If I Could Occasionally Get Laid By Masked Intruders I'd Never Leave My Apartment

And other answers to unsolicited questions.

Image: schzimmyDearr

“My friends are always making me leave my apartment. What can I do?” — Homeslice Haley

Maybe it’s just us, Haley. I’m forty-three and a half years old. Most of the time after work I just want to go home, eat microwave burritos, watch nothing particular on TV, chat with Ben, read some porn and then fall asleep. This is what I would do every night. I would estimate I have done this 200 days of 2016 so far. The only thing that ruins my do-nothing flow is my friends, who from time to time demand my appearance at an outing of some sort. “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party,” the song goes. But that is decidedly not my experience. Maybe it’s just my friends. But they keep attendance. And when you’re as drunk and insane and loud a presence as I am, you are definitely missed.

I don’t know when we all started to have to hang out for everybody’s birthday, but we kind of do. I like to hide out on my birthday and cry while reading one of the Game of Thrones books. Not because I’m sad, but because I really like to cry. It’s a little like throwing up. You feel like a million bucks once you’ve done it. Birthdays are private affairs, best spent under the covers, far from the shine of the sun. Do I want to hang out with you in a bar? Maybe. When it’s your birthday? Maybe. But I usually just feel put-upon to ever have to leave my apartment. Not that it is so great here. Since Ben has been recuperating in a rehab facility from Total Knee Replacement this place looks like it’s been inhabited by a human-sized racoon.

So it’s not that I’m particularly fond of hanging out here. Except this is the one place where I can be naked all the time and no one (so far) arrests me. Summer is terrible, heat is bad, sweating is awful and nudity is really the only way to live. Here are some of the various ways I have figured out to stay home rather than go out and still keep the bare minimum amount of friends I currently have not totally hate my guts:

Move to New Jersey

This was one of the best anti-social capers I have ever pulled. The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that New Jersey was a smelly hellhole. You get used to the smell! After a while it fades into the background, like an oreo you dropped behind the refrigerator. It’s probably still there, but why check? Few have ever, since we’ve moved here, offered to come visit us in New Jersey. I have met up with people multiple times on Staten Island, but not Jersey City. The Path Train goes from our neighborhood to World Trade Center in ten minutes. It used to take me longer to get to Manhattan from the North Side of the Williamsburg Bridge. But we met people in Williamsburg all the time. Imagine when the L Train stops running. Your best excuse will be “I live in Williamsburg and don’t know how to leave it!”

People will preface invitations thusly: “Will you be able to make it all the way from New Jersey?” The answer is yes, that would not be a problem. It’s just the mind wall that separates the Empire State from the Garden State. It just feels like it ought to be hard to go back and forth. And so I get lazy and just eat ice cream sandwiches instead. If you move to New Jersey you have the perfect out. If you start wearing track suits and fake gold chains, you’ll be fake golden.

Have Your Roommate Get Surgery

I started using the Ben’s Having Surgery Excuse about a year ago. “Sorry I can’t come to your engagement party. I have to start making ice chips for Ben to suckle on when he gets his surgery.” Ben is the ultimate kryptonite to anyone giving me a hard time about anything. He is so cute and so universally loved, simply invoking his name will get me out of having to do anything potentially elsewhere with anyone. “I may be late, Ben needs me to pick up a case of Squirt for him” means I won’t be coming to your Tupperware Party. In case you were wondering.

“I’m Writing”

I learned this move from my old pal John Updike (well, I only met him once, but that is a story for another time). He blew off some New Yorker magazine 1,000th anniversary party because he “was writing.” The guy wrote a hundred books, of which only like 6 are good enough to pull this on anyone. And he pulled it late in his career, like Memories of the Ford Administration late. There are two problems with this approach. You may get away with it, but people will still think you’re kind of an asshole. And you will at some point have to produce something worth having blown off their get-together. “You blew off my baby’s bris to write this useless derivative nonsense?” Yes. Sorry. Yes I did.

In general I should — and so should you, why not — go out once in a while. I have the best time when I have zero expectations for where the night might take me. So, barkeep, give me your worst tequila and your smallest condoms.

Image: Shashank Bhat

“What the Hell am I supposed to do now that Gawker is gone?” — Ne’er-do-well Nate

Sell out if you can. Move to the suburbs, have a couple of kids and an affair. Take a pottery class. What do real people do? Suffer. I mean, I’ve only read one page of Proust but I’ve read practically everything ever written about Julia Allison. So there you go. Everything dies eventually. Except people’s grandparents who live on invisibly and watch us masturbate. If web sites didn’t die then how would we know we should have been watching TV all along instead of wasting time reading?

Jim Behrle works at a bookstore and lives in Jersey City, NJ.