It’s a good day to reminisce, my friends. Ten years ago today the last episode of Friends aired to millions, and millions were wiping their tear-drenched faces. The Last One.
SHE GOT OFF THE PLANE.
My love for Friends runs very deep. So deep that I recreated one of their promotional pictures at my wedding.
That’s a great fucking picture. We’re on the left, by the way. I feel like that clarification is necessary.
During the live run of the series, and countless reruns over the last 10 years, I stand confidently by my sentiment that all life events can be traced to an episode of Friends. Oddly enough, even the most unlikely story lines from the series can happen in real life. Believe me, I KNOW. So in honor of this momentous occasion, it’s story telling time.
Many of you might be familiar with the season five episode, The One With Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss. Quick rundown for those scratching their heads: Rachel goes on an interview at Ralph Lauren, and, on her way out, the male interviewer gives her a handshake while leaning toward the door, which Rachel mistakes for an invitation to kiss him on the cheek. She gets called back for another interviewing, thinking it was because of the kiss – hilarity ensues.
But that doesn’t happen to people, this was one of those episode subplots that was far too silly to ever think it could be an actual thing. Right? RIGHT?!
A few months ago I went on an interview in Redwood City, an hour and 40 minutes from my apartment. It took me five freeways and a bridge to get there, but the downtown area was lovely and I had nothing to lose.
Upon my arrival to this sweet little start-up joint, I was greeted by this chic and tall young woman who was the person I had interviewed with over the phone. Awesome, we’re a little acquainted, so my sweat glands were at some ease. Her and I chat about the job, responsibilities, and each other. She’s incredibly chill and seemed like a great person. I met with one other, and then my time was up.
Feeling good, I met up with the chic gal again as she led me to the door. I had my professional notebook (you know, the uselessly padded kind) in my left hand as I opened the door with my right. Propping the door open with my right foot, I turned around to offer her a “hire me” handshake when I noticed her arm reach out, seeming to beg for a hug. Did the interview go that well? I don’t blame her, really, I gave some great anecdotes in there and managed to never laugh when the word “duties” was dropped in conversation (thanks, Chandler). I’d probably want to hug me, too.
As if it happened in slow motion, I went in for the hug. I couldn’t use my left hand since the professional pad of never used paper was there, but I gave her a decent wrap of my right arm. Once I realized she wasn’t hugging me back, I knew it.
I back away slowly, wondering where I misread the signals. I look to my right and notice her outstretched arm, the one I assumed was eager for a hug, was currently holding the door open. My brain started sparking, putting the situation together. This just happened to me. I hugged my interviewer. Must. Recover. So I did what I do in all awkward moments, I threw it out in the open and laid it all on the table.
Me: “Oh god, you were just being nice and normal and holding the door open for me.”
Cool, Chic Interviewer: “[nervous laughter]“
Me: “Wow, I thought it was odd you wanted a hug!”
CCI: “Oh, yea…[nervous laughter]“
Me: “I made it weird. It was me. Well, I guess if nothing else, now we’re sort of friends?”
Me: “Alright, thank you again for your time. I’m going to go die now.”
As I left the building, all I could think of was Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss, and that one of the stranger Friends story lines actually happened to me. This was real life. Thank God it wasn’t a kiss, but OHMYGOD I HUGGED HER. I could not stop laughing at the ridiculousness, and I had an hour and 40 minute drive home to think about what I’d just done.
As with Rachel Green’s story, I, too, was asked for another interview, and the cool, chic young woman thought my hug was pretty hilarious. But that’s where it stopped. I didn’t get further than that follow-up interview. Guess I should’ve thought more seriously about a follow-up boob graze to my initial hug. Rachel accidentally touched her interviewer’s crotch on her second interview, and she got the job. Total missed opportunity.
Regardless of the outcome, the importance of this story is that Friends continually breaks the barrier of television hilarity and real life embarrassment. Sure, they may have been six extremely attractive people with apartments their jobs never seemed to be able to cover and more time on their hands than normal, but their lives live on through our own – sometimes inadvertently.
Here’s to you, Friends!