Chapter 11: The Commitment-Phobic Karaoke Guy
This was probably my best date ever in the history of dates. I Matched with a guy who LOVED karaoke, and I am a huge karaoke nerd. “What I lack in substance, I make up for in style.” Lynne Stone, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Seriously though, karaoke isn’t about who has the best voice, though not being tone deaf definitely helps. People get up there, ready to belt out their favorite ballad that has a special meaning to them. But if they aren’t the next American Idol, they should really choose a song the audience loves and can sing, too. Then it doesn’t matter if you’re not Adele or Gaga because neither is the audience, but they’ll sing their loud, drunk, heads off and have a great time.
The Commitment-Phobic Karaoke Guy told me he was meeting some friends for karaoke on a Friday night and invited me to join in. “The guys won’t be upset I’m crashing?” He said no one would be upset; just come on.
When I walked into the place, I saw the guy at a table full of women, like a harem, and I was confused. He walked up and introduced himself, and promptly informed me he was in therapy for his commitment issues. Which, I suppose, is great to know right off the bat. It saves a lot of time. He introduced me to his friends who I’d assumed when we talked were “the guys” but they were very much “the girls.” I sat down amongst the ladies, not sure if we were all on a big date, like on the Bachelor. I mean, I know it’s tough to find good people out there nowadays, but I didn’t sign up to compete for one. I guess he could have also been into that sister wife situation, which sounds nice in theory. Sharing the kid and house duties and having your girlfriends around all the time would be fun, like a grown-up sorority. But the sharing-the-guy part is not for me.
I made polite conversation with my sister wives, and I learned pretty quickly that this chick named Andrea was also attracted to bad boys with tattoos (a holdover from The One Who Broke My Heart), so we started sharing our crazy dating stories. She was a widow, which sucks at any age, but losing your husband to cancer when you’re 30-something and still have two boys to raise alone really sucks. I told her all about The Puking Guy because that had literally just happened. And we laughed a lot. After I sang my obligatory song (Sweet Caroline), we decided to head to another bar and laughed some more until last call. We snapped a selfie and sent it to our mutual friend with the caption “Cheers to new friends!”
That was seven years ago, and we’re just the best of friends. I got her to come work with me at my last job, and we both left that one for our current one where we office together. She did meet the man of her dreams later that year and they’ve been happily married for five. She’s my ride-or-die, and she really does ride motorcycles with her hubby, so that term really does fit. But she’s someone I know will stand by me through whatever, whenever. No ask is too big, or badly timed. And I’ve definitely asked for help over the years. Sometimes in the form of advice, a night out, a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes she lends me her hubby for car repairs. But she’s always there, and that’s the ride-or-die part. She loves me without limitation or condition, and I know she always will.
Which is why this date was the best date of all the dates I’ve ever gone on. It gave me the sister I never had.
We are both still friends with the Commitment Phobic Karaoke Guy, and over the last seven years, we’ve all spent a lot of time together. Not as much recently because, as luck would have it, his Commitment Phobia wore off when he met the right girl. He’s been dating a really fun girl for the last several years, and they go on all sorts of adventures together. And he still sings plenty of karaoke.
The old adage that everything happens for a reason applies here. If not for the Puking Guy ending our relationship a couple nights before, I wouldn’t have accepted the date with the Commitment Phobic Karaoke Guy, and I might never have met my sister. And I don’t know what I’d have done all these years without her. I’d have three fewer tattoos than I do today. Yes, we’re those kinds of friends, with adorable matching tattoos.
So, what I learned from this date is that sometimes the relationships you need aren’t romantic ones at all. Sometimes a date can change your life, but in a completely different way than you planned. And sometimes even the most commitment phobic among us find their other half.