Yesterday evening started out like every other evening: my fiancée and I were meeting with a friend of mine who lives in Asia, speaks 5+ languages, started half a dozen businesses (which are actually profitable)… and grew up in Lyon, my fiancée’s hometown. Also, she’s one of the few guests at our wedding that my fiancée hadn’t met yet (the other ones I don’t want her to meet: she might choose to disinvite them). So it sounded like a pretty good idea to have them get to know each other ahead of D Day. Also, my friend was actually in Europe for a change.
Very quickly, I realized I’d made a mistake: not only did my fiancée and my friend get along, but they seamlessly started turning on me… The only reason they even knew each other… One of them was my friend, the other I’m sleeping with… I mean, come on, what does a man have to do not to be bashed by women in this post-Me Too world? Turns out, quite a lot, since there are still Jeffrey Epsteins roaming the world: the war is not over, and creeps are still out there. But back to comedy.
I figured these ladies would start reminiscing fondly about their city (which I like, to be clear, although I still don’t know where the river is*). Which they did for quite a bit. But then they gleefully turned to making fun of me for various, only partially relevant reasons: my inability to understand anything about food, or fashion, or women. I forced them to admit that their presence in that restaurant was proof enough of my good taste, but they still found a way to criticize the fact that I had not chosen the restaurant, the dishes or the right T-shirt to go with it. I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything wrong with Hello Kitty prints.
The reason I lost control of the situation so quickly was based on a major calculation mistake on my part. And that calculation mistake was — they knew how to calculate. As in both my fiancée and my friend were engineers. As in they love math more than I love meth. And that’s saying something: I love to mess around. OK, back to better comedy: because my friend does a lot of business in marketing and communications (aka my field, aka one that requires more letters than words), I’d completely forgotten she had the same ability as my fiancée to (literally) school me on math principles in every day life.
At one point in the evening, I started recounting my most hurtful moment from early on in our relationship: as I was (trying to) show off to my then-girlfriend about my Instagram stats, I noted that it was key to maintain a positive follower/following ratio, i.e. you need to have more people following you than you follow people. That’s like Instagram marketing 101: you don’t want to look like a suck up. Instead of showing admiration for my (somewhat) smart comment, as I had predicted in my head, my girlfriend looked at me with a confused look: “But any ratio that includes positive numbers is positive…”.
Now, that story is one of the most painful in my then-young relationship with my now-fiancée. Because she was right and I was wrong (which I hate) and there was objective, scientific proof of that (which I hate even more: no way to finesse that s**t). I still tell that story around (because I have no shame), but I expect people to laugh at the subtlety of my joke, because the very fact that I have a math-based joke sort of makes up (in my mind) for the other fact that I’m not a 100% math wiz. Only 99%, which is still a positive ratio (see, I learned).
That moment was the loudest my friend laughed all evening. Which, in turn, had my fiancée in stitches, even though she heard the story dozens of times — and lived it too. So I made a decision right then and there: from that point on, I will only have my fiancée meet Lit majors. Which means I have to disinvite a few people from the wedding.
* That’s a trick question: there are actually two rivers in Lyon (in case you get that one in a quiz).