of recognition.  Her name was Emily and she often tried to have conversations while reading Vogue, thus losing track of the point in a collage of fur and Dolce.

It was Drake’s turn to proudly voice his legacy for the class,

“I’m GUIDO,” he triumphantly announced as if he had just told us he was porking Megan Fox on the side.

Drake is the type of guy to admire a character in a sitcom, or an online celebrity, and compulsively quote them for months later.  Before the Guido obsession, he was the guy who prided himself on being in a band.  And after the Guido outbreak he began frequently referring to the general term working out as ‘beasting’ subsequent to discovering brolife.com. When he discovered this online website,  parallel to a texts from last night version for bros, he couldn’t stop saying, “That is chill” after every one of my stories.  This eventually began to annoy me because my stories deserved better recognition than gratitude from a colony of bros.  Whenever I yelled at Drake for not taking my story seriously and quoting BroLife, he called me an “in the closet feminist” and that usually shut me up.  While I love the power of women, my passion for feminism is equal to my passion for tipped over garbage cans, or people who end extensive stories with ‘to make a long story long’ and refer to themselves as (blank) years “young.”  Since I’ve been alive and Wikipedia has been invented, I haven’t met anyone who went backwards in time.

Often, Drake would spend entire days in our apartment with motivation skills equal to those of Paris Hilton. He would spend long periods of time getting core beauty sleep and complaining about how much light was coming into the room while I roamed around the apartment cooking butternut squash for the week and turning on the shower so I could finally have my morning duece.   My roommates would have long productive days staring at Wikipedia in the library and visiting their mothers off campus while I babysat my five year old.  I can only imagine what Kate Goslin has to deal with on a daily basis.

As much as I adored my broskie nugget, hanging out with Drake every weekend in a college atmosphere had its frequent downfalls.  And it usually had something to do with everyone thinking we were in relationship.  I can’t blame them; all Drake and I did was argue, punch each other, and storm off dramatically when we’re at a bar together.  What else would you expect out of a thriving relationship?  Besides owning a pair of mom pants, Drake was the biggest cock block I could ever wish for.

So one momentous evening, we decided to end the hysteria that was our mistaken relationship.  We weren’t doing anyone favors going to public places together and wearing an imaginary relationship placenta because everyone thought we were exclusively dating.  Besides vowing to never invite each other as potential wedding dates (because Drake was convinced he wouldn’t be able to pull a Wedding Crashers stunt with me by his side), we decided to call our prospect lovers and go on a double night out at the local college bar.  Little did we know, we were still including each other in our nightly activities, and that probably was not going to patch up our relationship issues.

The bar was located conveniently next to a McDonalds, we were in college town and it was ladies drink free night.  Basically, that was a win, win, and win for me.  We needed a student ID to get into the bar, so we were safe of creepers, Girl Scouts, and Politicians’.  We had it all figured out; Drake’s slutbucket was going to meet him and my recent man in shining clad Abercrombie armor was going to meet me.  Drake had been side-dating the girl for a few weeks, which was the longest relationship he had since a recent big break up.  He was really excited to see her again, and they hadn’t had sex yet – so I knew it meant something.  The entire night, I didn’t plan on making eye contact with Drake or listen to him talk as if he came out of the wome after soaking in meat ball sauce.  He wasn’t a Guido, and weren’t dating. That was something to celebrate. We were so excited, we ordered celebratory long islands.

“Cheers,” we rang in together and clanked our glasses, filled to the brim with potential missing dignity.

“You didn’t wear your Jerusalem cruisers,” Drake touted as he scanned the bar for some Italian dessert.  I wanted to bitch slap Landon.  I hated when he brought this up.  My Jesus sandals were equal to twenty pounds of fat I lost on Weight Watchers and re-gained.  Complete taboo.  I racked my brain for a low blow.

“Well that’s funny because you forgot to squeeze on your frilly pink skirt. Your drink of choice is actually something besides Bud Light for a change.” I fired back with a smug grin. Landon nearly choked on his straw for dramatic effect.

“Woah, Britt, don’t get cute with me.  I definitely don’t need lip from you, woman.”

“Rawr, you’re feisty.”  I said this to him without giving him eye contact.

“You love it, rawr.”

