The Fifth Wheel


Last weekend I was dragged out by Angelica, her fiance Joe, Christie and her soon to be ex boyfriend, let’s call him Paul… 2 couples in love and a little drunk, all set for a cold but shenanigan filled night on the town. Oh, and me. So you can imagine just how excited I was as the no longer single but still fabulous third, well make that fifth wheel in a mele of drunk, loud, affectionate couples holding hands while I held on to my new Coach purse, walking down the street either in front of or behind the 2 happy couples.

No worries, I thought to myself, as I tried in vain to convince myself that as soon as we got to the bar things would magically get better, the awkwardness would subside to reveal glimpss of the good old times Angelica, Christie and I had before we went our separate ways. I mean, that’s what the weekend was about, right? Angelica had made the trip and now that she was here she was planning on making good all the promises we made each other on an epic night out, Summer of Fun style. Not to say that she didn’t; oh no. I saw her every day and enjoyed every minute I spent with her but man oh man, when we got to the bar, holy hell was it ever awkward for yours truly.

Apparently I didn’t get the memo, but I guess the once dominant singles to couples ratio normally found at the bar has switched, and with the exception of other socially akward people, the majority of the crowd out last night was plus one. And boy did I ever feel like a zero. I mean, seriously: If I was a single girl again in this situation I think I would have lost my mind. Since when did coupled people collectively decide to take over the single scene, leaving the stragglers to either pair up out of desperation or boredom, or as I did for the majority of the night, stand around saying nothing and having nothing said to me save for the scraps of conversations the couples managed to throw my way.

Please imagine how much fun I was having.

But here’s the thing; I’m no longer single, so even playing my usual game of ‘how many numbers can I get in one night’ was completely out of the question, which left me with the only option of standing around waiting until the couples got tired and hungry and wanted to leave. (Did I mention that everyone was crashing at my apartment and I had the only key? Yeah. Otherwise I would have gone home, slipped away unnoticed until the next morning at our greasy spoon breakfast place).

I had written before about my intense dislike of needing a boyfriend in order to hang out with my girlfriends during my single summer, but now that I’ve found myself in a relationship I thought I had fulfilled the requirements to avoid any and all couple-y awkward social events. I guess with Corporate not here we’ve put ourselves in this grey area of having a significant other without having a significant other – especially when we need or want them around. I ended up text-messaging with him until close to 3:00 in the morning, my pathetic attempt to experience the sensation of everything and anything falling away to the sound (or in my case, image) of your lovers voice.

On the one hand I completely understand where Angelica and Joe are coming from. They too are long-distant lovers who hardly get to see each other, let alone do the usual couple stuff together. And Christie and Paul? Well, let’s just say their relationship is special. And yeah, when couples go out together it really is only a matter of time until they lose interest in any other person than the one they are going home with. And that’s lovely…if you’re a part of a couple.

But on the other hand, knowing that this will inevitably, eventually, and always happen – why invite or drag or nest at a single or separated friend out when clearly she’s that one thing that’s not like the others; one of these things that’s not quite the same. Even in my familiar territory of single and fabulous I felt not quite the same – to be perfectly honest, I felt useless, like a vintage accessory that’s just gone out of style. And considering that I just got a boyfriend, that’s pretty lame. I can’t help but wonder in the cold and sober morning if this is my new coupled future – reveling in the grey area of taken but single, flying solo while surrounded by pairs. Because seriously, that future sucks.

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~ by Carrie on March 20, 2007.

3 Responses to “The Fifth Wheel”

  1. I suppose the tricky part is feeling like you are with someone while it looks to everyone else you are alone. I wish you the best. Good for you for staying out though, and attempting to make the best out of the situation!

  2. i have to know, where do you get the cute cartoon-esque pictures? i remember i used to see them in glamour or cosmo and loved them there.
    being the 5th wheel can suck. hang in there…

  3. brookem: They are by Jordi Labanda – and thanks!

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