Sorry to all of the RJ fans out there, but he's all busy with school or a social life so that means two straight posts by me. This one was inspired by an IM conversation that I had with RJ today, so I guess that's his contribution for this week. Oh, and if you find this post offensive, then it was RJ's idea.
We started talking about pepperoni pizza this morning. And by talking, I mean I just IM'd RJ (even though we sit next to each other) and he responded favorably. I don't really mind pepperoni pizza. I guess it tastes okay. According to How Stuff Works (yes, this is really how I spend my Friday night), 35.7% of you would list pepperoni as your favorite pizza topping - the highest of any topping. Despite its popularity, I think pepperoni pizza (specifically, aggressive campaigning on behalf of pepperoni) can be used as a friend/acquaintance screening device.
The theory goes something like this - If you have several acquaintances and are trying to determine which ones you want to upgrade to friend status, invite them over to your house/apartment/office for pizza. Try to get the group to decide on the appropriate topping(s) for your pizza. Most will probably say something along the lines of "oh I don't really care - I like anything." For those people, you can either grant them the upgrade to friend status (if you're looking for flexible, low-maintenance friends) or you can apply another screening technique (other options listed below). If someone requests veggie, or something not found on the average pizza menu, then they're either a vegetarian or just an interesting person, so you can upgrade them to friend status. Everyone needs at least one vegetarian friend. The person that you have to look out for is the person who actively campaigns for pepperoni. I'm not really sure why, but I've never gotten along with most pepperoni lobbyists. Not someone who goes along with or offers mild support to the pepperoni campaign-they're probably decent people. As are people who order pepperoni by the slice, or want a pepperoni-inspired Chicago style pizza. It's the Karl Rove of the pepperoni campaign that you have to look out for- working behind the scenes to get others to support their candidate. I'd recommend severing all ties with this person immediately. If they are aggressively campaigning for pepperoni, just politely ask them to leave.
So maybe the above scenario won't present itself very often. I guess you could just be the type of person that offers instant upgrades to friend status, or likes to just let these types of things happen naturally without applying some type of evaluation process. Or maybe you're the person that would campaign for pepperoni. If this is the case, then we have some other screening criteria that you can apply:
Screening Technique #2 -Think of a band or musician that you are indifferent about. If you hear them on the radio you don't change the station. You know there's probably something better on, but it's not worth the effort to reach for the dial. Hopefully you've got a handful of bands/artists that meet that criteria. Now think about die hard fans of that band or artist. Do they annoy you? Back in the day, Blink 182 fit this criteria for me. The music was harmless but the true fans were annoying. Okay, so take the band/artist with the harmless music and annoying fans, and apply the following screening technique Ask your potential friend to go to a concert with this band/artist. If the candidate accepts the invitation, then just tell them you were testing them and never talk to them again. If they think about it, but then decide that it isn't worth the time or money, then they have passed the test.
Screening Technique #3 - Think of the alcohol that you had your first negative drinking experience with. The one that even the thought or sight of it makes you throw up a little in your mouth. Mine would be Southern Comfort. That was difficult to write down. Okay - now that you've remembered that terrible experience, make a rule that you will never take on a friend that has this alcohol as their 'go-to' drink at a bar. Trust me, you'll be much better off in the long run.
Feel free to post comments with your own friend-screening criteria. Or you can disagree with mine. You won't change my mind on this (Kate has tried unsuccessfully for the last four years) but you can disagree if it makes you feel better.
Oh, and my sincere apologies go out to all of the pepperoni pizza-campaigning, Blink 182-listening, Southern Comfort-drinking people out there. You know who you are. It's not too late to change your ways.