So instead, I'll write about the early milestones in our friendship and chalk it up as a deposition for why I needed to instill all of my bad habits and great ambitions into another human. So here I go.
In the beginning, I was just a graduate student who was starting his first and only semester of work on a Master of Science degree. But on my first day of student-teaching, I walked into my Communication 330 class and saw him sitting in the front row. And when he looked up at me, I knew that I was in trouble.
John was my student for that entire semester before our relationship drifted into bedroom territory. To be fair, though, we were never fully naked together because he refused to take off his socks when it went down – an act that secretly earned him points for originality. I can speak for him now and confidently say that neither one of us ever enjoyed it. It felt forced and hasty, and eventually just became an after effect of buddy binge drinking. But the sex was minimal and seemed like a simple vehicle for us to hang out more. And eventually, it went away, and became something for us to hold against one another when we were hard-up for ammo.
Over time, we discovered that we had almost everything in common, and I declared to my coven of gays that I would "take John Fournier under my wing." I saw a lot of potential in him to be a remarkable copywriter and I wanted him to do great things and follow my lead. Instead, John picked up all of my bad habits and became my soundboard for perpetuating dumb choices. He learned to drink vodka on the rocks and I learned to always keep an extra trick on standby.
John introduced me to a stocky, blonde SAE pledge on the back porch of The Keg one night in early September. He'd recently hooked up with this gorgeous, steamy pile of fratboy, and this was his way of showing off. But at that point in our relationship, John still had a lot to learn about me. Because I slipped the guy my number when John went to piss. And I banged him seven days later.
When John confronted me about it, I fessed up and he left me on my bar stool, shithoused and frustrated. So I did the rational thing: scribbled a note on a bar napkin, forced it into John's hand, and walked away. The note said,
"I'm sorry if I made you think that I was anything but interested in you. The last thing I want you to think is that I don't seriously like talking to you. Have a good night. Be safe. Xoxo. –Ryan"To this day, he still teases me about the napkin – and rightly so. When I look back on it, it was my desperate attempt to cover my breech of The Bro Code with a Freddie Prinze, Jr. move. But thankfully, he Rachael Leigh Cooked, and stuck around.
He is no longer my project, but my best friend. And if I could choose anyone to mine the dark side with, it would be John Fournier. Because he was able to do something for me that I could never do for him.
He knocked my socks off.