Why Is Making Grownup Friends So Hard?

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering birthday parties, TV opening credits, baby pigeons, and more.

Your letters!

Chris:

I'm a recent college graduate who followed a job opportunity to a town where I know no one. While the adjustment from college to adult life sucks (less drinking on weekday nights, skipping classes), it was expected. What wasn't expected: how hard it is to make adult friends. I love my job and have a couple of people I know from work, but I'd like to meet some non-work people. Any advice?

It's nearly impossible to make friends with other adults for a lot of different reasons, time being one of the biggest. You're an adult. You have a job. You have responsibilities. Maybe you have a girlfriend or spouse. That leaves less time for you to develop the kind of lasting, lifelong bonds with friends that happens in high school and college. High school and college kids have SHITLOADS of time to sit in each other's rooms and drink and discover that OMG YOU ALSO HAD A DOG NAMED SKIPPY WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG SOUL MATES! There's less time for that now. You need to know where this friendship is going right away. If we're not gonna end up snorting coke together and watching the first forty minutes of Full Metal Jacket over and over again, don't waste my time!

And there's more awkwardness. No grownup wants to ADMIT that they need a friend because that seems desperate. You worry that other people will wonder why, exactly, you still need a friend. Were you in prison? Did everyone at college catch you masturbating? What did you do to end up so alone? LOSER.

I've had that kind of anxiety. A few months ago, my wife was like, "You should hang with Kelly's husband. Maybe watch a football game together!" And I was URRR DURRR GOD THAT WOULD BE WEIRD, even though I liked the guy and happily would have had beers with him. Men are reluctant to admit being lonely, or nervous, and they hate putting themselves in any kind of vulnerable spot. What if your man date goes wrong? How fucking stupid will you feel if you can't even get a date that involves no sex right? On a certain level, you feel as if you and your new "friend" are just kidding yourselves... that you're trying to force yourself into BFF status when you have none of the shared memories or wacky camp stories of a pair of childhood buddies.

I moved down to the DC area with my wife ten years ago and didn't really know anyone here. Then I met another guy online (KOGOD!) and we met up at a bar once, and it was basically like going on a blind date. I think I got drunk BEFORE I met up with him, just to ease my nerves. We're good friends now, but we'll both readily admit that heading to a bar to meet your new CYBERBUDDY is a hard thing for grown men to do, even in a day and age where meeting people online is no longer stigmatized (I would argue that online dating is far more acceptable now than online friend-seeking—I've never seen an ad for any kind of platonic eHarmony). I Gchatted KOGOD about this yesterday and he said, "i still feel awkward around you." So there you go. SO SO AWKWARD.

If you're living somewhere new and you're trying to meet new friends, the important thing is to get over the shyness hump and OWN your loneliness. No sense in trying to make yourself seem cooler than you are. No sense in trying to convince potential new friends that you have other awesome buddies nearby. No sense in avoiding people when you know you NEED them. If you're honest with yourself and you say to your co-workers or friends of co-workers that you meet at happy hour, "Man, I don't know anyone in this city. I'm down with beers any time you feel like grabbing them," the world will probably start opening up for you.

Organized activities also help. There's a reason transplants living in DC join dipshit kickball leagues, and it ain't because they like kickball. You have to get out. You have to be places. You have to give yourself opportunities to find people who like you and accept you and don't give a shit that you don't have your own personal JackO or J-Bug in tow. There are plenty of people like that out there—be it online or at your local bar's trivia night. You just have to be brave enough to find them.

Joel:

Why haven't Goodell and the team owners tried to push through corporate sponsors on uniforms like in European soccer? Do you ever see that happening? Every other element of the NFL has a corporate logo pasted on it. Why not team uniforms?

I assume because Nike pays the NFL handsomely to keep those jerseys free of additional clutter. In fact, Nike's recent licensing agreement with the NFL is worth a staggering $1.1 billion, and the next contract will only be more lucrative. I assume there's language in that contract that says the NFL can't sell jersey space to other advertisers, since an NFL jersey is essentially a joint advertisement for both the NFL and for Nike. You see the jersey, you like it, you buy it, and the NFL and Nike both profit handsomely from the arrangement. It's probably not worth jeopardizing that gravy train just to squeeze in a shoulder patch for Doritos.

