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February 03, 2005 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-03

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lOB - The Micl~n Daily - Thursday, Feary 3, 2005 0 The

10B - The Mictfan Daily -Thursday, Feiftary 3, 2005

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The

shaken, notstirred with Ellen McGarrity
ACTING THE FIFTH WHEEL: WHY BEING THE SPARE SUCKS

it'sbecausei'm gay,isn'tit?|with Steve Du Bois
DEFINE ME, REFINE ME ... THEN 69 ME

fifth wheel is almost worse
than the notoriously annoy-
ing "third wheel."
... Let me clarify. My brother, who
5u one year younger than me, has had
a serious girlfriend for the past four
years. So whenever I am with them, I
am, of course, the third wheel.
But as Bridget Jones observed
in her first movie, "The only thing
worse than a smug married couple is
lots of smug married couples."
She's got a point. Add in my par-
ents and I become the "fifth wheel".
Whenever my brother's girlfriend is
over, there are two couples - my
mom and dad and my brother and
his girlfriend - making me the odd
(wo)man out.
I haven't had a serious boyfriend
during my college years - only
short-lived relationships. So even
though I am genuinely happy for my
brother's fortune (cliched, but true
people), the situation has taken a toll
on my emotions from time to time.
And I'd like to share one such
example that I think captures my
frustration ...
Every Christmas, it's a tradition
that our family will go out to some
fancy restaurant. "Family" has come
to include my brother's girlfriend as
well. This year, we made reserva-

tions at a spiffy chain called "The bunch.
Bonefish Grill" - top notch food. I At the restaurant, the hostess
would definitely recommend it. showed us to our table. A large
When the evening came, I wanted booth, I imagined, or a round table
to look really nice. I put on black would be where they would seat us.
high heels, sleek black pants, and my But instead, she led us to a regular
new wrap cardigan that I'd received square four-person table.
for Christmas. I thought I looked "We'll put up the leaf at this
amazing (when you're a fifth wheel, end and find an extra chair," she
there's always pressure to look your explained to me.
best and act like a very solid indi- Grrreeat, I thought, Now I get to
vidual because you want people to enjoy my meal on a slightly slanted,
think you're all right standing on highly unstable table flap, while
your own), but when I walked into sticking out into the aisle where I
my living room, I suddenly felt like will for sure be getting bumped by
a fool. waiters and patrons all evening
My brother had jeans and sneak- (and FYI, that's exactly what did
ers on, and my parents weren't much happen).
more dressed up. A scowl quickly Conversation started out slowly.
spread across my face. When you have a non-related person
"I thought we were supposed to dining with your family, those first
look nice," I blurted out. few minutes can be a bit awkward.
"Well, it's not that dressy of a res- But soon, my mother was jabber-
taurant," my dad said. "But you look ing away about my parents' trip to
lovely - don't change!" Mexico next January, and my broth-
The comment softened my anger er's girlfriend was talking about her
slightly, and since I had no time to class schedule for second semester.
change anyway, I resolved to go in I tried to chime in a couple times,
what I had on. but my sentences seemed to get lost
Our next stop was my brother's immediately. "Nevermind," I would
girlfriend's house. I was mortified say softly after an attempt to break in,
when she stepped out of her door but I don't think anyone heard me.
in jeans and tennis shoes also. Now I decided to order an expensive
I was even more the misfit in this martini (1) to relax myself and (2)

to get back at my parents for putting
me in this precarious situation.
A little while into the meal, the
30ish-looking manager came by
- you know, to have one of those,
"Hey! How's your meal!?" discus-
sions that are supposed to make you
feel all warm and fuzzy inside about
the restaurant. The annoying thing
was that the entire time he chatted
up my parents, his hand was resting
on the small of my back.
He then looked at me and said,
"And what did you order, honey?"
and gave a flirty wink.
Eww. Absolutely gross. Not only
was this guy flirting with me - a
girl probably 10 years younger than
him - but he had obviously noticed
that I was the only one at the table
"not spoken for." Damn it, I should
have slipped a ring on my left-hand
ring finger before I arrived.
After the meal, my dad asked
the waitress to take a picture of the
"family." She looked through the
viewfinder and said, "Oh, only the
four of you fit (meaning the two
smug couples). You're (meaning me)
going to have to move."
Dramatic sigh. I dutifully got up
and went to stand behind the rest.
On the way out to the car is when
I felt most awkward. My parents

