Spouses and lovers may come and go. But the friendship of a married couple, who is always there to pick up the pieces and occasionally provide sanctuary, is essential to keeping a single guy -- sane, secure and emotionally stable.
This year marks my 20th anniversary with not my wife. Or my current girlfriend. But my favorite married couple, Mel and Taffy.
Mel and Taffy have seen me through some wild times. Some tough times. Some weird times. And some crazy-ass, rolling on the floor, mad times.
Throughout the years I have introduced them to several attractive, but very diverse and somewhat quirky women friends. From sophisticated Jimmy Choo-clad social climbers. To Boho tree-hugging, almond-milk sipping cyclists. From cut-throat lawyers to idealistic NGO types. And to right-wing Tory Burch Tories, named Megan and Muffie.
Throughout, Mel and Taffy has always welcomed me in their home, usually after another soul-destroying romantic breakup, with consideration and humor. And most importantly, without judgment.
They never greeted me at their door, derisively, as in "What did you see in that lunatic? What were you thinking? When she locked you out of your own house, on your first date. Didn't you see that as a bad sign?"
I recall after another tough break up, I showed up at their house late at night, with just the clothes on my back. And a pair of cowboy boots. And my favorite copy of "The Complete Works of Shakespeare."
A few hours later, my then woman friend called Mel/Taffy's home and screamed at Mel that I had stolen a valuable family asset. To which Mel calmly replied, "The book is worth about 10 bucks. It's not exactly a first edition, signed by the author. "
On another occasion, Mel and Taffy knew I was going through a rough patch, with another woman friend. They thought a week-end getaway in Miami, with them, may rekindle the fires, that were about to flicker out.
So we all flew down to stay at Taffy's mother's one-bedroom condo overlooking the famous Rascal House.
Mel and Taffy graciously slept on the old lumpy hide-a-bed couch, circa 1965, in the living room, with the noisy A/C.
What true and wonderful friends! It should have been a perfect weekend.
Unfortunately, my then-girlfriend had one of her regular psychotic episodes, and berated me in public. Over nothing.
She banished me from Mel and Taffy's pool.
I fled to the lobby, where I spent the rest of the weekend, happily reading in peace and quiet.
Mel dubbed the lobby of that old seniors' condo building," my happy place."
Which became a running joke with Mel and Taffy.
On many subsequent holidays with Mel and Taffy, I would often flee from my then volatile partner, to my special happy place.
This became a rather tragicomic, shared memory, with two very dear friends.
Unfortunately, this incident was often repeated, with different dates, of course, on other holidays with Mel and Taffy.
It still amazes me to this day, why Mel and Taffy kept joining me on these holidays with my random girlfriends.
Perhaps Mel and Taffy were hoping that each time, I would finally find true love and romance. Perhaps this time, Charlie Brown, will actually kick the football.
Or may be it was the fascination and prospect of another train wreck.
So horrible to witness. But so difficult to avoid.
For my part, I naively thought the karma of their near perfect marriage would rub off on me and my date.
My last vacation with Mel and Taffy was on a Caribbean cruise.
Cramped quarters. Rocky seas. Seasickness. Backed up toilets. Diarrhea.
The perfect holiday.
Mel, Taffy and I fondly recall that cruise as a combination "Death Ship 2", "The Voyage of the Damned" and "The Ship of Fools."
The experience is mostly a blur. Though I do recall arguing with my female companion. Hitting my head in the cabin. Then blood spurting out of my forehead.
And Mel taking a video of me in my straw hat and blood-spattered Hawaiian shirt.
Which video Mel very thoughtfully showed to a subsequent date of mine. At their house a few months later.
Accompanied by uproarious narration at my expense. Good times.
The loyalty and friendship of Mel and Taffy, have been a constant in my life.
I am a very lucky guy, to have such wonderful married friends. To share with me these truly horrible experiences. To laugh with me at my blackest moments.
And to prevent me from jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge.