The Extra Wheel

4 years ago
Urban Dictionary Definition #1 of Third Wheel: One who deters the socialization of a couple, perhaps when being invited out of pity or through a feeling of duty.
And Numero 6: That one person that does not belong.
Just last week I learned I didn't belong when it came to a birthday celebration dinner for one of my closest friends. In an attempt to throw together something for her with our girlfriends, I learned that I needn't worry about doing much for her, as one of her fabulous married friends  already made dinner reservations for 6... and I wasn't part of them. Couples-only.
This brought me to tears. At work. Outside of the head honcho's office while he was conducting a meeting and I was in clear sight. I felt like the kid who got picked last for the kickball team. Worst of all, I felt single.
I refused to make a stink about it to her when she broke the news to me. I didn't want my friend to feel guilty. I knew she hadn't made the reservations. I also knew she could care less about whether or not I have a boyfriend. I had finally gotten myself to a point where I didn't really care either.
I'm pretty good at extra-wheeling by now.  Hell, even when I had a boyfriend I often found myself hanging with friends and their significant others on my own. I don't think my friends feel bad for me when they invite me out with their boyfriends or girlfriends. I think they genuinely want me there.
At least that's what I tell myself.
If I were to decline invites just because I'd be attending solo, I would miss out on concerts, sporting events, weddings, etc. I'd also come across as a self-loathing insecure Sally. Plus, I always have a good time whether I've got a man on my arm or not. And when I don't, I look at it as an opportunity to get to know my friends' better halves... and sometimes their cute friends.
My friend ended up adding me to tonight's dinner reservation. I know it's 'cause she wants me there, and that's why I'm going. I am still slightly bitter, but will swallow my pride and show up with bells ringing.  I know if the tables were turned, she'd do the same for me. 
Oh yeah, I've been dying to have dinner at this restaurant. Since this is the one and only chance I've ever had to eat there, I may as well take it! Pity party or not... 
But the birthday girl doesn't need to know that.
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