He waited for a few minutes as he was accompanied with my silence.  I scanned the bar myself.  Then he came back with a surefire, tail in between the legs comment, “Are we still fighting?  Because it’s really starting to make us look like an angry couple again…”

“Yep, until you Swifter Wet Jet my floors and buy me a bag of dark chocolate.  I want the ones with the inspirational messages inside.”  Drake had recently gotten sick all over my bathroom, and there was nothing I hated more than the word ‘moist’ bodily fluids spanning ground past the toilet, that associated themselves with it.

“Anything for you.  That is chill by the way.”

I rolled my eyes at him and scanned the horde of drunken college kids for my date.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really a date per say, but a hopeful ploy at being successfully single at best.  Both were already ten minutes late and I was starting to get restless.  What did a girl have to do these days to get a man to be on time?  I couldn’t do back flips, but I was about ready to pull some crazy Shawn Johnson shit to get my man to show up at a decent hour. Drake kept talking.

“Dude.  You missed out on a good night of what I like to call ‘Drake drunk’ last night.  I tried calling you. I honestly feel sorry for you not answering your phone because I am like a God amongst pagans’ when it comes to being drunk and getting hot older woman…Just sayinn.”

I wanted to tell him the reason I didn’t answer his phone call was because I was busy making out with the guy who was supposed to be here defining my life as an individual playing the field.  At this point in my life, I really loathed being single.  Even worse, I loathed when Drake was single; I wanted to convince him to stop picking up older groupies at his band events.  I wanted to ask him if he knew his way around a Toys R Us, because his MILF’s came with a package that started as a small fetus.  But in respect to Drake’s well maintained bro-go (ego in bro-speak) I wanted to play along. I chose to take my jaunt down a different path,

“You’re a stallion,” I noted to make him shut up for a second while I sent a text to the person who clearly did not understand how to tell time or catch me a break.  Great, looks like I was going to spend the night quoting ‘My Life is Bro’ with Drake.

Drake is not the complete douche he is beginning to sound like. As tough as it is to cover for a guy that thinks he is ‘The Situation’ and has a tool belt 10 feet in his radius at all times, I really do love the kid.  He has been with me through thick and thin, visors and horse-shirts. Leather sandals that could sink the Mayflower.  Although Drake has hooked up with 80% of my friends, I usually let that pass as good game.

Anyway, true to long island form, I was feeling that warm fuzzy love for life as I was already half way through my drink.  I was thoroughly annoyed at this point on account of my real date’s absence.  Every time I looked at the door, nothing but Gamma Delta McSlutty walked into the bar.  I decided to waste my time and intensely judge every single girl in the bar, a past time I’m convinced everybody endures in who is a functional human.  After self consciously deciding Uggs and leggings really don’t do it for people, Drake slammed his drink down on the bar and slid it towards the bartender.

“You know what, that Alicia’s a bitch for not coming.  You know that?” He articulated his words for me sans guido-speak, “A cold-hearted bitch.  I mean, who walks away from this?” He pursed his lips and flexed his arm. I wanted to barf all over him.

“Stop it, you look like a pervert.”

Drake sensed my heartbreak, “Brittany. Look at me. You are beautiful person, inside and out. You inspire little kids to be something.”

“Thank you. And thank you for making this situation creepier, for bringing small children into this.”

He tossed his head back, laughed, and waved the bartender over.  Our “dates” were about fifteen minutes late and my fingers were trembling to text my own.  Sending a text was casual and friendly, where would be the harm in that?  What if he had died? Or map-quested the wrong bar and now was stuck in a caldasac somewhere in the suburbs?  What if his great grandmother had fallen incredibly ill and he was at her bedside, holding her frail hand and singing gospel?  I had been watching too much Glee.

“Drain the island sister. C’mon, c’mon, c’mon. We’ll have another.” And with that, he shoved another long island into my perma-frown.  Sometimes, when I hung out with Drake, he treated me like one of his male counterparts.  And this included the drinking habits of one.  If I were to drink two long islands I would be a noodle on the floor.  I pushed it towards him as if he had just served me broccoli with melted velveeta cheese, the nastiest food combination put onto our God-given earth.   At this point, I wasn’t really in the mood to be doing any more drinking.  All I wanted to do was curl up with my laptop and watch Carrie Bradshaw write inspirational blurbs on her laptop, preferably while eating a Popsicle.  But, I knew Drake would rather have me jump off a cliff than “be the ultimate girl in her twenties lush” and the long island was staring at me pleadingly. The ice cubes inside were my favorite kind – the kind I could shove my straw into the little holes and pop them effortlessly into my mouth.  How many more years was I going to be able to handle this drink? As if on cue to the spinning wheels in my mind, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face started blaring from the speakers and I couldn’t resist.    Between techno and mixed drinks, I might as well drag myself out of the bar with an H&M scarf to hang me with. I looked up into the ceiling.  I’m blaming Lady Gaga for this.  Naturally, at the ripe age of twenty-one, mistakes were not my liability.

