I think I need a break from talking about my inability at relationships (though I did have a two hour talk with TBFC that will need to be relayed later). I know I’ve talked about my friend Ian on several occasions. I’ve also talked bits about my friend FaveDave. But I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about the prank war that ensued last summer between the three of us.
I’m not even sure how it started. I remember that a few years back with an incident involving Ian’s family traveling, FaveDave having a set of the keys to their house, me acquiring a mannequin from the outdoor recreation store that I worked at, and then said mannequin being left in Ian’s bed. We were young and we thought we were hilarious.
And then last summer, I was driving home from visiting Peter at Columbia in New York (completely miserable because I knew he would tell me the next day that he just didn’t feel the same about me, you know the story). When they decided to “cheer me up” by hiding in my bushes and tackling me (in all dark clothing) as I walked towards my house.
I remember exactly when FaveDave and I thought of the idea. We were walking from his apartment in the city to get lunch and were discussing Ian’s imminent departure to live in England for a year, how much we hated him and yet how much we would miss him. As a bit of a back story, I’ve always joked with Ian about how I’m going to end up dating his younger brother, Ben. Rob the cradle, so to speak. We were in college, he was still in high school. Dave and I were joking about how angry Ian gets when I joke about this, and I said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Ben and I started dating while Ian is away?” I can almost hear FaveDave’s genius mind cranking out the next greatest plan. “Technically, Ian wouldn’t have to know that you weren’t really dating Ben…”
Within the day our plan was in action. Before Ian had even left for England we were devising a way to make him angry, laying out all of the blueprints. We had intricate notes. After Ian finally left we sent out a mass email to our friends detailing everything, coercing people to subtly drop hints, then clam up and refuse to speak about the topic. We had Ben in on it (because what high school guy would refuse to date a cute college girl, fake or not?) and we even had Ian’s parents in on it.
In September we started small. Ian and I were talking every day and I started talking to him about this guy I was interested in. I weighed all of the options with Ian: “He’s a lot younger than me, but he’s a lot more mature than you’d think.” Never one to be discriminatory about dating ages, Ian pushed me to just let it happen. “If you like him, then the age shouldn’t be a factor.”
I pretended to take his advice, and then would tell him that I was nervous about going home to see this guy. I told Ian that my younger boy was on his high school’s soccer team (as Ben was). And Ben, in the delight of the conspiracy, had give us a copy of his soccer schedule. I began telling Ian about how this guy and I were getting closer, how we finally kissed. “Have you met his family yet?” he asked. And as I already knew Ian and Ben’s parents fairly well I explained that I knew them beforehand.
By October I was “going home” regularly to see my “new boyfriend”. Ian loved hearing the stories, and wasn’t the slightest bit suspicious. My friends were playing their parts well, talking about how they didn’t like the idea of me dating this guy but admitting to Ian that the reason wasn’t because of age. To fully press home the issue, Ben and I put matching quotes in our instant messenger profiles with each others initials after it. Ian still didn’t catch on.
With Thanksgiving soon approaching, Dave and I were deep in plans involving taking pictures of Ben and me at Ben’s soccer games. Dave even though of the idea of us stopping by Ben’s house on Thanksgiving for me to get pictures with their family, combined with me telling Ian how I would be spending Thanksgiving with my new boy’s family.
But Ian’s cleverness finally broke through one day when he put the pieces together. I still remember the email I got from him after he saw an away message that I had up saying “I love you, BR”. I opened it to read “Wait, BR as in Ben [their last name]? Are you dating my brother?” Before I had a chance to answer his email my phone was ringing. I stifled my laughter, put on my best impression of timid, and acted as though I were scared of the repercussions of him finding out. Ben faced the same scenario, as did Ian’s parents, as did many of our friends. We all played it off incredibly well because Ian was livid. Shut out everybody, ignored us all for the next day or so. Refused to answer phones, emails, messages. FaveDave and I celebrated our success.
Ben finally broke and admitted to Ian that were weren’t really dating, and Ian came back around. Ian admitted that it was one of the most involved and complex jokes he’d ever seen. We haven’t really had any of that proportion since then, but I won’t deny the fact that I’m still waiting for it to happen.
I’m going to need an arsenal of protection. Have you guys ever done anything like this to your friends?