Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Chandler Bing

Hi, hi, hiiiiiiiiiiiii! How is your 2013 going so far? Good, I hope? For me, it feels like every other year, I have a total birthday-age meltdown when I realize not just how old I am getting, but how old everyone I know is getting. I have a friend with a birthday on the second day of the month/year (January 2nd is the less complicated way of saying that) and I found myself a little panicked that he turned 26. Twenty-six, are you sure? I met him when he was eighteen, so that cannot be right.

Turns out it is, happy 26th year to all of you 1987-ers. Hold your breath, life is a pit of quicksand! Time flies even when you are not having much fun!

To honor the loss of no longer being 25 for the absolute best dude in my life, I shall honor someone who was also once 25…like Matthew Perry when the show Friends aired. (Say what?! Ben, you are as old as Chandler Bing, season two now.)

EINTKILF Chandler Bing
(or Miss Chanandaler Bong)

1. Do not repeat date.
…even if you really, really do not want to be alone on New Year’s Eve. Listen, you guys. Repeat dating is the dumbest thing in the world. I know it seems like a good idea because you guys “already know each other.” I know it seems like a good idea because you have already been together, therefore your number isn’t getting any higher, because that eventually leads to that age old “am I becoming a tramp?” question that you will ask yourself over and over again over a bottle of wine, a box of Kleenex, and an episode of Sex and the City. He/she has in fact not changed at all, or at least not enough for you to justify the insanity of getting back together with someone that you broke up with not one time, not two times, but enough times that we have all lost count.

Look at Janice and Chandler the next time you consider taking back that ol’ flame. It was more than just the annoying voice and the cringe-worthy catchphrase. Oh. My. God.

2. Thanksgiving is the worst.
As any, even occasional Friends watcher is aware, Chandler hates Thanksgivings’ guts. I have explored his grudge before, as has my soul sister Erin, so I leave you with this:

“I know this isn’t the kind of Thanksgiving that all of you all planned, but for me, this has been really great, you know, I think because it didn’t involve divorce or projectile vomiting. Anyway, I was just thinking, I mean, if you’d gone to Vail, and if you guys’d been with your family, if you didn’t have syphilis and stuff…we wouldn’t be all together, you know? So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked.”

Strength in numbers, especially during the holidays. (I kind of hate Thanksgiving too, though it makes sense because I think I am turning into Chandler Bing in my old age.)

3. It is okay to cry, or to not cry.
Everyone freaks out when they find out that Chandler never cries (something they should have realized at this point, but whatever) and he starts to feel bad about it. When everyone talks about things that make them cry: childhood pictures, Bambi (“yeah, it was very sad when the guy stopped drawing the deer”), E.T., Chandler doesn’t budge.

Chandler: No! Look, I don’t cry! It’s not a big deal!
Joey: No! It’s not okay! It’s not okay at all! You’re dead inside!

Monica later tells Chandler that she thinks it is totally acceptable that he never cries, but when she gives him a long scenario about her untimely death and he still doesn’t shed a tear, she gets pissed off.

Chandler eventually cries in this episode, however. What gets him?

Duh. Who doesn’t cry about Ross and Rachel

4. How to smile in pictures.
SPOILER ALERT (just kidding, it is so weak if you don’t know that Monica and Chandler end up together), but when Monica and Chandler try to take engagment pictures, Monica discovers that Chandler cannot smile on command. Again, why didn’t she know this beforehand? Is Chandler a Capricorn or a Scorpio or something? No one knows anything about him!

What we really learn here is that if you are going to marry a girl like Monica (what we would call very high-maintenance), you may have to be okay with your best actor friend as your stand-in for engagement pictures.

5. Making fun of your friends is the best.
During that one fantastic New Year’s episode (How aprop! Did you guys make resolutions? I sure did!), Chandler decides to give up making fun of his friends. Of course, everyone does a bunch of ridiculous things after that like…

…wear leather pants. Chandler eventually cracks:

“I can’t take it any more! So you win, okay? Pheebs? Flying a jet? Better make it a spaceship so that you can get back to your home planet! And Ross, phone call for you today: Tom Jones, he wants his pants back! And Hornswoggle? What? Are you dating a character from Fraggle Rock? Ahh.”

It is okay to make fun of your friends, in fact, it is what separates Your Friends from Everybody Else.

6. The best defense mechanism is humor.
Since Chandler had a relatively dysfunctional family growing up–his father left his mother for the pool boy, eventually becoming a drag queen in Las Vegas; his mother is a romance novelist–he began to rely on humor in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. I could go on listing the jokes Chandler makes in order to prove this lesson, but I, despite what you may believe, have a semblance of a life and I cannot possibly waste the time doing so.