I took a lengthy sip of the drink and gulped fiercely, “Get it.” I sang into the smoky air.

“That’s the spirit kid! I want to see you sloppy for once. I never see you sloppy. By the way, don’t say ‘get it.’  That’s like the little bitch version of ‘get some.”  Drake always felt the need to argue with me about anything.  I enjoyed the brotherly competition, but I didn’t enjoy the fact he always thought he was right.

“That’s because you are always sloppier than me. And no, ‘get it’ is the feminine version of ‘get some.’  Gay men and women lay claim to the term.  Hence, I can say it.”

“Well whatever, I don’t agree with it.  But I’m a dude. Hence, I will continue to say the real deal – Get some.”

“I don’t like this game.” I said, pausing for a brain freeze.

Drake had already finished his second drink and I thought I was going to melt into a puddle one and a half deep.  I plucked a cherry from the bartender’s station and popped it into my mouth.  I loved taking cherries from the station at the bar.  It was a perfectly rebellious act for me.  When it came to anything naughty, I usually remained under the radar.  Stealing cherries gave me the perfect sense of personal mischievous satisfaction.

“Since when did this bar become such a giant dick-fest?” Drake yelled as he spat in my face, scanning the crowd for a future bedmate. I looked around myself and spotted a large cluster of girls having minimal conversation with each other in a corner.  They looked like that would rather be doing manual labor.

“Last time I checked, this bar housed lots of people without dicks,” I said, impressed by my own credibility. “Stop being a baby.”

“You know what really bothers me?” Drake randomly touted, looking into the crowd of chicks intently, pausing.

“What’s that?”

“Women who work out.  The next girl I see in my gym attempting to work out while ‘publicly reading’ I’m going to stab in the throat with my iPod nano.”

That seemed a little extreme for some innocent leisurely reading but I whole headedly agreed.  I couldn’t figure out why women would travel all the way to the gym, wrestle their sports bras in place, wait for a treadmill, and after all of that work out with the same enthusiasm I have when I put tights on for Church.  I played along.

“Was it one of those girls?” I gestured triumphantly towards the cluster of wet blankets in the corner. “Because it sure looks like their daily input in life is minimal,” I giggled, finishing my drink.  I was reaching that stage in evening alcohol consuming where I was feeling briefly invincible when nearly anything seemed possible.  Every single glitch in my personal doubts were eliminated, my singing voice was spanning talent past what it sounded like in the shower, and my fingers opened my text inbox.  I started daydreaming about how awesome a Snuggie pub-crawl would be.  I started keeping extended eye contact with male counterparts across the bar and I couldn’t keep my mouth from remaining softly agape.  Or, maybe I was mistaking my drunkenness with my inability to act properly in most social situations.  Either way, I was feeling loose.

Drake noticed my progress and bought me another drink; this one to my dismay, a gin and tonic.  I tried to convince him to buy me a ‘Sex on the Beach’ and he refused, claiming he would not be caught buying a drink his twelve-year-old little sister could consume through a sippy cup.  I admired his manliness for a weak moment and reluctantly took a drink of the nativity scene in a glass.

Suddenly, Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Me’ blared through the speakers.  I loved Justin Bieber; I guess I could say I was a belieber.  He wasn’t even a guilty pleasure of mine. I listened to him with pure acceptance.  I felt not an ounce of guilt when he came up randomly to poke fun at everybody’s lives.  Justin Bieber was more successful than the graduating male and female class of the entire Minnesota college population combined.  Most students just could not fathom Justin Bieber makes the payment of their entire college career with one tweet.  They were jealous.  I was past the jealousy.

After the first J-Beebs chord, the look on Drake’s face indicated he had seen a live gnome climb out from under my skirt.  “Jason Beber is such a homo.  Any thirteen year old attempting to rap about ‘love’ also needs to be stabbed in the jaw with an abrasive object….that’s real talk.”

“First of all ‘real talker’ it’s Justin Bieber. And second of all, you’re just jealous he could get laid in .2 seconds.”

