Back in the days of binge drinking and blacking out, oh wait a second, I suppose I should be more specific – back in the days of “Temp, Temp, Temp, Temp, Tempe Roll Call,” an Arizona State University masculinized mantra – so we’re talking freshman year, my older male friends, whom I’d known since braces and natural, unbleached hair, formed an exclusive all boys club to both quantify and qualify their sexual conquests. They called it QnQ.
Decoding the acronym? Don’t be fooled by the aforementioned ‘Q’ words above. I’m not saying I didn’t hang with smart young guys who’d grow up to become successful men, because a decent number of them did; what I am saying is that their clever club name was rooted in shallow male bravado and simple math. Proud members, clearly in an attempt to brand themselves, slapped oversized QnQ decals in the windows of their Honda Civics and, if memory serves me correctly, they even had shirts made. At that time, I actually wished I was a dude, because I thought I could bring value to their image. I was also dying to know what in the world QnQ meant. And I’d always been a fan of t-shirts, I just wanted a damn t-shirt.
I was never privy to any official QnQ mission statement, hell I was only told what the letters actually meant after months of begging one member I’d known the longest and respected the most. And I suspect that he only told me in an effort to shut me up. You see, after some careful, albeit inebriated observation, I could tell that whatever those letters meant, they weren’t positive and my newly single, promiscuous ass was worried it’d been receiving negative Q reviews.
Thankfully, my ally assured me that I had nothing to feel shameful about and confessed this: “It means quantity, not quality.”
Ahh ha. Now there is value in this meaning, but not the kind I’d want to admittedly contribute to. Boys – they lead such different lives.
Being a Smilfy to two young children has its challenges and its joys. Most days, I feel like I’m teetering between the two trying to make sure that one doesn’t greatly outweigh the other because then I might lose my little, learning Smilfy mind.
I simply want this: To be a good role model and a dependable friend, someone the kids can count on. I also strive to be their advocate – their parents define the term polar opposites. It’s also important that I be respected and demonstrate basic disciplinary responsibilities so that I may keep some order on our lives.
So when Caroline was getting ready to start elementary school, she struggled with the fear of leaving her old friends at her intimate private school and making new ones in a gigantic public school. She expressed this worry with wide eyes and such veracity that even I, an adult, was made to believe that this really was “the end of the world.” Goodness, the girl does worry. We’re sort of connected in that way. I’m what you’d call a seasoned worry warrior. It’s important that I keep my cool for her.
In the wake of her worry, Caroline started noticing that her daddy and I seemed to have “a lot of friends.” She was taking note that when we had parties plenty of guests arrived and that when we mentioned a friend it was never the one she thought it was. It was cute to see her try and keep the names straight. Then one day she just imploded, “I just want lots of friends like you!”
It’s sort of strange to write, but that college QnQ experience sprang to mind, so I gave it a Smilfy twist and explained this:
“It’s QnQ, Caroline. That stands for quality not quantity. One amazing, genuine friend is better than a bunch of bratty ones who don’t really care about us. Having a friend is one of life’s greatest joys. This friend is a person to laugh with when something silly happens; cry with when things don’t go your way; call upon when no one else is around; and share life with.” I emphasized the word with because friendship is a partnership.
I continued, “The best part about a friend is that you don’t ever have to break up. You don’t need to dump one friend to be with another. You can literally be friends with countless people you vibe with and keep the best ones for decades. You’re going to spend a lifetime slowly accumulating a great collection of dependable people who you’ll be proud to call your friends. So for now, focus on finding one special one to have slumber parties with and be happy knowing that later in life you’ll have a few more to go to the movies with.”
In true Caroline fashion, she impatiently rolled her eyes at me, but agreed to go with the QnQ roll, “Smilf, Smilf, Smilf, Smilf, Smilfy Roll Call.”