I will leave you with my favorite.

“Let me just say something, because once we get into this, I’m gonna get all uncomfortable and probably make some stupid joke.”

(Because Rachel and Chandler are ahh-dorable together.)

7. How to dance.
In case you cannot recall all of the many times Chandler has busted a hilarious white-boy dance move, some genius created this tumblr in which Chandler dances through a bunch of scenes of other movies, television shows, video games, etc. Best hours on the internet. 

8. Don’t kiss your best friend’s sister.
Still suffering from his millionth Janice break-up, Chandler gets quite toasty at Joey’s birthday party and ends up fooling around with one of his seven sisters, yet he does not even have the decency to remember which sister. To be fair, they all have basically the same name, and the exact same New York accent, so I don’t really blame him. Joey is pretty pissed, until he thinks that Chandler actually likes his sister (Mary-Angela). When Chandler goes to Joey’s family’s house for dinner to attempt a private conversation with Mary-Angela, one of Joey’s other sisters, Mary Therese, ends up making a move on Chandler, outing his lie about not knowing the difference between any of the Tribbiani women.

Joey does not punch Chandler, but he lets one of the girls do it for him.

My brothers were never quite supportive of me even joking about any of their friends, so overall, I say it is probably just a really bad idea to go for your friend’s sister.

Wait, unless your friend is Ross Geller! Double standard lesson! Such is life.

9. Don’t kiss your best friend’s girlfriend.
And Chandler, though he is an incredible friend to Joey for most of the ten years we spend with them, also slips up and ends up falling for Joey’s girlfriend Kathy. Though Joey hooks up with various women throughout the series (duh, he’s Joey), there are few women that he actually calls his “girlfriend.” Kathy, a woman he met in one of his plays or acting class or something, is one of those lucky gals. Of course, Chandler totally falls for her because they get along very well, have similar senses of humor, and she is really, really pretty. When Joey is late to meet Kathy for a date one night, she gives Chandler a very sensual haircut and they end up kissing.

Joey is extremely upset, which is pretty fair, even if I think he is kind of overreacting a little bit because he wasn’t honestly that committed to Kathy at that point. I mean, really the lesson here is to at least ask your best friend’s permission before kissing the girl he is dating, even if it is a casual situation, and especially if your best friend is as understanding of a dude as Joey Tribbiani is.

10. But always kiss your girl friends.
I cracked up searching for pictures of Chandler on tumblr, etc. because I found a whole bunch of memes talking about how Chandler is the king of mastering that ever-so-obnoxious “friend zone,” since he slept with Monica and then married her. Good work, Chandler. That is, in fact, something that I should remember never happens in real life. Usually if you try to cross the line with your best girl friend, it ends up tearing a friend group apart and at least three or four people end up hating each other and then only on occasion do you hang out, ideally going to see a movie so you don’t have to talk to each other about the new people you are respectively seeing that you respectively hate even if her bangs are cute, yet you also don’t have to feel guilty that you have not seen each other in awhile.

Man alive, I am good at making stuff about my life.

Otherwise, you just build that tension with the friend that sometimes you think you should be with and sometimes you think you shouldn’t. But Monica and Chandler did that for a long time too.

And sometimes panic attacks about your life happen and you are in a foreign land and your brother just got married, so you end up making drunk choices that end up being the best ones.

“Then I realized the only thing that matters is that you… you make me happier than I ever thought I could be. And if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.”

Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the adorable.

Oh, and:

(11. You’re not going to die alone.)
Just a reminder because when Mr. Heckles dies, the gang goes through all of the stuff he left “the noisy girls upstairs,” and Chandler has a total meltdown when he draws the similarities between himself and the old man. Mr. Heckles dies alone, and sure, maybe he nitpicked all of his girlfriends for “silly” annoyances, but that does not mean that Chandler was going to end up the same way. Yeah, you guys, I know Chandler is fictional, but I need this reminder like…almost daily, especially when I find myself relating to characters like Chandler Bing or Carrie Bradshaw or Jess Day. (No similarities, but all have “am I going to die alone?” moments.) You are not alone, even if you die unmarried. Marriage is for jerks, anyway.

Rachel: Hey Chandler. Monica just broke my seashell lamp.
Chandler: Neat. I’m gonna die alone.

Also, “not hating Yanni” is a real reason to break up with someone.

(Happy birthday to the Chandler to my…we’ll decide later.)

All images from dearest tumblr.com.

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