Serial Dater: Friends First

by: Adam Guerino

As I’m beginning to consider dating, I’m considering the sources for potential suitors. Where do people find dates nowadays? Should I read smart books at swanky coffee shops and hope some handsome guy will start up a conversation? “Oh, is that Nietzsche?” he’ll ask. “Oh, yeah, he’s my favorite,” I’ll respond. Or should I gyrate to techno music on a late-night dance floor like a monkey presenting themselves to a potential mate? Classy.

And of course, one of the most sensible, tried-and-true methods for meeting dates is dating a friend. It’s my opinion that I would never do it. Not that my friends aren’t date-able but mostly because I respect my friends way too much to date them. I’m not saying I disrespect people I date, but I wouldn’t wish upon them the mistakes I’ve made with dating in the past.

Also, I’m rather skeptical of the idea. With gay guys, if you meet someone that you’re interested in, it’s socially acceptable (and sometimes expected) to act on it.  Essentially, if you wanted to screw or date someone, you would have done it when you first met them.

The term “friends first” implies that there is at least a second stage to the process that starts with friendship. What’s the next step? And isn’t that kind of conniving? Like someone has some master plan when meeting you. First, I shall trick them into being my friend. Next, I shall advance our friendship into romantic territory. Then world domination.

I have a joke in my stand-up comedy routine that deals with this very subject. It goes as follows, “I don’t get dating a friend. I’ve had friends who are dating or married to someone they first met as a friend and they swear by it. I don’t get it. They’re like “We knew each other for years and then something just clicked.” And I’m like, “What? They lose weight? Braces come off? They turn 18? What about the future love of your life did you look at them for the first time and think: maybe later?” To me, the joke isn’t about the error of other people’s ways but more so that attraction in hindsight is a compliment I find offensive.

There was a time that I’ve dabbled with the idea and messed around with a friend. Not a long-time friend or someone I saw too often but still, a good friend. We met through mutual friends and became friends independently. Because of the basis of friendship, it always seemed a bit strange. We’d be hanging out like friends, with friends and then we’d go home together. It wasn’t friends, friends first/boyfriends later, it wasn’t friends with benefits; it was something strange and felt almost incestuous. We didn’t have a falling out but essentially our… whatever it was… fizzled out and now we’re no longer close friends or hooking up. So maybe the real reason I don’t look to my social life for love is that I’ve tried that and it didn’t work out?

I have amazing friends in my life. As much as I like to joke that I wouldn’t want to have them suffer dating me, maybe there is something to it. How does that old cliche go, Let’s not ruin our friendship? It’s like tearing up a beautiful field to drill for oil. I’d rather keep my friends and explore dating elsewhere.

For now, I’ll spend my days reading in coffee shops and my nights on the dance floor. Maybe I’ll meet someone great enough to be a friend but explore dating them instead. Everyone wants their lover to be their best friend too, I just can’t imagine them being a friend first.

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Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a stand-up comedian event producer. Guerino is the creator of OutLoud Chicago a production effort bringing queer entertainment to the mainstream with rotating venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies and Barefoot Ballad at The Hideout. His benefit series We Are Halsted seeks to get the queer community to support the queer community by raising funds and awareness for queer homeless youth. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events,


One response to “Serial Dater: Friends First

  1. Pingback: In Our Words In Review: Dating and Relationships « In Our Words·

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