to Be a Third Wheel
When it Comes to Dating, Three's Company, too -- Here's Why
was after my personal record-breaking fifth "single
guy hanging out with his couple friends" session of Labor Day
weekend that I came to the conclusion: I -- like many single folk
in their 30s that find their circle of friends coupled up if not
married off -- am indisputably a third wheel.
the phrase "third wheel" has a negative connotation in
our culture, in part due to Hollywood propaganda portraying us "threes"
as always obliviously overstaying our welcome (see, at your peril,
You, Me And Dupree), or being covetous of our hosts' lot
in life to the point of murder (The Talented Mr. Ripley).
But after my couples' holiday weekend, I had an epiphany. No, not
that that I was a lonely loser who needed to get a girlfriend immediately;
that's more of an obvious observation -- epiphanies require more
spin. What if I was not merely a "plus none" hanger-on,
but a social superhero, rescuing friends' romantic relationships?
Perhaps being a third wheel isn't such a bad thing. Remember tricycles?
They were fun, right?
I immediately began drafting a personal ad -- but not for myself.
Rather, I'd pimp my sidekick services out to couples in need of
three-rapy. This didn't involve being a sexual surrogate -- that
would be awkward. Instead, the needs I would tend to would be more
subtle, but no less important.
to the advantages of the non-sexual threesome, the selling points
of a real deal Third Wheel:
provide extra space. An underrated aspect of the "party
of three" phenomenon is the spare chair at a four-top table
in restaurants, ideal for storing purses, gym bags, shopping
bags and coats.
a conversation catalyst. No need to suffer in silence over
egg rolls anymore. Fluent in the languages of both celebrities
and sports, I'm also a fresh audience that will make your old
anecdotes new again.
can turn your everyday routines into a vaguely exotic adventure.
Feel like a boring old married couple because you're staying
in again? Invite me over to watch American Idol
and your evening will be instantly upgraded to "having
company." Now that's grown-up in a good way! Additionally,
I can make a mandatory shopping excursion to Whole Foods feel
like a fun, festive field trip. Be my upscale tour guide and
inform me about this brave new world. Who knew there were that
many types of different cheeses? You did!
an unbiased argument arbiter. Need someone to weigh in on
a recent domestic dispute? Call me Judge Dude-y. Inevitably,
my opinions will have you both nodding in agreement with each
other -- that I am an idiot.
can give voice to opinions that you agree with, but could
never bring up to your significant other yourself without
fear of sleeping on the couch. "I hate that he
still wears the trucker cap. Thanks for asking him if it was
part of a '2001 Ashton Kutcher' Halloween costume!"
-- A whispered testimonial from a grateful lady-half of a
couple I hung out with.
fellas, I'm there for you, too. When a female friend bookmarked
a wedding ring website on her boyfriend's computer, my jokes
about the subject got big laughs from both members of the
couple, whereas his previous attempt to tease her about it
had only resulted in tears.
can remind the couple of why they got together. Making a
guy see his girlfriend/wife as a sexual being again -- and not
just the person who whose bloody tampons clogged his toilet
-- is a specialty. So what if she's no Megan Fox -- she certainly
looks better than my callused right hand. I also do the same
for the ladies, by restoring the male's dormant inner-bro. You
know, the guy who the girl was initially attracted to before
he was chemically castrated by one too many trips to Crate and
make domestication look liberating, not suffocating. A sample
compliment I could give: "Your apartment is amazing --
so clean! It's like living in a honeymoon hotel, instead of
a bachelor's prison." Ladies, you'll be proud of your upright-walking
Cro-Magnon after you witness a true Neanderthal like me. That
time he forgot the milk won't seem so bad when I inform you
that my fridge is stocked with nothing but a couple of soy sauce
packets from 2007.
know if and when to leave. The Third Wheel is not to be
confused with his impostor arch-nemesis, Captain Cockblock.
I instinctively sense when a couple is feeling amorously inclined
towards each other -- and then I can either quickly flee the
scene, or help set up the web-cam.
alleviate you from the pressures of double-dating. Who wants
to keep up with the Joneses -- especially in this economy? There
will be no catty competition or couple comparison-shopping when
you're out with The Third Wheel. After all, you're obviously
better than I am, simply by being in a relationship!
allow couples to live vicariously through my pseudo-swinging
single life, yet ultimately remind you that you made the right
decision by settling down. Set-up suggestions! First-date
jitters! Second date summaries! The Third Wheel allows couples
to again experience these monumental milestones as they were
meant to be ideally experienced -- as someone else's anecdotes,
delightfully recounted for you in cringe-worthy detail while
you safely cuddle in the arms of your significant other. "Thank
Zeus we don't have to do that again, sweetie!" Indeed.
yet? Yeah, me neither. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a
version for easy reading
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