December 13, 2004

What a DCB

I don't know if every group of friends behaves in the way MY group of friends does, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were something universal about the following story:

Here's what goes on:

A male member of the group of friends starts dating a woman. He's had some relationship ups and downs in his life. But this chick appears to have potential. We all meet her, at one of our group gatherings. She makes her "debut". Our friend seems to be really into her, and she herself seems very nice, and worthy of his interest. We approve, we send him emails the next day: "I really liked her!" You know ... affirming him, yadda yadda... Then ... 3 months later ... when this woman has revealed herself to be controlling and insane ... and when she has broken up with our beloved friend, saying kind of mean things to him... we all turn on her as one. Viciously. We say things like: "God, I KNEW there was something weird about her." "I never liked her." "She's not right for you, dude - you're better off."

You know. You basically back your damn friend up.

It would have to be a really extreme situation for me to NOT back my friend up, in the initial meeting of someone new in his life. Like ... if she slapped him across the face in public while I was standing right there, as a witness. Or if she murmured to me while he was in the bathroom: "I'm just after his money. I think he's actually an asshole." If something like THAT occurred, then I would blatantly be a tattle-tale, and report it all to my friend.

My friendships are sacred to me. You DO. NOT. mess with a friend of mine.

Anyway, back to the scenario I described in the 2nd paragraph:

-- Friend starts dating girl
-- Friend brings girl around
-- We all like her, affirm his choice
-- Girl breaks up with friend, after saying mean things to him
-- We all turn on her, affirm his single status, and say "Good riddance"

Maybe we're all just hypocrites, I don't know. But it seems to me that ... there are a lot of things that are just not my business, and I respect my friends' intelligence enough to make their own choices. I can back up pretty much anything, if I trust my friend is acting intelligently and of their own free will. If I see a friend of mine in an abusive situation, then all the rules change of course ... but I basically have a very simple rule: Back. Up. the. Friend.

And so I am sorry to say that I missed the most recent "let's trash the girl who just broke up with our dear friend" gathering - sounds like it was a doozy. Everyone got together, basically to hear the story, to help our friend feel better, and then ... to TRASH THIS WOMAN. (The trashing also goes under the heading: Make friend feel better.)

Here are the pertinent facts:

1. She referred to herself as "damaged". "I'm damaged ... " I think she actually did have some "damage" from some kind of accident, not sure, but it became, for her, one of her defining characteristics. "Damaged".

2. She owns a cabin in upstate NY somewhere.

That is all you need to know. Basically, during the conversation when everyone heard the story, backed up our friend, and trashed the now ex-girlfriend to show their support ... someone referred to the "ex" as "Damaged Cabin Bitch."

"So, now ... what did Damaged Cabin Bitch say next?"

Damaged. Cabin. Bitch. And that is ALL we can call her now. I wasn't even THERE and it has caught on like the plague.

"So remind me, how long did he date Damaged Cabin Bitch?"

"Has he dated anyone else since Damaged Cabin Bitch broke up with him?"

Naturally, we have to turn it into an acronym.

"God, I hope the next girl he dates isn't a DCB."

I have no idea why I just wrote this story down, except to say that we were all laughing so freakin' hard about "damaged cabin bitches" this weekend that I almost peed my pants. It is SO hostile, and SO random ...

Stay away from DCBs, man, stay away from DCBs.

Posted by red | TrackBack

I had a friend who dated this one chick who was cool for a while, then turned out to be this insecure psychotic bulemic. We called her "The Vomitting Succubus".

Posted by: Emily at December 13, 2004 01:34 PM


Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 01:35 PM

Over the weekend, my friend was trying to talk me out of dumping a perfectly nice boy I've been seeing by giving me a run-down of all the men in my past. Among them:

White-Trash Verbal Abuser
Mr. Impotent
Mr. I-Have-A-Girlfriend-but-I'd-Like-You-To-Be-My-Plan-B
Drunk Boy
Not Trent Reznor

Posted by: jess at December 13, 2004 02:10 PM

"Not Trent Reznor".

I like that one. I mean, not the guy himself, but the nickname.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 02:19 PM

That's the most I've laughed out loud on a post in a long time......thanks.

