Life happens: Pop goes the relationship
By Aprill Brandon
Meeting new friends in your 30s is never easy. This is especially true when you move to a new city and your job consists mostly of sitting around at home and trying to come up with creative ways to slip words that sound like curse words but really aren't curse words into your column.
Needless to say, it can definitely be fraking rough (I mean, you know what they say. Life's a beach and then you die).
But that's why I was so thrilled last Sunday when I spent five hours quoting movies and discussing which TV shows we were obsessively watching on Netflix with my husband and three of his co-workers. By the time we got to "Battlestar Galactica" and "Arrested Development," I knew I had made friends for life.
Oh sure, it may sound shallow to use someone's pop culture preferences as a measuring stick for potential deep interpersonal relationships. But what can I say? I'm a pop culture junkie. In fact, I've had entire conversations with my best friend, Misty, that have consisted solely of movie and TV quotes:
Me: Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam. (Hello?)
Misty: Hey, how's your brain? (How are you?)
Me: 5x5. What's your damage, Heather? (Fine. How are you?)
Misty: I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure I'm in a dance-off. (Work is stressing me out.)
Me: Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island. Discuss. (Yeah, being an adult is rough.)
Misty: Tina, come get your ham. (Want to get some lunch?)
Me: The snozberries taste like snozberries. (Sure, but only if we can go to Chipotle.)
Misty: Big Gulps, eh? Well, see you later. (Bye.)
Me: Live long and prosper. (Bye.)
Not to mention, in this day and age, with the constant onslaught of media we face daily, it just makes sense to weed people out based only on whether they like "Firefly" and which "Star Trek" they think was better, the original series or "Next Generation." Chances are, if you love the same shows and the same Internet memes, you have similar values and outlooks on life. Through the lens of pop culture, it's much easier and quicker to figure out who you will click with and who is worth getting to know as opposed to going the more traditional route and, you know, talking about your feelings and hopes and dreams and junk.
For example, take vampires. If you prefer "True Blood" over "Twilight," I already know there's potential for a great friendship. However, if you prefer "Twilight," we'll probably never get out of the acquaintance stage. And if you can quote "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," well, you, my friend, are going to be a pallbearer at my funeral.
Taking it a step further, Buffy fans are also likely to bond quickly with "Gilmore Girls" fans. Likewise, fans of "The Office" will get along swimmingly with fans of "30 Rock," but I wouldn't invest too much in the relationship unless you both also dig "Party Down."
A die-hard "Star Wars" fans and a die-hard Trekkie are likely to become frenemies. However, casual fans of both shows can become tight as long as they both agree "Star Wars" Episodes 1 through 3 almost ruined the franchise. On a similar note, two die-hard Quentin Tarantino fans are likely to repel each other, much like opposite magnets, although casual "Pulp Fiction" fans can get together for happy hour without incident.
As for romantic relationships, fellas, I would avoid any woman who identifies as "I am so a Carrie" from "Sex in the City," although go for it if they just like the show for fun. Ladies, same goes for any guy who is a fan of "Entourage." And if you can find someone else who can also quote the obscure cult show "Strangers with Candy," you should either marry them or have some sort of blood brother/sister ceremony.
And when it comes to reality TV, well, that is the new politics and religion, something which we don't discuss in polite society. Whatever reality shows you shamefully watch with your curtains drawn is strictly between you and your TV.
Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. I mean, some of my closest friends in college were "Donnie Darko" fans and we managed to work through it. So, this method isn't necessarily foolproof.
However, I'm pretty sure you'll be thanking me for saving you from potential disaster the first time you hear a new neighbor or co-worker say they just don't "get" the movie "Shaun of the Dead."
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the YourLife section.