were walking arm in arm up ahead
while my brother and his girlfriend
held hands and giggled behind me.
Where was I supposed to walk? In
the middle? Should I slow down and
drop back with my brother and his
girlfriend? Walk faster and catch up
with my parents? Ugh - I shudder
just thinking about it.
I swear the only things that got me
through that moment were the slight
buzz 1 still felt from my peach mar-
tini and the knowledge that it would
be one whole year before I would
have to be in this situation again.
Now, I'd like to point out that I
wrote this column neither to wal-
low in my own self pity nor to wish
that all couples would suddenly drop
dead. Being a very independent
person, I actually don't mind doing
things alone.
But for all those smug couples out
there, I hope to at least have made
you aware of how you make us sin-
gletons feel sometimes.
Ellen plans on making as many
singles uncomfortable as she can
the minute she is part of a smug
couple. But for now, she willfreely
continue to complain about her
third-wheel status. E-mail her at
emcgarri@urnich.edu.

The dating world, both gay and
straight, can be one of strict clas-
sification. In gay dating, there
are many gradients on the definitional
scale that I will call the homoarchy: One
could be seeing someone, which is dif-
ferent from dating and both of which are
strikingly separate from being in a rela-
tionship. The (presumably) most simple
homoarchy classification is hooking up
with someone. Every distinction is rife
with implications, though, and what
hooking up means to me might not mean
the same to the guy whom I'm hooking
up with. To complicate things further,
many times, two people that are together,
in whatever form, perceive their state of
togetherness differently on the homoar-
chy. This is problematic indeed.
For example, I've been hooking up
with this guy - for functional pur-
poses let's call him Dick - consistently
for over three months. However, we've
never dared to proclaim ourselves to
be in a relationship, because neither of
us want a commitment; instead, we are
implicitly obligated to each other. To the
point of declaration, we've been emo-
tionally unattached. Yet the romantic
niceties uttered during and the cuddling
after hooking up might indicate other-
wise. So ... to what extent, if at all, are
we together?
This wasn't such a pressing question

until I wanted to go on a date with some-
one - my own personal tempter who
we'll call Beezlebub (Bub for short) in
the otherwise serene Gay-den of Eden.
Because there was an assumed non-
emotional pact between me and Dick,
I approached him with the news of Bub
in an emotionally passive, neutral way:
"I have a date soon ... If I like him
we shouldn't hook up anymore ... " I
assumed this would go smoothly. After
all, we both knew what we had and
what it meant, right? Not so much. Even
though we'd conversed about what we
shared, because we had different defi-
nitions for the term and implications of
hooking up, he was hurt by something I
assumed he would not be.
I thought hooking up meant showing
no emotion even if it was there. I also
thought it meant being able to go on a
date without totally obliterating things
with Dick. He, however, felt slighted
by my decision. To him, our emotional
attachment was clear despite our efforts
to just hook up, and my ignorance to it
was rude and hurtful. Further feeding
the miscommunication, both Dick and I
thought that because we were just hook-
ing up, sharing such emotionally laden
sentiments was not only unnecessary but
uncalled for. After my date with the slyly
attractive Bub, though, Dick and I react-
ed in an ironically emotional way. This

could only mean that a re-evaluation of
our supposedly nonemotional hooking
up was necessary.
In the end, Dick and I discarded the
rules of the homoarchy and decided that
we have a good thing, even if its logis-
tics were never made explicit. Now, after
much explaining of what our hooking up
means to us, this is what we've decided
on maintaining: a consistent but defined
hook up, a slight commitment to each
other (but without any complications or
repercussions that inevitably accompany
any relationship) and finally, our shared
emotional attachment ... Just enough to
be cute and cuddly and caring ... occa-
sionally. So I guess Dick and I have
matured beyond the homoarchy: But
even in our pseudo-together, supposedly
uncomplicated hooking up world, there
was a misunderstanding about the rules
we were and were not supposed to fol-
low. It seems, then, that such misunder-
standings are inevitable. Are they?
In the gay world, where the homoar-
chy is ubiquitous, the answer is clearly
yes. Even with Dick, in what I thought
was a completely open and honest rela-
tionship, there were hurdles. Similarly,
after my first date with Bub, he thought
I had eaten his entire apple, if you will,
when in fact I hadn't plucked anything
from his ... Tree of Knowledge. Dick
and I couldreconcile our disparate points

