Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On Making New Friends

Today, Park Bench reader and guest columnnist Meghann describes the beauty of nerd kismet:

I like making new friends. My newest new friend was made this past Friday night. My boyfriend introduced me to Deanna after a few weeks of telling me how smart she is and how well we’ll get along. (One of my favorite things about my boyfriend is how he’ll describe a woman’s intelligence before her beauty. And also how often he tells me I’m smart.) He said Deanna and I have plenty of stuff in common like theatre, beer appreciation, and wearing glasses. I’ve dated people I knew less about. Most of all, he wanted us to talk because I am about to apply to grad school for directing, and she recently graduated from Columbia with a degree in…directing – so clearly, we have plenty to talk about.

I met up with my boyfriend and Deanna late on Friday night at a bar. I immediately liked her warmth, open attitude and humor. We had a nice time playing "getting to know you" and I thought perhaps this would be a theatre acquaintance to cultivate. And then something happened that cemented our burgeoning friendship. At a lull in the conversation, my boyfriend said something that changed the way I thought of Deanna forever.

In the past five or so years, I’ve learned that there is a moment in every new friendship where the topic comes up. Usually I will be the one to bring it up, casually at first so as not to cause alarm if the new friend is not receptive to the idea. You have to sort of slip it into conversation with an acquaintance to test the waters. I’ve had the embarrassment of coming on too strong only to find the other party repulsed and judgmental. But it’s always a wonderful feeling when the other person brings it up first. It’s a feeling of solidarity, of knowing what you’re about. Then you launch into those sometimes hours-long conversations without rest.

Which is exactly what happened when my boyfriend said, “You know, Deanna is a huge Harry Potter fan.”

My eyes got wide, more beers were ordered, and we launched into a passionate discussion of Bill and Fleur’s upcoming wedding. I bounced my theories off of her, they ganged up on me about Sirius Black, we speculated about how long the last book will be, and spent the rest of the evening in Nerd Heaven.

You know Nerd Heaven, right? That’s the place where you are safe to discuss how much you wish the magic was real when the youngest in your party is entering her late 20s. And this past Friday night, Nerd Heaven was the first three stools near the door in Skinners on Market Street in Philadelphia.


Mickie Poe said...

Hooray for Girl Nerds finding one another!

Part of my job involves talking to authors. One called by the name of Fleming but in MY HEAD, his name is Nicolas Flamel and that's all it will ever be.

annie said...

Reminds me of when I instantly adopted a quasi-friend that I worked with when I found out she was a tabletop gamer. :D

Maybe it was the joy of the first new friend in a new city, but I went from "yeah, cool to talk at work, maybe hang out" to "i'm taking you home and hiding you under my coffee table" in about three seconds flat.

And since this was a new friendship in a new city, it's probably a good thing I didn't follow through with the hiding her under the coffee table thing.

dr.gambit said...

784 pages...a really huge harry potter fan (me) will already know this....FYI, i'm a boy, and i am in love with this site...i have the rss in my menu bar...i hope that isn't too weird...

signed Liz's prom date in a previous life

Bakerloo said...

Dr. Gambit, now I feel like I have to defend myself! I knew approx. length (not as long as Phoenix, definitely longer than Half-Blood Prince...) but not page count. Glad you know, though!

Counting down the days...

Liz said...

Dr. Gambit -- I'm so glad you like the site! Please know that gentlemen are always welcome at The Park Bench. Tell your friends to check us out, too. The bigger the party, the better!

moggy said...

Awesome post! Girl nerds...they're lurking around every corner, you just have to keep your eyes peeled. :)