Kelsey Rohwer: The art of the third wheel

A third wheel, according to Urban Dictionary, is, “one who deters the socialization of a couple, perhaps when being invited out of pity or through a feeling of duty.”

This is dead wrong. Much more goes into being a third wheel than pity and obligation for the odd one out. In fact, the third wheel role is one to take on with pride – an art form which you can make all your own.?

Though I joke a lot about how GW has as many couples as Charlie Sheen has brain cells, I currently find myself in a seemingly rare position. In my top tier of six girl friends, each and every one has a boyfriend.

As a result I third wheel often, and I have, sadly, perfected the act. So whether you share my couples conundrum or just want to see your love-obsessed best friend again, heed my advice and follow the cardinal rules, because you will need to master the art of the third wheel.

Rule #1: Never ask to be invited – let the couple come to you.

Asking to be a third wheel is the gravest crime a single person can commit. Do not be desperate, be desirable.?Be charming and witty, and they will bring you into their couple’s time.

Rule #2: Never confuse third wheeling with an actual date.

You are there because the couple allowed you to be. Respect that. At the end of the meal always offer to pay for yourself. Don’t flirt (except maybe with the waiter). Keep your hands to yourself, and avoid all under-the-table foot contact. Do make eye contact, though, but not in a creepy way.?If alcohol is present, limit yourself; you can go crazy after you ditch the married couple.

Rule #3: Rein in the chitchat and unleash the banter.

Third wheels are brought along to entertain. They don’t care that your dad is coming to visit Monday or that you got a B on your midterm. They can small talk with anyone, but – as a person who they both see as platonic and non-threatening – they can only be sarcastic and joke with you. I recommend brushing up on “The O.C.” episodes. No one can banter like Seth Cohen.

Rule #4: Share your crazy single-life stories

Come prepared with some crazy unattached life epics for your next third-wheeling occasion. Couples are coupled up, which means they likely have fewer wild stories than you do. Whether they deny it or not, one reason they bring you along is to momentarily live vicariously through your hot mess of a single life while they pretend to pity you. For example, after you finish telling the story about how a 40-year-old creeper bought you a drink at Blackfinn Saloon because you knew all the words to a Justin Bieber song, they will look at you with sad eyes and say, “Oh, don’t worry. You’ll find someone.”?

Deep down, they wish that kind of shit still happened to them.

Rule #5: Allot time for couple cuteness

They are going to want to show off and make it seem like being in a couple is the greatest thing since Gallery in Ivory announced it would stay open until 2 a.m. Do not make disgusted faces during this time. Just smile and say things like, “you guys… too cute.”

While you might think that you’re only entertaining your couple friends when you third-wheel it, they’re not the only ones who benefit – there are perks for being a third wheel, too. Sure, female third wheels occasionally get drinks and cabs paid for, but there’s an even bigger reward – for both girls and guys.

The largest incentive to refine the art of third wheeling is that the couples will share their other single friends with you, exclaiming, “We know this guy/girl who would be perfect for you, he/she is so funny!” This basically translates to, “Thanks for hanging out with us, now here’s my super hot friend for you to make out with.”

See, if third wheels were paid, a couple’s other single friends would be their form of currency.

And payday is sweet.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.

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