Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Olive Branches, Rough Sex & the Lord's Prayer

My friend Ben likes to meet new people. He also informed me last night on the train that he hates small talk, which I think is something to which most of us can relate. When we go out in public and we've had a little something to drink, it's almost a guarantee that he'll be chatting up our neighbors. He's an incredibly deft conversationalist, using wit and sarcasm to break down barriers. Sometimes this goes over well, as with a group of Spanish girls we met last night at a bar called "Floss", whom he engaged in a process of creating a secret handshake. (Despite my best efforts, I couldn't show off my Spanish skills with the Lord's Prayer...looks like that one's only good in mass.) He was eventually asked to take a photograph of the group, a favor which I'm likening to officiating an intimate wedding ceremony. So pretty much he's their new best friend. Sometimes he says things that make me a little uncomfortable, though, as when he shared with the snobby-looking Danish girls at the table next to us that I had learned the word for "rough sex" in Danish. It's true that I had, but as far as diplomatic gestures go, this was the linguistic equivalent, maybe, of planting a zerbit on their necks, farting and running away screaming. They laughed heartily enough and I could see how Ben offered himself gladly (he never really wanted to say "rough sex" correctly) as the misanthropic jester of the table. Our friends squirm a little when things like this happen. I was feeling bad about it this morning, but then I realized how necessary our visible discomfort is to the success of his conversational missions. We're the foil to his outgoingness, a legitimizing force that says, "Hey, he's not a creep he's our friend." And I'm really glad he's our friend.

1 comment:

dbow said...