of view, but for Bub and me, the initial
discrepancy in whether or not we were
simply on a date, starting to see each
other or headed toward a relationship,
foretold only further perceptive clashes.
I imagine that many times, gay and
straight people alike meet and appreci-
ate each other to be kind, intelligent and
funny. But there is simply a mismatch in
their views on relationship logistics that
precludes any substantial progression.
I want to take things slowly and date
openly, while he wants to go with the
sometimes emotionally wild flow and
allow for leaps in the typical relationship
linearity. Does this discrepancy call for
a throwing in of the towel or for a rela-
tionship-conditioning process that may
or may not lead to reconciliation?
Certainly a compromise is necessary.
One should not completely alter his dat-
ing definitions or patterns for another, but
one should not be inflexible. Personally,
I'm open to hooking up, dating, having
emotional attachment or being in a rela-
tionship with someone who views things
differently than I ... just as long as I
know if and where we place ourselves on
that fucking omnipresent homoarchy.
Are you outside the homoarchy? Too
coolfor it? A slave to it? Don't believe
that it exists? Tell Steve about it! E-mail
duboiss@utnich.edu.

Paradise lost: Spring break horror stories

A guide to who's where,
what's happening and why
you need to be there ... T

Friday, Feb. 4
through
Sunday, Feb. 6
Sunday

By Emily Fellows
For the Daily
While most people assume that Spring
Break is a week devoted to relaxation, stress-
free activity and a lot of sleep, University of
Mlichigan students prove that this is rarely the
case.
Students who are fortunate enough to go
out of town for Spring Break and students
who spend the week at home often return to
school feeling less rested than before they left.
Regardless if it is partying in Cancun, a quick
road trip, or even staying at home with inten-
tions of lying low, Spring Break has the ten-
dency of making students come back to Ann
Arbor in need for a break. Read on and learn
what makes these Spring Break horror stories
so scary; while we may laugh now, it could
easily happen to any of us ...
Hot tub horror
Matthew, a LSA sophomore, was looking
forward to spending his Spring Break relaxing
at his grandparents' home in Arizona. He was
feeling tense about his business school applica-
tions and difficult midterms and was excited to
get away from everything and spend the week
relaxing with his best friend Jason in the warm
weather at his grandparents' beautiful ranch.
He spent his days laying out at the pool, and the
nights staying in watching movies. His grand-
parents woke up and went to bed early so they
never really got in his way.
However, one night, Jason and Matthew

decided it would be really relaxing to go in the
hot tub in the middle of the night before they
went to bed. It was everything but relaxing when
they discovered Matthew's grandparents naked
in the hot tub together. The rest of the week was
pretty tense, and it made returning to midterms
and business school applications look fun.
Acts of insects
Lauren, a School of Music senior, won a
free trip to Cancun her junior year. The flight
was free, the all-inclusive resort was free and
she never had to worry about buying drinks or
food. However, one morning, she woke up to
discover that even the cockroaches she found
in her bed were free! After a long night, she
woke up to the sun shining on her face and
three cockroaches that were crawling under
her bed. Buenas dias, Lauren!
Frisky business
Sara, an LSA junior, decided to spend her
Spring Break at home in Ohio. Her boyfriend
who goes to Ohio State was going to be home,
and she wanted to spend the entire week with
him. One night, after going to a midnight movie,
they pulled over in Sara's subdivision and start-
ed hooking up in the car. The subdivision was
huge and it was very late at night. They didn't
even contemplate getting caught. However,
once they were barely wearing anything, a cop
knocked on the window and "walked-in" on
their fun. After threatening to arrest them for
indecent exposure, the two quickly got dressed
and were lectured for a half hour.

