I had plans to go to a race Saturday night with my married couple friends and their three awesome kids who I adore… the 4-year old loves cars and I love the 4-year old… it would only be natural for me to tag along.
I was excited to get to spend time with the fam until Friday night when Guy Friend informed me that it was crucial to his career that I was his +1 for this dinner… Right.
Guy Friend is a military officer and the dinner was going to be pretty casual, hosted by the Commanding Officer (CO) at his [baller] house for the officers in the unit… essentially this is everyone that Guy Friend has to call ‘sir’ (read: very very high up/important people). Guy Friend had asked me a few weeks back and I had agreed to go, however when he informed me of the date and time of said dinner 21 hours prior, I was less than thrilled. Clearly we have communication issues here – my response to him was “I’m sorry but you can’t just throw this at me. Friends can be +1’s, but it cannot be expected of them at the last minute. Girlfriends are required to be +1’s and drop everything to do so, regardless of faulty communication. I am not your girlfriend… I already have plans, you don’t actually need to take a +1 and you’re SOL on this one.”
Sidenote: I know that may sound a little harsh, but he doesn’t want to date me so I’ve had to be very clear in defining friend/girlfriend boundaries.
Then he told me what was really going on with this dinner.
For the past few weeks, the officers had spent many a night in the Officers-Only-Room (official name) taking bets on who was going to bring a +1 between him and the other single officer (OSO) … here we have some of the most brilliant minds in the military together in one room and they sit around the conference table making bets on the other guys’ +1’s?? I guess that’s what happens after 54 days together in a windowless room having no contact with the outside world.
Guy Friend is fluent in sarcasm and every time the topic was addressed, he had a different story for the +1 he was bringing to the dinner… a stripper that he has become very fond of, a girl from the local high school, Officer So-and-So’s mom, Officer Such and Such’s wife, etc. etc. etc. OSO couldn’t keep up with the jokes and finally folded three days before the dinner and told everyone that he
couldn’t find didn’t have a date. What did Guy Friend do??? Continued the joke and then begged me to go on the side. I did remember him asking me and also didn’t have it in me to let him lose the bet, so I cancelled plans with married friends and picked out a cute outfit. He owes me big time.
When we showed up to the CO’s house, it was way more awkward than I expected if you can believe that. I WAS THE ONLY FEMALE THERE THAT DID NOT HAVE A RING ON IT. These +1’s were real-live significant others… I wasn’t even a girlfriend, much less a wife… wtf, Guy Friend?? For the rest of the evening I referred to myself as the insignificant other. Game on.
I played it cool for the first hour or so… did the meet in greet, firm handshake, small talk, smiles, laughter, beer… I was making a good impression and I guess that’s what most people aspire to. Not me, I want to make a memorable impression. It was all too easy when the most awkward person on the face of the planet, one of the other officers (who is married), came up to me and started using his interrogation skills by asking me questions with a [not so] hidden agenda: find out if I am a stripper.
Awkward Officer: So what’s your name?
AO: Nice to meet you. How long have you known Guy Friend?
Me: Ohhhh I’d say about two years
AO: Do you live here?
Me: Yup – I just moved here recently (am I actually being interrogated here??)
AO (to Guy Friend… who was directly next to me): So it looks like you won… the uhhh.. ummm.. ……. ………. (he was trying to think of another word for bet)
Me: The bet?
Being in a room with highly trained, top-secret military personnel there is no way that any conversation is going unheard, much less unnoticed. The side conversations on the patio continued, but in a softer manner and by the wives while all eyes of the high ranking officers were darting around the patio between each other and at me.
Guy Friend: Really AO?? She’s standing right here… she can hear you.
Me (to AO): Don’t worry about it… Guy Friend told me about the whole thing and no, I am not a stripper.
AO: Oh. uhhh… well, it’s really nice to meet you. So what do you do?
Me: I’m a senior in high school… I’m going to graduate this year and then I don’t know what but I’m totally excited 🙂 🙂 🙂
Poor AO could not pick his jaw up off the floor; his reaction was so priceless I couldn’t even keep it going. I smacked his arm and informed him that yes, I am friends with Guy Friend, no we are not together, and I work in finance. AO laughed along with me and Guy Friend, but I don’t think he was able to actually conclude that I wasn’t in hs. There were a few masked grins across the patio, but when I made eye contact with them, they pretended they hadn’t been listening. Moving on.
Unfortunate for Guy Friend, I was getting more and more comfortable in the environment he
invited subjected me to and the CO and his wife decided to sit next to us at dinner (shocker!). The four of us carried on small talk and somehow I managed to work into our table conversation that Guy Friend loves Adele and sings at the top of his lungs whenever he’s driving (true story), along with a few other socially appropriate embarrassing fun facts about Guy Friend. I was kicked [repeatedly] under the table and I maintained the smile on my face and kicked back.
I started really enjoying joking around with the other hoity toity officers as we cycled through conversations and could tell they were liking me more and more. I got cornered by four of them who had yet to go through identifying my occupation, so after hours of ‘playing it cool’ I finally lost composure and when they asked me if Guy Friend and I were together, I blurted out “Oh no, definitely not. I’m just here as a favor.” Whoops. That definitely came across really rude. And I just yelled it.
Shocked at what I had just
said yelled, every guy in the room died laughing and started making fun of Guy Friend. Hot seat much? I literally slapped my hand over my mouth 1: out of utter and complete shock from what I had just said and 2: to physically restrain myself from saying anything else that would sabotage Guy Friend’s career.
Later in the evening CO’s wife, who is the sweetest mama bear type ever that gets herself in everyone’s business, came and sat next to me. She put one arm around me and her other in my lap squeezing my knee and said “You know babydoll, Guy Friend is such a great guy…. he’s a keeper, you should really hang on to him.” Her mama bear charm worked instantly on me and I couldn’t help but spill “I would love to date him, he’s the one that won’t date me!!” Really, self????? Thankfully she was shocked, and not-so-thankfully she proceeded to spend the rest of the evening not-so-subtly telling Guy Friend to put a ring on it… whooooaaaa slow down Mama Bear.
As we left the dinner party, every single one of the officers made a point to tell me how nice it was to meet me and how glad they were that I came with Guy Friend. I recognize that this is a normal response in social situations, however there was a tone behind it that was unmistakably slapping Guy Friend in the face. At the same token, a number of the officer’s wives hugged me and assured me that they would be seeing me again… staring down Guy Friend as they said it. Clearly they have not been through intensive special ops training.
I’m going to go ahead and call it a win… I’ll be curious to hear how the next officers meeting goes… best of luck, Guy Friend! 😉