And yes, you always back up your friends, because they are no more perfect and flawed than you are.

Posted by: Easycure at December 13, 2004 03:56 PM

So, don't any of you wonder what YOUR EX's friends say about you... I sure do.

I'm pretty sure my ex's probably named me: Considerate Humorous Intellegent and Cute Guy
-or- CHIC Guy for short

(Wife walks by computer while typing this, rolls eyes, smacks me in the back of the head and says: "Get back to work"... I KNEW I shouldn't have worked from home today!)

Posted by: JFH at December 13, 2004 04:03 PM


Of course my ex-es and their friends would ONLY refer to me in the most complimentary terms. They would never call me, for example:

Obsessive Sleepwalking Wack-Job

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 04:11 PM

I am positive, however, that they would refer to me as:




At least this is how I comfort myself on long winter nights.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 04:13 PM

Ha. My last ex is probably still too drunk to realize we even broke up.

Posted by: Emily at December 13, 2004 04:16 PM

Emily's ex, holding his 4th shot of Jaegermeister, thinking to himself: "Wow, Emily's been in the Ladies Room an awful long time."

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 04:27 PM

What if the break-up happens after a year or two? You've gotten to know the new person, you like them a lot, and suddenly there's the break. Do you still turn on the new person? What if your original friend is the creep-de-jour?

I became friends with someone about ten years ago. He had a huge circle of friends, all very interesting and fun to be with. I felt like I had been cast as a "featured extra" in the party scenes. Frankly, in those getting-to-know-you first days/weeks of friendship or whatever, I want to play opposite the lead.

About a year into knowing him, he was praising me as a great friend and said, "You know, you are definitely in the top 6 now."

I immediately thought of Big Chill and wondered, was I Glenn Close or Jeff Goldblum to his Kevin Kline?

Posted by: Stevie at December 13, 2004 05:15 PM


Well, I've been friends with this guy since I was 16 ... he is no creep du jour. He has relationship issues, like everyone does, of course ... he's not perfect! But my general rule is: I back up the friend.

Extreme circumstances (abuse, drug abuse, stalking, general weirdness) will cause me to break the "back up the friend" rule and tell it like it is.

I mean, hell - it's not about whether or not Damaged Cabin Bitch is a nice person or not. I met her. She was very nice! It's just that directly following the break-up he was bummed out and needed a pick-me-up.

And "Damaged Cabin Bitch" was born.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:20 PM

I agree totally. He's damned lucky to have friends like you.

Posted by: Stevie at December 13, 2004 05:23 PM

Oh, and of course there are other cases where this tactic will not apply.

My first boyfriend and I had the exact same group of friends. We were equally a part of the same group - we were all in the same college crowd. When we broke up, it was very messy, very painful, and pretty touch and go for a while. "Can we invite Antonio to the party if Sheila will be there?" "Will Antonio be mad if we only invite Sheila?"

A couple years later when Antonnio got married and they were all invited to the wedding, I definitely felt betrayed and weird about it - even though I COMPLETELY understand. Of COURSE they would go to the wedding! They weren't just MY friends, they were his as well.

It's all worked out in the end, though. just this past year, one of my friends had a birthday party - and he and I were both there - and everyone had a fantastic time, including he and I. It was gorgeous!

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:24 PM

But then again, I am not a DCB, and neither is he, so that might have something to do with it.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:25 PM

Oh and Stevie:

Isn't it amazing how pretty much any situation in life has its parallel in The Big Chill?

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:26 PM

For example: when I came home from ireland, I had a good 2 or 3 days when I was totally Glenn Close in the shower.

But while I was in Ireland, I was much more along the lines of Mary Kay Place hanging out with all the guys at the funeral.

And on and on and on ...

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:27 PM

Right. That's the awkwardness and that sense of being ranked in some sort of hierarchy of friendship based on length of term, access, account balance, etc., that I find weird. I mean, when we were all friends it was egalitarian, but when a couple would break up it was as if old maps or contracts were brought out to determine where everyone fitted now.

Posted by: Stevie at December 13, 2004 05:29 PM

I'm usually Mary Kay Place.