“Pshh.” Drake batted the air with his man hand and almost slapped me upside the face, which was getting flushed from all of the gin. “Believe me that’s not it. I’ve been cutting through girls faster than Bieber cuts hair.”

I was deeply disappointed with Drake’s mediocre analogy; comparing his own sexual endeavors to Justin Bieber’s hairdressing abilities. Any well pop culture educated human being would understand Bieber’s ability to cut his own hair has nothing to do with Drake’s recent bang fest.

“What would your mother say?!” I asked him in agony.

“She would say, ‘at least you’re not a homo like that Jason Bieber kid.”

That is about when I decided I was setting up shop for operation ‘get drunk’ as Drake often likes to call it.  I was tired of listening to Drake rip on the Beebs.  My toes were warm and numb, and suddenly my stool was completely facing Drake, instead of the bar.  I found life easier to lean dramatically on my elbows, causing an outbreak of beer and water to seep all over my long sleeve shirt.  I had quickly passed the moments of invincibility into moments of complete drunken ignorance.  I now officially did not care about anything or anyone.  That equation included not caring about myself, how I was sitting, what I was going to consume later, when I was going to get home, and where I was going to sleep.

I was not the only one taking the tipsy highway.  I knew Drake was feeling his alcohol when he started invisibly sweating.   I say this because when Drake gets drunk, he looks like he ran a twenty-six-mile New York marathon.  He breathes harder, looks extremely winded, and leans on things like he’s been pumping iron for the entire evening.  The only thing about this state of his drunkenness is; he doesn’t sweat and he hadn’t shit his spandex five times over because he’d been too focused on the finish line to utilize a private urination facility.  On this note, I believe ever cyclist, marathon runner, and triathlon runner should have a potty break.  Like in pre-school, everyone needs a chance to hold hands and piss together. Drake utilized this time to really step it up and confess his late night plunders,

“I had a super duper weird dream about you last night,” he confessed.  A weird flush of hot air rushed through my core.  I found it peculiar and excused it as a gas bubble.

“Spill,” I said, leaning closer. I could smell his Versace. “It better not have been a sex dream, or a dream about Obama running shirtless across a beach.”

“It involved three county fairs, one rodeo, a Peruvian cock fight and lots of sex. No Obama.”

I put my hand under my chin and lifted my eyebrows, “If you’re serious, I hate you.”

Drake looked at me, slowly blinked, and took a labored breath.

I giggled wildly.  Oh my God, gin was worse than wine for the giggles!  Gin was like the WD40 of my funny bone,  “I’m jay kay, you’re cool! Thank God Obama was not included in the same sentence as Peruvian cock fight.  I would be scared.”  I stared into the limestone counter as Drake forgot was he was talking about and got up for the men’s room.  I watched him go and actually felt bad for myself for a moment.  I realized I was nearly sprawled out on the wet bar, compulsively eating bing cherries illegally, mixing alcohol, and shamelessly having gin-induced feelings for Drake. I excused the feelings as the need to pass gas and angry hot air because my date didn’t show. This was getting ridiculous. Sometime I would have weird feelings for Drake, which usually came around while I was drinking.  Therefore, I excused them on alcohol and the fact I had been single since high school.  Drake was a good looking guy; tan as a forgotten piece of toast, ripped as a Disney Hercules character, and sweet at a bing cherry.  Most of the time, I wished I could be physically attracted to the guy – but when those feelings came around I usually excused them for an upset stomach or a glitch in my personal period tracker.

“Something to drink?” the bartender’s voice interrupted my thoughts.  Thank God, I was starting to feel like I was encouraging incest.  Drake was my brother. Brother. Family.

“Vodka cran!” I basically screamed into the bartender’s face.  I wanted to make sure he heard me clearly.  I was having a hard enough time hearing myself.  I also wanted to yell to get the prying sexual thoughts about my best friend to leave promptly out of my ear and never come back.  When it came, I nursed that drink like the Fountain of Youth.  Like I needed it, I was acting like I was five again.  It would only be moments until I galloped like a wild mustang out of the bar.

Drake slide back into his stool a few drunken moments later, which obviously seemed like 3 nano seconds, and bumped into me. I tried not to realize we just touched and I started thinking of different ways I could avoid my drunken cravings.  I decided first they were going to be solved by consuming another bing cherry and then I tried to imagine something that really turned me off; like Al Gore in a wet suit.

