(not a photo of anyone I know!)

The relationships you begin to develop with fellow bloggers reminds me a lot of those you have with "real" friends.  With some people, you grow closer.  With others, you lose touch completely or simply grow apart.

I’ve always considered my friendships important.  When I got married, I lost a few friends.  This was very upsetting to me, although I understand that it is a normal occurence when a couple falls in love.   Suddenly, there’s a new person mixing it up with your buddies.  And this person is not just a "another buddy."  This person gets a lot more of your time than a usual friend.   Think of Yoko Ono and the Beatles. 

Is there an equivalent to this in blogging relationships?  Recently, my blogging-friend Modigli moved from Cleveland to San Diego to be with her new boyfriend, another blogger named Dating Dummy.  This posed a problem for me.   Do I need to become the blog-friend of her boyfriend?  Should I say hello in his comments so he knows I exist — or does that make me look like I’m butting in?  What if her boyfriend hates my blog?  Will Modigli abandon me as well?  What is the proper online etiquette, Emily Blogpost?

(Look, I know this sounds a bit neurotic.  But give me some slack.  I’m an emotional Pisces).

I consider myself "sort of" friends with some of you.   But lately, I’ve been wondering if becoming too friendly is bad for your blogging. 

One of my first blog crushes was with Brooke.  Every day, I would write a flirtatious, sexy comment on her blog.  Then, a month ago, she invited me to IM with her.  You can imagine how excited I was to do this.  But you know what? … something terrible happened — we became friends, which completely de-fanged me as a sexy stud.  We talked about family and work and blogging.   After all that, talking about her boobs just seemed sleazy, even for me.   She’s a really nice woman — and a dedicated teacher.  Getting to know her turned me from guy in heat to the "gay friend" who she feels comfortable with to gossip and talk about her new shoes. 

So much for friendship! 

Now when I write a comment on her blog, I’m as dull as dishwater.  Since I now respect her as an individual, my comments are pretty much, "Great, Brooke!   Keep at it, my new friend… and I mean, a friend in a non-sexual way, of course."  Boring.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I soon find myself erased from her blogroll.

While I love my online acquaintances, I sometimes have to remind myself that you’re NOT my friends, despite all the time we spend together.  

A couple of weeks ago, I learned that two of my real-life friends from New York, Rob and Barry, read my blog every day.  That’s exciting to know, and a little scary.  I hope they don’t think I turned too crazy out here in California.  I haven’t  become a Scientologist… yet.

I know both Rob and Barry pretty much since birth.  We all grew up in the same Flushing neighborhood, and attended the same schools until college.

I’ve written about Rob a couple of times (here, here, and here).  Of the three of us in school, he was the least studious in his classes — which means, naturally, that he is now the one who makes the most money and works for a prestigious company in Manhattan.   Which only goes to show that school isn’t everything.  I’m sure Rob learned more about ambition and work skills from being a paper boy and a hot dog vendor at Shea Stadium than I did studying algebra night after night.  Rob has a beautiful wife, a son, and another child on the way.

Barry is married with two children, and just got a new sales job that is going to take him around the country.  He lives on Long Island.  His two sons are turning into little athletes, taking karate, soccer, and every sport in the book.  This amuses us to no end, since Barry and I were awful athletes.  We used to sneak out of gym just to avoid "climbing the rope."  I think the myth of the non-athletic Jewish man is ending with his kids.  Barry is also the funniest person I know.   Seriously.  I can sit in a diner for hours with him and listen to his bullshit.  There is a bit of Barry’s personality in my "penis" character, something I’m sure he’ll be glad to hear.

You know how you get nervous when you introduce different groups of friends?  Will they like each other?

Regular readers, may I introduce you to Rob and Barry, who I know are lurking.  Whatever I learned about friendship, I learned through them.

Rob and Barry, may I introduce you to this weird assortment of people, most who I don’t know, who come to visit here.  They are the reason I haven’t called you as often lately.   I’ve been too busy "blogging."  I know you understand why I’m doing this  (Yes, I do think some of the women are really hot in real life). 

See you soon on my next trip to New York!