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Plan B
By Molly Each

So he was the perfect Plan B. And sometime just knowing that makes things so much easier. Like the time I was being dropped off after a first date and the guy asked, "So…are we going to fuck or what?" I closed the door thinking, "I can always end up with Youssef." Or after an emotionally draining five-hour (FIVE HOUR) breakup -- I went to sleep thinking, "I can always end up with Youssef." Or when my heart was basically tossed into a blender and pureed by an old friend that I started to date when he took this other girl to see a Beck concert in St. Louis after he'd already invited me and didn't tell me and I only found out because one of our friends slipped up after too many Jack and Cokes and when they came back and he called me to say it probably wouldn't work with us I could hear her voice in the background giggling wildly, I thought between sobs, "I can always end up with Youssef." I had it all figured out in my damaged single girl mind (a sometimes insecure, needy, and occasionally hysterical place that no one wants to be).

The other day I was telling this story to my friend Bobby -- a tattooed, goateed guy who is so alpha he can't even pretend to understand the beta side of things -- as we watched a baseball game in a dingy bar. At one point, he turned away from the game, took a sip of his bourbon and said, "Molly, what the fuck. Hold on a second."

"What?" I said.

He stroked his goatee, confused. "Are you trying to tell me that all of those times you two were alone, fuckin' lying on docks, looking at stars, drinking wine, all those times this dude never made one move on you?"

"No! We were friends, and he was a total gentleman!"

He shook his head hard. "No way. That's impossible. I don't know a single guy who wouldn't have at least brought up the idea of dating you."

I took a sip of my beer. "Well, I guess it came up once."

"I knew it! I knew it!" He slammed his hand on the bar with each word. "How…?"

"We were driving from Madison to Minneapolis a couple of years ago, listening to Wilco and chatting when he looked at me and said, 'have you ever thought about us dating?' Bobby, I swear I got this weird knot in my stomach and my mind instantly fast forwarded through a relationship, an ugly breakup, and us seeing each other only at weddings and reunions and so I said, 'yeah, I guess, but I'd be devastated if anything happened to our friendship.' And he said, 'yeah, I guess you're right.'"

"That was it! That was him trying!"

"No way! He'd just been on a couple dates with this really awesome girl…"

"I don't care how awesome she was, that was his last ditch attempt to see if there was a chance with you."


Bobby took another sip, turned back to the TV and looked up at the game. "I'm just saying."

Bobby got the wheels turning for a minute, but before they could make a full rotation, they came to an abrupt halt. Because when I think about it, once I met the awesome girl it was obvious that Youssef and I were never meant to be. She was clearly made for him. After they'd been on I think four dates, he called me.

"Can you please come out with us tonight? I need you to meet her." Of course I went. It was my best friend duty. So over darts and pitchers of Grain Belt premium, in the diviest of Minneapolis bars, I got to know Andrea, this soft-spoken, dry-humored girl who was seriously kicking my ass at darts. At one point, as she reset the scoreboard, Youssef pulled me aside. "What do you think?"

"I like her," I said. "I like her a lot. She's really cool."

"Good. Cause it's really important to me that you get to know her."

Even though they were together for three years, the phone call still came out of nowhere.

"Guess what? I proposed and Andrea said yes!" I gasped, then screamed, then yelled, then asked a million questions. Youssef asked me to read at his wedding and I said yes, as long as I didn't have to read that Corinthians 13 love is patient, love is kind thing, because I've heard it at twenty-seven of the twenty-nine weddings I've been to and frankly if I have to hear it again I might yak. Sorry, God.

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