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Warm Bodies

With the exception of your closest friends, and you know who they are, most friendships are like a McDonalds drive-thru: A matter of quick and easy convenience.

Let’s face it: Particularly for single people, niche friends are the lifeblood of existence. We need, as a candid friend once described, "warm bodies" to surround ourselves with to help bridge the gaps between relationships and work. These kinds of allies fill social calendars and beach and ski rentals while simultaneously creating a false yet strong sense of security.

Could use a date for a family wedding so the relatives will stop whispering that since you’re still unattached you can’t possibly be heterosexual? Email Jill.

Want to ride the coattails of a stud friend to a seamless hook-up at a Green Rock Happy Hour? Contact Phil.

At last check, I had seven groups of friends that I can call upon for entertainment. Some friends actually fall under all seven categories simultaneously:

1) "Watch sports with" friends: Outside of sports it is possible to socialize with these people, but even when we’re out at Madison's or Morans; we always end up talking about the game instead of ogling unsuspecting women.

Sample conversation from last week:

Mike: "What do you think of the blond with the belly ring over there?"

Chris (apathetic): "Yo, what’s the Nets score? I can’t see with that blond with the belly ring blocking the TV."

Joe: "36-24..."

Chris: "Nets?"

Mike: "No, her dimensions."

Chris: "Dimensions? They’re playing man to man."

Mike: "What?"

Chris: "Huh?"

Joe: "Forget it."

2) "Can only hang out with if I have a girlfriend" friends: These people, suddenly horrified by their former pathetic single status, only extend invites and eVites when a perfectly allocated "boy-girl-boy-girl" seating scenario exists. In their minds, stags are a logistical drag for dinner parties; while coming to Hoboken’s crowded bars (where these couples likely met) is absolutely out of the question. Oftentimes, friends that find companionship will only continue the friendship on more than a yearly get-together basis if it appears that you are making the pivot to that lifestyle. Otherwise, having three months of fun with...

3) "Sharing shore house with" friends: Try as you might in the cold weather months, you can't hang out with these folks unless it's over 80 degrees and all involved are stumbling at sea level. Fall, winter and spring nights out with sharing shore house friends bring forth the realization that outside of alcohol, air mattresses, and an affinity for salt air, there is absolutely nothing you have in common with these people.

4) "Living in other cities" friends: Great for visiting and cheap lodging. These relationships, if maintained, present the least amount of issues.

5) "Email to pass time at work with" friends: The most expendable and recyclable of all categories. These electronic acquaintances generally have the least taxing jobs and therefore have the most time to conversationally correspond and/or send joke files that are large enough to freeze the hard drive of the computer from "WarGames." E-friends may also fit into any of the categories above, but the moment you are face-to-face an email buddy, there seems to be nothing to actually talk about. Consequently, email becomes the only way to truly communicate.

Invariably, proactive email friends are single, so the moment one finds a significant other to write every frivolous thought to instead of you; this cyberspace friendship will cease to exist.

6) "Lingering high school" friends: The remaining 10% of what was once a juggernaut social group from the original high school network. These are the fortunate souls that are most likely to make the final cut when eventually deciding who qualifies for the wedding party roster.

7) "Former girlfriend but cool enough to stay friends with" friends: When speaking of failed romances, there are three stages:

1) Meeting stage
2) Honeymoon stage
3) Break-up stage

How smoothly Stage 3 goes will determine if your ex will become a trusted advisor or just a memory. These days, it seems more young adults are staying friends with their former companions, simply because we have become selective to the point that the breakup isn’t taken as personally as it once was.

And no one knows you better than that person who listened to you ramble during your most honest of moments (see: The first 2-11 minutes after ejaculation).

When reflecting on the strength of my friendships, sometimes the thought of faking my own funeral is conjured up just to see the reaction of others in such a situation.

Who will weep uncontrollably?
Who will do the eulogy?
Who will blow the whole thing off because they had Dave Matthews’ tickets?

Then again, after my current seven sets of friends read this story, there may not be a need to "fake" anything...

Joe Concha is a weekly contributor to NBCSports.com and is a feature writer for Hobokeni.com. He is slated to guest star in a mid-April edition of Six Feet Under, Sundays at 9:00 PM on HBO.

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