Best of Friends

But we are. And we always will be.

No we won’t. And you know it as well as I do. Some dude is gonna come between us. That’s what happens, Linda. Hashtag fact-of-life.

No dude is going to . . . and even if . . . it wouldn’t change what we have.

Yes it will. The sexual thing always screws up the platonic thing.

We tried the sexual thing, Xena. It didn’t work for us.

That was embarrassing, Linda.

We’re still twin souls. Soul-twins forever, Xena.

But they’re hunting you, Linda. Kevin, Todd . . . Pierce even,  whatshisname in Biology, the track and field guys? They hang around like we’re all just good ol’ high school buddies, always joking and messing around, but I know they’re drooling for you, girl.

Drooling? C’mon, Xena. Those guys are our friends.

Sure, Linda.

And why do you go on like I am the only female here? You could be with someone just as well.

Because you’re the one. You sizzle. I’m nothing.

Well, I think you’re beautiful, Xena. And you’re smart.

Smart girls are threatening, Linda.

Why do you diss yourself all the time?

Plus, you’re black, Linda.

What does that have to do with it? And, incidentally, the term is biracial.

Biracial or whatever. Being, like, the only black girl in our school is totally awesome. You’re the shit and you know it. Those guys aren’t your friends, believe me.

That’s sick, Xena. My grandmother was in the Civil Rights movement. She hanged out with Rosa Parks and she was with Medgar Evers in Jackson when they shot him.

I know all that.

And the hospital at first wouldn’t admit him as he was black. My grandmother was standing on the street outside with Evers’ family when they pronounced him dead. They wouldn’t let the family in to be at his bedside . . . because they were black, Xena.

I know. I’ve heard that story many times. It’s disgusting.

So what would my grandmother say hearing you talk the way you do? It’s, like, racist.

Maybe. But it doesn’t change the situation. You’re hot. You’re the shit. I’m a mole. And any day now you are going to start going with some guy, and from then on our relationship will never be the same.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You’re such a gloomer.

Because you’ll have secrets together. Friendship and sexship — they mess with each other.


Sex is the mother of all lies, Linda: “We didn’t do anything. We were just talking.” Remember when I asked you what you and Todd were doing in the janitor’s room after math class? We were just talking, you said.

Because we were just talking, Xena.

It’s OK to tell your best friend that because it’s OK to lie about anything having to do with sex.

Xena, our class starts in 10 minutes. Mrs. Henderson locks out students who don’t come in time, including paranoid little white girls with sexual hangups.

Your dad says sex is the mother of deception.

Hello? Are you serious? You talk sex with my dad? Since when? That is so totally not cool.

Whaddya expect? He’s my mentor. We talk about lots of things.

He’s your bible study mentor.  You are supposed to be discussing the bible, Xena. Jesus!

We discuss the bible — Adam and Eve, the snake, the forbidden fruit.

Xena, I’m so totally not OK with you discussing sex with my Dad.

Sorry. He’s so knowledgable. I’m learning a lot. After all, he is a sexologist, isn’t he?

No, he’s a relations therapist who happens to have a bunch of degrees because he never wanted to leave college. And most of the time he’s full of shit, Xena. You’ve got to promise me . . .

I asked your dad if opposite sexes could ever be friends, truly friends, you know?

That’s a question boys ask, Xena.

Well, I asked it, Linda,  and he said that it depended upon our sexual coefficient scores.

Oh, no. Here we go.

Yeah, the sexual coefficient is, like, a combo of people’s self-assessment, their moral standards, and their target range.

Target range?

Yeah. Possible conquests, you know — what we feel we can obtain based on how we rank ourselves. Humans are constantly making this calculation with everyone around them.

My father told you that everyone in the world is sexually obsessed?

No, mostly this works on a subconscious level. But according to Johnny every human being is either subconsciously or consciously thinking that because I am this — I can obtain that, even if ninetynine percent of the time we don’t act on those calculations for whatever reasons.

According to who?

Johnny — your dad. Johnny says that when these coefficients are low it is possible to develop friendship — otherwise not. Normally the scores are low between members of the same sex and that’s why men can be friends with other men and women with other women.

You call him Johnny?

Yeah, what am I supposed to call him — Doctor Russo? I’ve known him since, like, you and I were small and he’s been my mentor for five years.

I’ve had DeVos as a mentor for just as long, and I still call him Reverend DeVos. I wouldn’t dream of calling him Harry.

Yeah, but Reverend DeVos is a slimebag and your dad is OK, Linda.

That’s debatable, Xena.

Johnny says males are born with an inflated self-assessment valuation which explains how those track and field dorks could ever imagine you in their target range.

For god’s sake, stop calling him Johnny. And leave me out of everyone’s target range.

Alright. Dr Russo. Dr Russo says that inflated male self-assessment is the fundamental cause of inequality between the sexes.

That’s part of his “I am a feminist” rant. Don’t get taken in by that, Xena.

The self-assessment plus target range thing kind of explains who goes with who, Linda. It’s why you’ll probably end up with Matt Rilke.

Matt Rilke? Varsity quarterback Matt Rilke? You’re crazy.

Considering that you both have maxed-out self-assessment numbers, considering he’s the biggest sports star, considering you’re beautiful . . . and black . . . considering you two are obviously at the top of each others target ranges . . . it makes sense. God and Darwin would agree on this.

Hey, Xena, we gotta run. Mrs. Henderson is going to lock us out.

And once you and Matt Rilke are a pair then I’m out of the picture. You will share stuff I won’t be part of.

Mrs. Henderson, Xena!

Case in point. Mrs. Henderson is so drab she makes me itch. She is the most dull and boring person you and I are ever going to meet — on the surface that is. But after school’s out she goes home and dresses up in Nazi lederhosen and beats Mr. Henderson with a toilet brush while listening to Slipknot. And then they hang themselves upside down in ropes and chains and hump like coyote bats.

You know that for a fact?

Sex sanctions lying. Secrecy. Deceit. Look at everyone around us: Hello, How are you? Nice weather. Cute dog. Enjoy your smoothie. But that’s our public bullshit side. It’s our frontage. On the inside our sexual calculation gears are spinning away. The only people who are honest about sex are porn stars, swingers, and prostitutes. All credit to them.

Did my dad tell you that as well?

Not exactly.

You know your preoccupation with this is pretty alarming. Maybe you need someone to talk to —  professionally I mean.

Why? I’ve got your Dad.


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