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One weekend, while the weather was still warm, GF convinced Southern Belle C and me to go hiking.

I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as an “outdoorsy type.” While some prefer glamping to camping, I prefer staying home to both.

But GF had wanted to go hiking for his birthday—the same birthday his boyfriend broke up with him, so he canceled. It was never a question of if I’d go, the question was: Do I ask if my boyfriend J can come?

“You’re on your own here,” Southern Belle C texted me in a private chat. “My boyfriend will be working all weekend. I’ll ask if I can bring my dog?”

GF had been doing well since the breakup, but it had only been a few weeks, and I didn’t want to ruin his plans if he wanted a boy’s weekend. However, before I could ask, he texted us: “I’m bringing someone, I hope that’s OK!”

Not some friend, someone. “I’ll bring J too,” I messaged.

They were the last to show

up: Southern Belle C rented the car and showed up at my apartment, his dog in the front seat next to him. GF lived a few blocks away: We saw them coming in the distance.

“He’s too tall for GF,” I judged immediately, before they were within earshot.

“Do you think it’s a date?”

“It has to be.”

They approached: Feeling protective, I couldn’t help but already think this boy wasn’t good enough for GF, before he’d even said hello. “Hello,” he said. “Could I run upstairs and use your bathroom before we go?”

Already using me for things. GF, The Hiking Boy and I all went upstairs. “You don’t have to be nice to him,” GF told me while he peed.

“I’m always nice,” I lied. “Is it a date?”

“I think so.”

We drove upstate: Hiking Boy had great taste in music, and I took down the names of several artists I hadn’t heard before, but his conversational skills were lost amongst our inside jokes and reminiscent stories.

The hike was much the same: We got to the top of the mountain and took a break. Head in my boyfriend’s lap, I wondered the best way to support GF post-breakup. We take our friends out to bars for drunk one-night stands, but when they bring someone around we insist they aren’t good enough for them. We push them forward before they’re ready, and sometimes hold them back when they are.

We climbed a mountain, and we turned around. On the way home, we dropped off Hiking Boy and GF first. “Think we’ll see them again?” I asked J in the backseat, holding his hand.

“If we do, you’ll play nice,” Southern Belle C scolded from the front. And so, from the backseat, I decided to take a backseat in GF’s love life. If he needs me, or my advice, or to go camping, or for me to “not be nice,” I’ll be here.

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