Monkey business
Josh, a Kinesiology sophomore, went to
Costa Roca with his best friends. Lisa, a
friend Josh always wanted to date, was also
going to Costa Rica. Hoping to impress Lisa,
he spent the month prior to the trip work-
ing out and buying new clothes - he even
changed his hairstyle. However, regardless
of all the time and effort he put into look-
ing good, he wasn't looking too hot when he
was bit by a monkey on an exotic tour. His
arm was throbbing and he started to sweat
profusely. After being rushed to the hospital,
Josh ended up in great health. Unfortunately,
he never got with Lisa.
'Top'-ic of conversation
Ashley, an LSA senior, spent her sopho-
more spring break in Acapulco with two other
sororities and two fraternities. Everyone was
hanging out in the pool at a bar that was in the
middle of the pool. Everything was going great
until her best friend, Ali decided to untie the
top piece of Ashley's string bikini. Because
Ashley was extremely intoxicated, she didn't
realize her bathing suit top was no longer on
her. Once Ali started throwing her suit in the
air, Ashley was very eager to get it back. Jump-
ing up in the air as Ali threw the bathing suit
up in the air several times, Ashley attempted
to get her bathing suit back, flashing every-
one in the pool. Several pictures were taken,
videos cameras were filming, and to this day,
she has many more nicknames than she could
ever imagine.

Nature's bad call
Lauren, an LSA sophomore, was laying out
with her boyfriend at the resort's pool in Jamaica.
The combination of the scorching sun, the mixed
drinks she consumed all afternoon and the pres-
ence of her boyfriend were a little too much to
handle. After a quick detour to the outdoor men's
bathroom stall, Lauren and her boyfriend were
shocked to be confronted by the resort's manage-
ment and a cop. Caught in the nude, the two were
escorted out of the bathroom and forced to pay
their way out of being arrested. For the rest of the
trip, she opted to go to her hotel room when she
needed to use the bathroom.
Food follies
Andrew, an LSA senior, spent his junior
year spring break in Paris. Frustrated by the
expensive cuisine, he and his friend decided to
skip their planned lunch with the rest of their
friends and go to a more economically friend-
ly restaurant they had seen the day before.
However, wasting money on overpriced food
looked very appealing after he discovered two
spiders crawling in his pasta. Bon appetit!

Friday
"Coming to America": M-Flicks
will show this classic Eddie Murphy
comedy Friday night at 8 p.m. in the
Natural Science Auditorium. Free.
Jazzin': The UM Jazz Ensem-
ble will perform pieces of modern
dance set to jazz music at the Power
Center. The event begins at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and $15 ($9 with a
student ID).
New Beat Happening: Pop bands
Tally Hall and The Midnight Special
will perform at the Michigan Union
U-Club. The event begins at 8 p.m.
Free for students. $5 for all others.

Saturday
Conducting Master Class: Lorin
Maazel, music director of the New
York Philharmonic, will offer this
class at the McIntosh Theater at the
School of Music. The class begins at
12 p.m. Afterwards, from 2 to 4 p.m.,
master classes for many instruments,
including the cello, tuba and trumpet,
will be offered in different rooms in
the School of Music. See www.ums.org
for more information.Free.
Panel Discussion: Members from
the New York Philharmonic will dis-
cuss life in the orchestra and the transi-
tion from university studies to full-time
musicians at the Briton Recital Hall at
the School of Music. The discussion
begins at 4 p.m. Free.

New York Philharmonic: The
world-renowned orchestra makes its
return to Ann Arbor for the first time
in 33 years, performing works from
Mozart and Mahler. The performance is
at Hill Auditorium and begins at 8 p.m.
The Sunday performance is at 4 p.m.
and will featuresworks from Dvorak
and Bart6k. Tickets are $10 to $90.

WinterNot-So-Formal: Avarietyof
punk, dance and rock bands - includ-
ing Bantha Fodder and The Boxcutters
- will perfom at the Blind Pig at 208 S.
First St. The event begins at 8 p.m. and
is open to all ages. $5 cover.

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