“I saw an ad in the bathroom for the Minnesota Zoo,” Drake boasted as if he’d just pissed gold. “We’re’ gonna go.  And we’re going to visit the reptile building.  And also, we will have stare offs with lions behind thin Plexiglas.”

“Sounds rebellious. Let’s make the gorillas angry by making fun of them.  And we can feed the goats’ stinky-ass pellet food and have an intimate moment with the polar bears.  I’m excited.”  I was happy Drake had brought up something disgusting, like zoo animals, to get my mind off his forearms.

Drake seemed confused by the fact I had infused ‘intimacy’ in my polar bear comment but moved on, “I must say that is one helluva idea!” he said.  Drake was like Donald Trump or Tyra Banks in the way he likes to bask in the recognition of his own creative ideas. “If it wasn’t for me, we would never have planned this Britt!”

The next twenty minutes progressed in a make believe time span of five minutes.  I had completely forgotten about my absent date, and everyone else existing at the bar, including the bartender.  I was positive I wasn’t tipping generously on the account I was practically in Drake’s lap, and we were making up our own broems.  Those are bro poems, in case you were blissfully unaware.

“Roses are red, violets are blue….” I said, pushing his shoulder, “Except they’re PURPLE! HA!”  I basked in the ridiculousness of the mysterious color wheel and continued, “Roses are red, violets are re..blue. Juice heads got flow. If a guidette ain’t as tan as me. . .bro I’ve gotta go!”

I had just created a masterpiece.  I whipped out my iPhone to type it down and lost track of what I was doing when Drake started reciting his, with his arms in the air,

“I’m a bro. Because I’ve got flow.  I love my stick and girls love my dick. I get lots of hoes, because my life is bro.”

We screamed in each other’s faces at its brilliance.

“Great job bro-bot!” I saluted him.

“Don’t call me bro-bot ever again.”

“Oh sorry, I meant brah. Won’t happen again.” I was being ridiculous so I saluted him again, which was probably starting to offend the few people left in the bar.

“Make me a sandwich and we’ll be even.”

“Appreciate the sarcasm brothah.” I said.  Apparently I was the female version of Bernie Mac.

I knew it had to be about that time in the evening especially since the lights went up in the bar and everybody could see the frazzled look on my face, my rubbed off makeup from burying my head in my hands, and the red cherry stains on my teeth. Drake and I pointed at the biggest pile of bing cherry stems I had seen in my life.  We needed to leave quickly.  I was convinced the Bing Cherry Rent-A-Cops were going to roll in on their two-wheeled warriors.  I took a picture from my phone, giggled like a school child in heat, and showed the progress to Drake.  The strong cherry aftertaste in mouth indicated I either had the breath of a Candy Land character or had been the culprit for eating all of the cherries myself.

The last minutes of dim bar lighting gave Drake the opportunity to voice his deepest plunders to me, again.  I put a cherry stem into my mouth and tried to tie a knot with my tongue while he started to try and speak English.  I gave up briefly on the attempted knot binding in my mouth and decided that shit was for sluts only.

“Britt. I would date you.” Drake said. “If there were nobody left on this planet, I could date you.”

“You’re a dick. But I would date you too. If no one else existed on Planet Earth and if you could only get so lucky,” I let a ‘Grinch-grin’ spread across my lips.

“Don’t flatter yourself hunny,” he alleged.  However, he had clearly not made his point lucid enough, “No, I’m serious kid.  You’re great. You’re funny.  You’re a pretty girl…”

“This is real cute D-Rake.” I spit out the cherry stem, trying to hazily gaze the situation.  A bar tab of nearly $50 dollars really did not help.  Nevertheless, Drake’s kind attempt at softening me up sort of worked. Drake hung out with me when I sported visors and overalls on a daily basis, it was the least I could do to give him some friendly sugar. Here was my attempt:

“Sarcasm aborted for the time being, you are a good looking dude too Drake.  I wish I was physically attracted to you though. I do. We would be the perfect couple.  If only I could look at you and want that.”  I stirred my drink, full of melted skeletons of my favorite ice cubes.

“You’re a dick. But I can’t stay mad. I love you too Brittany Chaffee!”  He put his arms around my shoulders and gave me a dutch rub.  This gesture was so vigorous; it caused me intensive scalp pain.  I told him to dutch rub himself.

