I sat on my sofa this past Saturday night trying to keep my dinner down as I watched a preview of something called "Real Housewives of New Jersey." I never thought the series could get more tactless and nauseating than some of its other incarnations, but the Sopranos wannabes featured in this version of the show actually made the "Real Housewives of NYC" seem likable. Less than five minutes into the show, when one of the housewives referred to her muscle headed, no-neck having gumbah of a husband as "gaw-jis," bile started to rise through my esophagus into my mouth, and I reached for the remote. Before I could turn the channel, my phone rang. It was my friend "H." "H" only calls to invite me out. He's not one for bullshitting on the phone, and I knew if I picked up, I'd have to leave my apartment. He doesn't take no for answer when he wants me to come out with him, so I hesitated before I answered. I quickly weighed my options - sit home searching for something less repugnant to watch than a group of over-privileged, under-educated, unattractive women, or leave the house and maybe meet one in person. The choice was difficult, but I hadn't left the apartment all day, so I opted to answer the phone if only to get some fresh air.
Within forty-five minutes, I found myself at some bar/lounge with "H." He knew some of the people there and introduced me to a woman with whom I wound up speaking for about an hour. She was kind of cute and kind of interesting, so when I felt like it was time to go home, I asked her for her number.
"Why don't you friend me on Facebook?" she said in response to my request.
Feeling like I'd just wasted an hour of my life chatting up this chick, I put my coat on, got up, and said, "Yeah, sure. Well, it was nice meeting you."
"Wait," she said. "You don't know my last name. How are you gonna friend me?"
"I'll get it from 'H'," I said.
"I'll give it to you now," she responded, as she jotted her name on a napkin. "Here you go," she continued, handing the napkin to me.
"You know, you could just have easily written down your number," I said.
"Yeah, I just think it's easier this way," she said.
"How so?" I inquired oh so curiously.
"I don't know. It just is," she said.
It just is, I thought to myself. Now that's logic with which I simply can't argue. I no longer wanted her number, nor did I want to be one of her 900 Facebook friends who would be informed when she became a fan of Chunky Peanut Butter. I wondered if "Facebook friending" is the new fake phone number, or the 2009 version of "I have a boyfriend." Or have we regressed so much socially that we can no longer relate to one another in person or on the phone? Do we only feel comfortable writing on each other's walls?
I threw the napkin into a trash can on the corner on my way home. Maybe one of those guys who collects cans will find it and friend her on Facebook. Perhaps he'll manage to get her number after commenting on her status and they can live happily ever after searching the city together for discarded empties.
Next time "H" calls, I'm sending him to voicemail and changing the channel.