She Punched Him in the Face

Guys and Gals Can Be, ‘Just Friends.’ Even if We Don’t Think So.

Photo Credit: Amberleigh Storms

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. For real, they’re innocent. I believe this story to be true because I’m a part of it. I’m not important enough to be portrayed as a round character but my role has been far from flat.

This is the story of Brian and Susan. They’re the best of friends. I’m not one for stereotypes but if I were, Brian and Susann would fit the closest male and female description.

Susan is bubbly, overwhelming and dramatic. She’s beautiful. I’d say above average. She has an on again- off again boyfriend. We’ll refer to him as, Boyfriend.

Brian is the passive, monotone, mumbling type with hipster like boyish looks. He’s in a long term relationship. We’ll refer to his girlfriend as, Girlfriend.

Brian and Susan's story begins with traveling escapades, late night slumbering and hunkering down with snacks and face painting during tornado season. They were inseparable. They went everywhere together, did everything together and while doing so fought like a geriatric married couple.

They were the perfect definition of best friends. They were constantly on one another’s nerves. They were the first person they spoke to every day and the last person they said good night to.

I took a photo of them the day of a special event. Susan was wearing an evening dress, hair primped and curled, makeup perfect to the tee. Brian was dressed in a suit and tie. His hair swept from his face. They stood arm in arm. Susan nagging him to loosen up through her teeth as she fake smiled directly at the camera lens. Her head and hand on his chest. Brian was looking off into outer space wearing hardly a grin.

This photograph is hanging on my fridge.

I think as a society we’re convinced guys and gals can’t be friends without it becoming an intimate thing. Why is that? When we set expectations there’s no room to believe or view it differently.

Susan’s boyfriend was somewhat of a douche, in my opinion. She has a thing for guys like that. They’d been together for a while, sort of. He would break up with her, treat her badly and be with other chicks. She’d always go back to him, regardless.

Brian would try to talk sense into her. We all did but it didn’t change a thing so instead we were just supportive of her. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen until she finally snapped and dumped his ass. We were all so proud. She’s been dating since but nothing serious.

During this time Brian got involved with his girlfriend. Nice enough girl, cute, funny, intelligent. At first she was all cool with Susan.

I mean, why wouldn’t she be? I kind of feel like Brian and Susan would’ve gotten together by now if that’s the way it were going to go down.

Uh, but time went by and things changed. Brian’s girlfriend was no longer cool with his friendship with Susan. It had become a regular topic of argument. Even I tried talking to his girlfriend.

“She’s crossing my boundaries,” and a whole bunch of other stuff she said.

Not to be dismissive of her feelings but the idea of Brian and Susan, really tho? I just don’t see it. If their dynamics were the same in a relationship as they are as best friends they wouldn’t survive for a minute.

We all have that friend, don’t we? The one similar to attempting to place a square peg into a round hole? You guys just don’t click but yet they’ve been a better friend to you than everyone else you ever knew and within the oddness and differences create lifelong memories.

Then it happened. It sounds selfish on my part but whatever. I’m making it about me. I was devastated. Brian told Susan he wasn’t her friend anymore. Done, finished, it’s over. Gasp.

“WTF?!” I demanded an explanation.

“Girlfriend and I just thought it was for the best,” Brian said to me.

Our gang was sad and disappointed, and as the weeks passed Susan slowly faded into our background. I gave Brian shit about it as often as possible. He wasn’t caving though. He was dead set, convinced being friends with her was the wrong thing to do. He loves his girlfriend and her feelings and what she wants comes first.

Okay, for the record. I commend him for being considerate of her and doing what he felt was the right thing to do to work things out. On the other side of it, Susan was unfairly given the shaft. It’s unacceptable to treat one person poorly for the sake of another.

Isn’t there some sort of code, like bro’s before ho’s? I’m in no way implying that Susan is merely a bro or Brian’s girlfriend is in any way a ho. It’s just that, when it comes to relationships, and people and being human chances are one will be around a lot longer than the other, you know? I think there’s understanding in what I’m saying.

The rest of us weren’t going to stop spending time with Susan. She’s our friend, too. She’s part of the gang. It was sinking deep into awkward, tho. They acted as if the other didn’t exist while we were all in the same room.

How long could this possibly go on for? Best friends are best friends and this was ridiculous.

One day I saw Brian and his face was swollen and bruised.

“What happened to your face?” I asked.

“I let Susan punch me in the face three times because I missed her,” he said. “I had to fix it.”

It was true. During his plea for forgiveness he’d told Susan to punch him in the face. Then they hugged, cried and went to Taco Bell.

“You should be grateful she’s still willing to be your friend, bro. The way that all went down wasn’t cool. “

“I know. I know,” he said.

Since then life has gotten back to normal. The world sits tilted on its axis again now that Brian and Susan have reunited as best friends. It was just this morning I thought to myself, Holy shit, I wish these two would stop squabbling.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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