About fifteen minutes and a few brilliant bro poems later, the lights slowly went up in the bar and reality hit.  Reality in, ‘I-think-the-floor-is-moving’ form.  We wandered outside, punching each other in the arms and screaming, “Make me a sandwich BISH” every five seconds.  Sometimes Drake would ad a sexist joke in between the verbal abuse.  I can’t imagine the looks we were getting from innocent bystanders; especially since we were surrounded by twenty-somethings who seem to think they are never racist, a preen past perfection, and free of all anger issues.  But no one came up to save me, so I was left understanding the physical and verbal abuse was left momentarily unnoticed.

We fell into a taxi screaming and blaming each other for the reason we were both still single.  This often happened between the hours of 1:30 A.M. and 3:00 A.M. every weekend Drake and I were together.  I’m willing to believe Drake started this argument, because he said something about a girl eye raping him while I was in the bathroom and when I came out, she left looking disgusted.  As if she lost her V-card maintaining eye contact with him from across the room. It was his own fault he probably forgot about her the minute he looked into my hazel eyes.

“That was some seriously nice box, Britt. Do you understand you ruined my chance to play the battlefield?”

“STOP using the word box to refer to a women’s hoo-hah OK junior? Besides, I can play this game too! Do you think any dude is going to approach me while a Guido Hulk Hogan disrupts my personal space at the bar every five seconds?!?”

That’s when Drake thought it would be a good idea to get into my own personal space and try to sit on me,

“That’s it! Make me a sandwich with spam and peanut butter and jelly!” he screamed.

I started slapping his back to get him off. “That’s disgusting but I’m also very proud of you!  You’re so unique Drake!”  Drake and I always made fun of each other for trying to be “different” and “eccentric.”  We both did not enjoy the boastfulness of a hipster, or anyone who wanted to brag about their diversity.

I sincerely feel sorry for the person whom had to drive us home that night.  We were acting like we were thrown right back into Daddy Daycare, in that back seat.  Our attempt at “the silent treatment” was definitely the taxi driver’s favorite part of the night, maybe his entire life.  To torture us, he drove at an impeccably slow pace.  I convinced my inner drunk ego that this spiked our fare.  I almost said something, but Drake pulled me back and stared at me earnestly.

With what seemed like we were en route via The Oregon Trail (a long freaking trek), we finally made it to Drake’s apartment without sinking in a river or detecting malaria. Thank goodness because I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my family.  I was so thirsty; I thought I could spit out Target brand cotton balls (the driest of kinds).  While Drake was in his room “changing” I took it upon myself to drink so much water, I had to grab some Cottage Bread with butter to absorb the Hurricane Katrina in my stomach.  Half a loaf in, Landon came into the kitchen and chugged some Gatorade, or as he expertly put it,

“God’s nectar,” he said as if he was the Account Director at Gatorade’s advertising firm. “Brilliant.”

Next thing I knew, I was in his room making fun of his monstrous . . .fan.  It was the biggest and loudest operating machine that produced air, I’d ever seen, “Since when were you planning on attaching that to your back and self-launching yourself into outer space?? Were you ever going to tell me!?”

“I am a wild animal Britt. Sometimes you just have to set me free.”

And then a weird thing happened.

Drake was about to dutch rub me, but instead he softened his man grip on my shoulders to a modest clutch equal to the kindness of Oprah, or the Pope.  His face was freakishly close to mine.  The touch was welcoming and warm. I gulped as we starred at each other briefly for what I believe to be an equal proposal to the “eye sex” he had with Blonde Bimbo hours, or was that minutes, before.

Drake took that as an open invitation to kiss me.  The kiss was partially my fault as well, since my drunken magnetite towards his mouth didn’t help the fact we were planning on remaining as celibate friends. The extensiveness of the kiss went along with slightly opening our mouths for two movements. It lasted for the same amount of time used when I consider eating Brussels sprouts during family dinners, which was usually five seconds. However, it momentarily satisfied me ten times more than the aftertaste.  I had my eyes open, because I didn’t want to float away like the dog in Peter Pan or mistake Drake for anyone else besides himself.  It was a nice lively smooch; not spitty, cold or clammy.  The kiss was soft, tender, and sweet.  Near the end for about .3 seconds, I closed my eyes for it.  The feelings generated from the kiss reminded me of the feelings generated from fourth grade, when my teacher would have elaborate Halloween parties.  She would fill bowls with grapes, carrots, and noodles.  Then she would blindfold the kids and make us reach into the bowls without knowing what was inside.  It scared the shit out of me, but the anticipation up until the event was liberating.  I would touch the contents, squealing, and convinced in place of all that fruit were actually human eyeballs.  But once I pulled the blindfold off, I would be fronted with carrot stubs and green grapes; the ultimate buzzkill.  The same type of disappointment happened with Drake.