Then again, soccer jerseys still sell briskly even with big name advertisers—Emirates airlines, AIG, etc.—festooning them. There may come a time when Goodell sits down with Nike and is like, "You know what? You're gonna give us more money for the next contract, AND you're let us put whatever the fuck we want on our jerseys. TRY AND STOP US MWAHAHAHAHAHA (shows Nike where all the bodies are buried)." It wouldn't surprise me, because fans and sportswriters would spend all of six seconds being outraged ("I can't believe they sullied their brand with another brand!") before becoming accustomed to it.

Ted:

I'm a big believer in the idea that you can tell how good a show is going to be by the opening credits. At the risk of hijacking the comment section, please rank the top 10 opening sequences in the last 30 years. Conversely, name the five worst on actually good shows. I'll get you started. Good shows in no particular order (drama category only): Sopranos, Mad Men, Miami Vice, Walking Dead, CSI, Game of Thrones, X-Files, Six Feet Under, Dukes of Hazzard, True Blood.

The Wire has the single greatest discrepancy between great show and terrible open. Season 2 excluded.

I agree with you about The Wire, mostly because I hated the theme song, and because the title sequence always looked like it cost three dollars to produce. But that's an anomaly. In general, I think most people grow to love the title sequence of a show because they love the show itself. Now, that's not always true. I used to watch House a lot and didn't give two shits about the title sequence.

But in the pre-DVR days, I would damn near run over a Girl Scout parade to get home in time to see Tony Soprano drive through the Lincoln Tunnel. I had to see that, even though I'd seen many times before. REALLY SET THE TONE, YOU GUYS. The best title sequences (in drama, at least) give you the feeling that some serious shit is about to go down. You will usually find that the best shows also take a lot of great care in their title sequences, unlike some shit show that licenses a pop song and then slaps the actors' faces on the screen. A title sequence can also drive you away. The reason I never watched M*A*S*H as a kid was because the title music made me want to kill myself (It's even called "Suicide is Painless").

I'll go ahead and rank my favorite ten openings ever, comedy or drama. They'll be missing lots of shows, since I haven't seen everything. My ten would be:

1. The Simpsons

2. The Sopranos

3. Cheers

4. Monty Python's Flying Circus

5. Saturday Night Live

6. Mad Men

7. NYPD Blue

8. The Muppet Show

9. Get Smart

10. Louie

10a. Growing Pains

I really liked the Growing Pains theme song when I was a kid. I think I still do. I'm not made of stone. As for the best shows with the lamest title sequences, my list is The Wire, The Office (UK version), Absolutely Fabulous, and South Park. I love South Park and I've always been cool with Primus, but I hate that song.

/ducks

Steve:

One time at a family function, my uncle started talking about smoking pot and drinking when he was younger and he asked me, "You smoked some weed back then right?" I'm 28 so you would think I am old enough to be honest with my mom, but I pussied out and said "Oh no! I only tried it once!" I was nervous that my mom would never look at me the same because I lied to her for years about smoking and drinking. At what point (if ever) is it acceptable to admit to your parents that you tried drugs or partied in high school and college?

I think once you're out of the house and gainfully employed and no longer beholden to your folks for, like, money, you're in the clear. That means roughly by age 46. I'm 37 and even though I've written about smoking weed plenty, I never ever ever talk about it with my folks. I still fear their disapproval. I know they can't DO anything about it. I know I'm my own man. But God forbid I bring it up and then my mom is like, "Ohhhh, DREW...." I would shrink and die. I'll never purge the shy WASPiness from my system completely.

Kelsey:

Have you ever seen (with your own eyes, not on Google images) a baby pigeon? My friends and I talk about this almost every day (because we lead pathetic, sad lives). Where are they? I see baby birds all over the place, but never baby pigeons, just full-grown ones. Do they nest on tall buildings, and just never come down until they're....pigeon-esque? Or do they live in the suburbs and commute to the city? I once witnessed a pigeon transfer from one train to another (see attached photo), heading north to the suburbs of Chicago, so I can only assume this is the case.

