Friendships Frozen In Time and Penis Piercings
A best friend is the final brick atop the pyramid of friendship. Below that there are many sub-sections of friendships that eventually trickle down to the base level of friendship, acquaintances — people you know and may have hung out with on a few occasions, but you don’t really know each other that well and are only brought together through other friends. Somewhere in between Best Friends and Acquaintances — probably closer to Acquaintances — is the level in which you have a semi-close relationship with someone, but that closeness is predicated upon one shared experience and no others, which, whenever you’re around this person, leads to conversation about and only about that one thing. There is no other common ground; just that one thing.
About 4 or 5 years ago, a friend of mine got in to the rhythm of throwing massive parties at his place once every couple of months. Every sub-category of friendship would show up, from Best Friends (with whom I hang out with the most during the parties) to Acquaintances (with whom I would talk to for a minute or two before trying to escape back to my Best Friends) to the mid-level of friend I mentioned above; the guy that I knew well, but not well enough to consider a close friend.
During one such party, this mid-level friend bounced from one section of friends to another because everyone on all levels was fascinated by this mid-level friend’s newest body modification: a dick piercing. One more than one occasion, this friend was whisked away to a bathroom by small groups of two or three men and women and he gladly presented his glimmering dick to whoever asked to see it. I had never seen a pierced dick in person before, and I had no dieaser to make this a night of creepy firsts.
As stories like this tend to go, I got monumentally drunk; so drunk that I had reached that level of inebriated that I began blacking out randomly during the night. I’ve never been a big drinker, so this was new to me. Huge chunks of time would disappear and I would regain awareness in the middle of a conversation with someone that didn’t even register anywhere on my pyramid of friendship, not knowing how I ended up in the back yard talking to this person when the last thing I remember was being in the living room talking to that person. It was strange and off-putting.
The night rolled on, I probably threw-up at some point, and I probably made some very bad first impressions upon people that will never put me on their pyramids.
About two to three weeks later, I’m at home, searching through the pictures on my cell phone – an LG clamshell with a terrible, grainy 2-megapixel camera. I see a picture of my mom, a couple of shots of my cats, some random pictures of unimportant things that I was too lazy to delete, and… hey, what’s this? Who’s dick is this? Is that…is that a metal rod spiked through a man’s rod?! Why do I have a picture of a man’s pierced penis on my phone?
In that moment I recalled this mid-level friend telling me about his dick piercing. Having no recollection of seeing the penis, I quickly checked my own penis, hoping I would not find a satellite antenna sticking out of it. I was relieved to discover that my penis lacked the capability to pick up Ham radio transmissions.
I then tried to mentally retrace my drunken steps through the party that I was now a few weeks removed from. I already had a hazy memory of the events of the night, but now, with the passage of time, the events were vaguer. I remembered talking to this mid-level friend about his pierced junk, and I remember being offered to take a look at it. I’m pretty sure I declined…but then why do I have a picture of it on my phone?
The mystery of the spontaneous dick pic troubled me all day. I couldn’t figure it out. At what point did I see it?
After much thought, I finally recalled one particularly foggy moment in the night in which this mid-level friend asked to look at my phone. I still had an old clam shell phone while this friend had a fancy touchscreen smart phone. So even in that moment during the party, while very drunk, I was aware enough to wonder why he would want to closely examine my out-of-date phone. It would be like owning a Lamborghini while asking to take a Ford Fiesta for a test drive.
I remembered that sometime later in the night this mid-level, dick-pierced friend handed my phone back to me. I have no clue how much time passed from the moment I handed it to him to the moment I got it back, but I distinctly remember handing it to him while in the kitchen and getting it back while in the living room. Both of those rooms were separated by a single wall, so the two events could have been separated by seconds, minutes, or even hours, for all I knew.
Another week or two passes and I still don’t have a clear answer as to why I have a picture of my mid-level friend’s pierced dick on my phone, and I’m still not 100% sure how it got there.
Then, one Saturday night, my Best Friends and this Mid-Level friend meet up at the local AMC to catch a movie. The Mid-Level friend and I never have much to talk about because we don’t know each other very well…but I had his dick on my phone, so I finally had something to discuss with him.
“Hey, I’ve got a picture of your dick on my phone” I say.
“Really?” the Mid-Level friend replies. “That was, like, a month ago. Why do you still have it?”
I had no answer to that. Well, I did, but trying to explain to another human that you’re trying to solve a mystery and a picture of a flaccid, pierced dick is your only key piece of evidence makes for a difficult conversation.
The Mid-Level friend didn’t remember whisking me away to take a peek at his dick, and he didn’t remember using my phone to slyly sneak a picture of it on to the phone. I was back at square one, and that’s where I’ve been since. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’ll never find out how the picture got on my phone, but in thinking about it and in examining my friendship with this Mid-Level friend, I’ve come to realize something: the picture of this guy’s pierced dick is the only thing he and I have in common.
With Best Friends, conversations are wide open and can begin and end anywhere. With Acquaintances, conversations are also wide open, but there are certain touchy subjects you tend to avoid with someone you barely know, like politics, sex, and the like. But Mid-Level friends are different. With Mid-Level friends, you tend to only discuss those few moments you’ve shared; they’re your only reference points with each other. Your friendship with this person was frozen in time and stopped expanding, stopped flourishing, at a single moment, or a handful of moments. Hanging out with Mid-Level friends can be hard because you don’t know each other well enough to instantly understand how to jump head first in to a conversation. So, with Mid-Level friends, we, or maybe I should just limit it to I, tend to talk only about that frozen moment in time, as if we were two retired warriors looking back at a truly glorious battle we barely survived, arguably our finest moment. This Mid-Level friend and I, we don’t talk about battle; we talk about his dick piercing. That frozen moment in time usually begins and ends all conversation with this friend. It’s like slowly realizing you’re the main character in a sci-fi movie and you’ve been living the same moment over and over again for who knows how long.
After we’ve exhausted that subject (which usually happens quickly), we’re left with awkward silence and silent prayers, hoping one of our shared Best Friends swoops in and engages the group in conversation; reuniting the fractured, independent conversations happening in the group.
To this day, whenever I run in to this Mid-Level friend (who no longer sports a dick piercing), the very first thing he says to me is, “Still got that picture of my dick on your phone?”. I always reply with an amused chuckle and a polite no. After that, he makes his way in to conversation with someone else because after talking about his dick for a grand total of 3 ½ seconds, we’ve reached the limit of our friendship.
So, to put it succinctly, I have a friend, and all this friend and I ever talk about is his dick.