Because then, a not-so-weird thing happened; I pulled off the blindfold and was looking at Drake, my best friend.  I was staring at the carrot stubs and green grapes.  I wanted real eyeballs and guts. When we were finished putting our toes in the pool of possible friend-cest (incest amongst friends) we pulled away as roughly as you would undo Velcro.  Then we starred at each other. In unison, we both made a face equal to that of a face made by someone eating a lemon.  We shook our heads violently.

“Nope,” we sang in harmony and mutually agreed we felt as if we had molested our sibling. I went to the couch to pass out. The funny thing was; I only felt weird about the kiss for a few brief moments.  I touched my lips and immediately put layers of Neutrogena Apricot gloss on them.  It was about time I got that cherry taste out of my mouth.

Drake came from his room with a large stack of blankets in his arms a few moments later.  It reminded me of the scene from The O.C. where Benjamin McKenzie carried Mischa Barton out of a dark building in Mexico while she was in a crack induced stupor.  He threw them on me and then tucked me into the couch like a human Gordita Baja from Taco Bell.

I looked up at him,

“You’re my best friend.  Next to Tucker Max and Jesus, you are my BFF.” Drake fell into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. “Best friend that’s a bro.” I mouthed dramatically and fell into a deep, drunk and brief sleep.  He really was my best friend.  He made me feel sexy in an unconventional way, he made me feel wanted without needing to grab my ta-tas, and he was there whenever I wanted to vent, say terrible things about people, whine, and not be judged while doing it. If he did happen to judge me, he would tell it to my face and his honest opinion wouldn’t bother me at all, unless he referred to my Pikachu as a ‘box.’  Surely, my goodies attained more pleasure and had more cushion than any shipment from Fed Ex.

He was there when I was lonely.  He was there when I wanted to drink wine and let a few weird, feelings for him run through my veins.  He was there when I excused them as gas bubbles.  He was there when I wished they weren’t.  Most importantly, I was there for him whenever he was being an asshole.  Wanting to be needed and feeling needed go hand and hand.

Never mix drunken feelings with authentic sobering feelings.  On a clear-headed, sober basis I don’t receive intense cravings to drive to McDonalds and consume copious amounts of fake meat and an apple pie.  Therefore, it is not any different when I’m hanging out with my best friend and I want to plant a big one on his lips.  Drake would be McDonald’s in this situation.

Drake and I aren’t dating and we’ve known each other for over a decade.  Friend’s lasted for ten seasons, and I think that counts for a decade in sitcom years.  Rachel dated pretty much everyone on that show.  If Drake and I were meant to be, we would be dating by now.  I would be Rachel in this situation.

Sometimes, under desperate circumstances, I needed to be OK with being an independent woman more than just when I listen to Destiny’s Child ‘Independent Woman Part II’ on my iPod.  If I found a slight craving to throw a public orgasm in a café shop, or run into Drake’s arms during a New Years Eve party, I needed to get in touch with reality instead of worshiping the Hollywood sign, non-proportional love stories, and scriptwriter dreams.  I would not be Meg Ryan in this situation.

To this day, I still believe Drake and I could not endure a relationship above our current ‘best friend’ status. I blame that on the thick placenta like sock our sexual chemistry was being suffocated by.    Unfortunately for Drake and I, life wasn’t a ‘When Harry Met Sally’ movie reel.  Sally and Harry really had an interesting thing happen to them, which I do not quite understanding falling parallel with my relationship and my best friend.  The only thing I had in common with Sally’s life was that she was a journalist and she claimed men and women could strictly be friends without sex.  While on the flip side, Harry believed men and woman could never be ‘just friends’ because sex was always an issue.  Well Harry, you’re on crack.

And not the good kind.

Drake would not be Harry in this situation.

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Author:bechaffee

University of Saint Thomas graduate. Minnesota-bred and happy to talk about the weather any time you’d like! Strongly believes any situation can be bettered by a slice of generously buttered toast or Phil Dunphy. Would get arrested to touch Justin Timberlake’s face. Always trying to be a better person by not wishing horrible karma on people driving slow in the fast lane. Hear more: @twitter @instagram

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