Popular Science dealt with this a while back. Apparently, baby pigeons are kept in their nests until they're a month old. At that point, they're fully grown and ready to fly out into the big city and shit all over your windshield. If you let a baby pigeon out of the nest before then, I assume that it flies to LA and begins working in the bird porn industry. WIN BIG MAMA'S FALLEN ANGEL...

So that's why you will likely never see a baby pigeon out in the wild. You're just gonna have to scale the side of an abandoned warehouse and poke at a nest with a slim jim. Good luck to you!

HALFTIME!

Matt:

How much money would it take for you to ride in a motorcycle sidecar for an entire year, rain or shine? And not one of those new fancy models from BIG SIDECAR either. I'm talking straight up Indiana Jones-style. This includes your daily commute, recreational jaunts, errands, etc. and at least one long-distance road trip. Let's assume that you would never have to wait on your driver, he is always ready at a moment's notice.

Does my chronic back pain factor into this? Because those things look like murder on my lumbar region. My life is now all about avoiding uncomfortable chairs.

Anyway, if that's NOT a factor, and if I can drink the entire time and wear those old tymey sidecar goggles while riding shotgun, then I'm happily accepting that arrangement for a tidy $5,000. Having a driver at my beck and call would be pretty sweet. In my daydreams, when I have a billion dollars, the driver is the second member of the entourage hired (first is the butler—those crepe suzettes don't make themselves). Having a driver on call is such a fantastic luxury that people will hire an Uber car without even knowing how much it will cost them, which is completely fucking stupid. Being driven around is awesome, even if it means getting the occasional piece of stray gravel to the face.

Billy:

What percentage of extra points do you think you could make if you became an NFL team's extra point specialist? Let's say you get to go through all the OTAs with said team and training camp so you have a coaching and practice. I actually think a person could get to 75 percent.

I doubt you could get up that high. There's still a level of physical talent you need to do that job, not to mention the fact that you'll be kicking every road extra point in front of a crowd that KNOWS you're a fraud. I'd shit my pants if I had to do that. A year of training isn't enough. I'd blow the first couple of real game attempts and then be reduced to a quivering wreck. I say fifty percent would be my ceiling, and that's probably giving myself too much credit. I know that even college kickers have an easy time with the extra point, but they're still way more athletic than I am. If you're a natural athlete, that's one thing. But if you're the kind of poor bastard that can bust his ass year round only to have his forty time be EXACTLY the same as it was last fall and GOD DAMMIT WHY DID GOD CURSE ME WITH THESE SHODDY GENES, it's a different story. I have issues.

The reason PATs look easy is strictly because kickers MAKE it look easy. They train year round and they do stretches that hurt to look at. They have the kind of automatic muscle memory of a golfer or a baseball slugger that takes years to hone. I should probably appreciate their craft more than I do. Then again, GET OFF THE FUCKING FIELD IDIOT KICKER LEAVE THE GAME TO THE REAL ATHLETES.

A:

I finally got the missus pregnant after a few months of trying, and we are pumped. This is our first kid, and we are still in that, "We can't tell family yet, because it is too early" stage, which is fine by me. When does that fear subside, if ever, that my wife won't actually carry the baby full term and something horrible will happen? I constantly ask how she is feeling, and every time she goes into the bathroom, I am terrified she will come out and say the dreaded "M" word.

You can rest easy after the first three months. Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester. In fact, this site says that one in three or four of ALL pregnancies end in a first trimester miscarriage, which is terrifying. Once you clear three months, you have much better odds of bringing the baby to full term. But it's your first kid, so you'll probably still freak out anyway. You'll freak out about miscarriages. You'll freak out about labor complications. You'll freak out about SIDS and autism. You'll freak out about everything. And then you'll have one or two more kids and you'll cease giving a shit. With the third kid, I think we told the plumber sometime within the first five weeks. Then we let him name the kid.

Barbara:

Religious figures notwithstanding, who's the most famous person ever? I think Hitler.

As far as the history of mankind goes, Hitler is kind of late to the party. I assume we're trying to figure out what one person has been heard of by the greatest number of people throughout history, which means you're probably better off picking someone from a few centuries earlier. I would rank them like this:

1. Alexander the Great

2. Julius Caesar

3. King Arthur

4. Socrates

5. Shakespeare

6. Mozart

7. Hitler

8. George Washington

9. Ali/Elvis (tie)

10. LENA DUNHAM LENA DUNHAM OMG WHAT DOES LENA DUNHAM MEAN FOR THE MONOCULTURE?!

I'm probably way off here, though. And I'm obviously biased toward Western culture given my upbringing, which is unfair to the likes of Sun Tzu. Plus, you never know what random figures will be widely renowned in far-flung corners of the world. I bet Ronnie James Dio is big in Japan.