Posted by: Stevie at December 13, 2004 05:31 PM

Okay - I'm William Hurt when I'm by myself; Mary Kay Place at work (usually); try to be Jeff Goldblum at parties; and Glenn Close when someone needs to share my husband for an evening (just kidding). I'm never JoBeth Williams or the TV action guy, ever.

Posted by: Stevie at December 13, 2004 05:35 PM

This is actually a very fun game.

I also am never the Jo Beth Williams character (but who would ever even admit it if they were?)

For the most part, I am Mary Kay Place ... although the rant-y verbose intellectualized Jeff Goldblum is definitely a huge part of my personality. I'm not as distant from everything as he is.

I am William Hurt in moments of deep honesty - I'm the one who will just say the truth, in the middle of a huge group, no matter how awkward it is.

And when I'm upset? I'm Glenn Close in the shower.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 05:52 PM

Yes, this pattern has repeated itself numerous times with myself and friends; my exes include "Psycho Hose Beast" and "Bitch Princess," among others. We don't have a nickname for my friend's ex- the one who cheated on him and blamed it on 9/11- but all do side-splitting impressions of her.

Thankfully though, I've been with my current girlfriend almost four months and she seems to have broken the cycle :)

Posted by: Steve at December 13, 2004 05:59 PM

"cheated on him and blamed it on 9/11"

That is so freakin' funny and perfect and New York-ish. I can't even stand it.

Posted by: red at December 13, 2004 06:50 PM

See, I wouldn't last a month in New York.

I could never be William Hurt. Not so much the sensitivity angle, but more so from the eunuch angle, certain anatomical parts, uh, hide when the words William Hurt and The Big Chill are mentioned.

Posted by: JFH at December 13, 2004 07:30 PM

Minus the anatomical difficulties, I was William Hurt; the somewhat wayward, pharmaceutically enlightened disappointment, during my early twenties. Now, I am unquestionably Kevin Kline, the solid, dependable Father who still knows how to throw a great weekend-long party--although I might experience some "performance" anxiety if asked to impregnate one of my wife's friends.

Posted by: DBW at December 13, 2004 08:04 PM

I was trying to think which character I'd resemble, but then I thought my group of friends doesn't resemble The Big Chill at all. Too girly. (Even the guys.) We're more like the cast of Little Darlings.

I also felt really named by The Group, when I read that.

I shudder to think what my most recent ex's friends think of me. I probably come off as cold-hearted. Perhaps they call me "Frosty" behind my back.

Posted by: Anne at December 13, 2004 11:01 PM

I'm sure this will sound sexist, because it probably is, but the whole "turning on the ex" thing has always seemed stereotypically female to me. I have (numerous) ex'es who seem to have decided after we broke up that I was a completely different person all along. Meanwhile, I have a hard time thinking of when I have ever changed my opinion about anyone after I got to know them. I've seen it a million times - not just when it happened to me - after the break-up, the ex develops all these completely different attributes that they didn't have a week ago.

I'm not sure I've ever changed my opinion that much about anything or anyone. So consequently I don't understand it.

Posted by: CW at December 13, 2004 11:29 PM

the big chill

another one of thoses movies i've never seen.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at December 14, 2004 08:14 AM


I don't think it sounds sexist. I think it just sounds a bit true. There are after all (duh) differences between the sexes, in outlook on life, and reactions to things. Just the way we are built. Vive le difference, and all that.

Sadly, I do not fit the mold. I wish I did sometimes. I see my girlfriends go from love to hate in the matter of a weekend ... and it seems so much simpler. My sadness when something breaks up lasts so much longer than it should because I can't turn the love into contempt.

If I loved them once ... then I still love them. I mean, not forever, and I won't sit around pining about my college boyfriend when I'm 60 ... but I was madly in love with the guy, and I think I have pretty good taste in men, I'm not a complete idiot, and so obviously he was worthy of being loved like that!!

I do yearn, sometimes, for a simpler outlook.

This post, though, is kind of about the immediate aftermath of a breakup when you rally round the friend and trash the Damaged Cabin Bitch, just to pick up his spirits a bit.

A slight difference, but definitely a difference.

Posted by: red at December 14, 2004 09:24 AM

sheila isn't there gonna be an epilogue???

Posted by: LilB at December 16, 2004 03:11 PM
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