On a need-to-know basis. Pseudonyms for all, just in case my discretion fails. (Always use two forms of protection, guys.)
Justice: My bff: a chic, brilliant law student (Justice may be her pseudonym now, but give it twenty more years and it’ll be her job title) whose analytical mind can snap through arcane legal precedents with ease yet has never fully mastered American idioms or pop culture. How curiously European. My favorite partner in crime, although a bit less balls-out than I: when I get pumped up to paint the town red, she usually suggests a flattering shade of mauve instead. She is dating Muscles.
Muscles: Boyfriend of the lovely Justice. He is working in the theatre world, and has the almost dangerously charming personality you need to pull it off. Warm-hearted, occasionally hot-headed. And if you throw a punch at him, he will take. you. down. (Better believe I learned this the hard way.)
Sister: My flesh-and-genetics sister – not some random nun I have crazy adventures with. Sister lives in Boston and is the one who encouraged me to move here. She is responsible and orderly and basically my total opposite. We’re close.
Mom: Everyone’s got one, huh? Mine likes to catch me off-guard periodically by giving truly salacious sex advice. When I first started dating The Ex, she suggested I sign him and me up for couples’ pole-dancing lessons spice up the boudoir. Keep in mind this is the same woman who wouldn’t let me watch “The Simpsons” until I was 16 because she was scandalized by the writers’ use of the word “butt.”
The Ex: After meeting in my freshman dorm and dating for four years (awww!), I told him I was taking off for Boston. We parted amicably – to my friggin’ chagrin. Not even one screamed accusation or weepy public brawl?! He’s an engineer for a major company, which I’ll admit I kind of miss casual-bragging about to strangers.
Brain Doctor: A former bff and one of the only two people from high school I’m still friends with. She’s getting her doctorate in brain stuff which, so far as I can tell, consists primarily of injecting rodents with broken brain cells then making them compete in the rodent Special Olympics. She is also the only known source of love/dating advice more effective than Tori Spelling’s memoirs.
Kiss-Ducker: Though currently going to grad school abroad, Kiss-Ducker is my gutsiest female friend, and drinking buddy extraordinaire. When we’re together, an ordinary trip to an art museum may start with getting kicked out of a gay bar and end with a fractured chin from trying to burrow through concrete to escape from sketchy old guys. Every minute with her is an adventure.
Hot Hands: My sister’s old college roommate who lives with her fiance — Picasso — across the street from my apartment complex. Hot Hands is one of the all-time great people. A ball of sunshine baked into a sugar-cookie crust. But she has quite the adventurous streak (and in fact earned this nickname with her willingness to periodically try to steal or sneak into stuff with me. Awesome.)
Picasso: Hot Hands’ fiance; a ridiculously talented photographer slash visual artsy dude. Like, we’re talking 25-to-watch-under-25 talented. Plus, he gets paid to take photographs of food all day, which is basically living the dream.
Anglophile: Female friend from a writing class I took here. Although Anglophile and I don’t see eye to eye on the acceptability of affecting British spellings in casual American conversations, she’s aces to hang out with because she’s always up for any level of adventure. As evidenced by my asking her to see a burlesque Christmas show with me the first time we hung out.
Porn Star: Another dude from writing class; not an erotica writing class, despite his epithet. He wears sunglasses everywhere (claims light sensitivity but, dude, I haven’t seen a doctor’s note) and is slinging mochas before going off to school. He’s not actually a porn star. More of just, like, garden variety porn actor.