Blake:

My roommates and I have recently engaged in minor squabbles regarding the temperature of the house as winter begins to take hold. One roommate contends that 65 is an acceptable indoor temperature because, as he puts it, "If you were out for a run in 65 degrees, you would be in shorts and a t shirt." I find this ridiculous because the whole point of not being homeless would seem to be the privilege of sitting around naked in your own dwelling. 65 degrees is not conducive to sedentary nudity, especially when it's fucking freezing outside and the house is drafty. I feel like 70 degrees is a fair compromise and anyone who thinks that 65 is an acceptable thermostat temperature throughout the winter is a communist.

Well now, wait a moment. You have roommates, so no one needs you sitting around naked on the sofa, legs akimbo, feeding yourself grapes all day. That's uncouth. I can only speak from personal experience when I say sixty-eight usually does the trick*. Any higher and your taint starts to sweat. Any lower and you start shivering like an elderly pneumonia patient. Sixty-eight works just fine.

I went to my folks' house for Christmas and they have the thermostat set much lower than that because my dad is the kind of old-school dad that would like his gas bill to be in the single digits. "WHAT AM I, THE POWER COMPANY?!" Anyway, that house was cold as shit, and when we got home my wife was like, "Maybe we keep our house too warm!" Fuck that. Sixty-eight or bust, lady.

(*Does not include hotel thermostats, which are incapable of ever providing a comfortable room temperature.)

Ian:

Say you're in a situation where you have to provide sperm to medical personnel - sperm bank, fertility test, etc. The nurse gives you a cup and you go into a room to jerk it; how do you time things for maximum dignity? Come back in 30 seconds and you look like a chump; wait too long and it's like you were savoring the experience. Is there a non-embarrassing amount of time to keep someone waiting on a batch of your knuckle children?

Actually, I think you're okay with any amount of time. If you're quick, the nurses will probably appreciate it. If you take too long, the nurses will probably be sympathetic because you're a grown man trying to get an erection in a doctor's office. That's not easy! I bet sperm bank nurses have stories to tell, my friend. I bet there are men who have spent HOURS in there either trying to do their business or just hogging the free jerk time. Once you go in that room, you are out of sight, out of mind until you come out with your little cup of goo. I would say five to ten minutes is the average. If you go longer, it's not that big a deal. Everyone will just assume you're impotent. FUN!

Email of the week!

Matt:

I was using the facilities at work this morning, and as a guy took his seat in the adjacent stall, some change fell out of his pocket. I could see 85 cents (three quarters and a dime), and it all stayed on his side of the line. He let out a "goddamnit," which was followed by brief period of complete silence and stillness. I assume that he was contemplating whether or not to pick up his change. He did.

My question is what goes through your mind during that time, and how do the following factors affect your thought process and final decision? 1) the number and type of coins, 2) the location of the public restroom, and 3) being alone vs. having somebody in the next stall.

I realize that coins that have been in circulation for longer than five minutes are already disgusting, but no reasonable person is picking up the change unless it includes at least one quarter, right? I think the biggest factor would be having somebody in the next stall. In that scenario, you know you are being judged, plus, you are kind of on the clock. Do you want to be the guy who picked up less than $1 off the bathroom floor? What if Bill from accounting recognizes my shoes and knows it's me? If somebody is next door, I think I would A) leave the change on the floor or B) wait until they leave if I'm going to pick it up. If you did pick up the change, would you wash it while washing your hands or just put it in your pocket and continue the cycle of disgustingness?

Also, what if a two of his quarters had rolled to my side of the line? Am I obligated to kick them back his way or, worse yet, speak to him? What if he tried to reach over to grab them? Self defense laws go into effect, right?

I would pick up my own change, with the quarter first because of coin triage laws. And if a rogue quarter rolled my way, I would probably slide them back under with my foot. No way you steal a man's poop quarter.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.