A good friend of mine recently realized that he lives in the same apartment building as Amanda Knox. Being single and in his early twenties, he quickly developed a crush on her. Apparently he's seen her around and talked to her several times, even invited her to his birthday party, etc. The crux of the issue, however, is that he's pretending like he has no idea who she is, even though she's obviously all over the news (especially lately)! I've told him I don't think he'll have much luck with this strategy since clearly he knows exactly who she is, but he's sticking with the feigned ignorance. Is that okay?
But only because Amanda Knox doesn't sound interested. (Did she swing by the birthday party?)
I have lived in the same apartment buildings as other people before—though never Amanda Knox—so I have a general sense of how intra-building relationships function between strangers. Your neighbor offers an uncomfortable "Heh, sorry!" as he blocks the hallway with his bicycle for 20 seconds because he's fumbling with his lock; you put your neighbor's mail on the ground because you don't have a key to her mailbox and you need to leave space in yours for all of the Bed, Bath, and Beyond catalogues you have inexplicably begun receiving. These sorts of communications tend to be brief and casual.
How has your friend even had a chance to convey to Amanda Knox that he doesn't know who she is? Does he pretend to suffer from prosopagnosia, which would render him unable to recognize her face from one interaction to the next, every time he sees her? Did she introduce herself, and did he reply, "I'm sorry, did you say UH-mand? Your name is UH-mand AH-nox?" Or did he just walk up to her in front of the basement washing machine one day and blurt, "You know what's crazy? People in the building have started a rumor that you're Amanda Knox. Isn't that weird? Who even is Amanda Knox and what does her face look like and why is she famous?"
Politely never bringing a subject up does not necessitate feigning complete ignorance of that subject. If I see Michelle Obama in a Zumba class but fail to acknowledge explicitly in our interaction that she is Michelle Obama (say, if I ask, "Do you Zumba often?" instead of "Do you Zumba often...IN THE WHITE HOUSE?"), will Michelle Obama leave that Zumba class amazed by my God-given talent for dance and also the fact that I have no idea she is the First Lady of the United States? Probably not.
Can you imagine how stressful life would be for Amanda Knox if she desperately wanted to date your friend but had no idea how to break it to him that she is Amanda Knox? At what point is it appropriate to reveal to a crush that you have been sentenced to 28 years in Italian prison for a sex murder? And is a person still totally crush-worthy if they are so ignorant of current events that they cannot recognize a major player in a years-long international calamity when she's standing in front of him, asking him to love her?
You can feign ignorance of someone's identity if they are, say, a girl in your class whose name and Favorite Pages you deduce from Facebook. It doesn't really work when a person is famous, and can probably assume everyone knows them. It works even less when a person is infamous, and probably has to assume everyone knows them.
That being said, facilitating pleasant, boring social interactions with her is probably one of the kindest things a person can do for Amanda Knox. If Amanda should ever decide to bring up the issue of her identity herself (for instance, if she says "You might have heard, this has been a very, very, very bad week for me"), your friend should probably acknowledge that he has some idea what she's talking about.
In any event, Amanda Knox already has a boyfriend (probably a blessing in disguise for your friend as, historically, being Amanda Knox's boyfriend has not been the easiest job), so tell him to stop creeping.
I've been meeting people and making new contacts since I started working for a cool L.A. nightclub and having an all around good time. However, my old friends from highschool always embarrass me in nightlife situations (getting wasted and kicked out, passing out, throwing up, taking off their shoes, etc.) so I've been hesitant to invite them out (especially since we're all 22+ and out of college and we should be over that kind of behavior). BUT it was one of my high school friends' birthday, and against my better judgment, I used my connects to get her and her friends into a nightclub. Within 20 mins they got kicked out for one of them being too drunk (passing out) and another one throwing up. Something like this always happens with them when alcohol is involved and so I don't want to hang out with them in nightlife situations anymore. I also don't want to share my new friends/connects with them because I feel like they reflect badly on me. Is that okay?
The fact that a rational person would feel compelled to side with you over your friends in this situation only goes to show what truly rancid hell-demon friends you have, because, child: you sound like a nightmare.
Don't call the nightclub where you work "a cool L.A. nightclub." Let other people call it that in their Yelp reviews. (My friend left her ID in the bathroom of this COOL L.A. NIGHT CLUB but the Jalapeño Poppers were bananas. Not literally! We used a Groupon.) Don't describe your method of living as "having an all around good time"—that's something people with flashy jobs and hair care ritual that lasts more than 30 minutes say to hide the fact they are horribly depressed. Above all else: never—don't you EVER—refer to human beings in the plural as "connects."
It is truly absurd that within 20 minutes of arriving at one of the hottest nightclubs on this side of the street on this block in the City of Angels, two of the people in your party drank to the point that their bodies started to shut down. It is even more unbelievable that "something like this always happens" when you go out with them on promenade at one of LA's chicest saloons. It is not the normal state of things that one person in a group should always be vomiting. If that is the case, your friends' antics likely will not be a problem for you for much longer, as they will soon die.
You are correct that showing up to Sherman Oaks' most complicated disco with a posse of 14 people, all of whom are trying to leave their shoes with the coat check (why are your friends "taking off their shoes"? What does "etc." consist of if the item that directly precedes it in the list is "taking off their shoes"?) reflects poorly on you. It makes you look like the caretaker of a bunch of baby monsters.
That being said, if you place your friends on party probation until they become grown-ups, you cannot go around in the meantime bragging about what a wild, fun time you are having with all of your connects—building elaborate Ferris wheels out of a system of interlocking plastic rods and joints, connecting four, roadtripping across Connecticut (would take about seventy minutes), etc.
With the exception of your parents and maybe your grandparents (if they are not haters), no one on this earth wants to hear about how fun your job is. No one is concerned about whether you have fun. At any given time, they want you to, at best best, be having as much fun as they are—and probably slightly less. No one actually wants to "vicariously" experience someone else's good time; it's just something it's polite to say.
The next time your friends ask you to pull some strings to get them into Club Soda: Flower District you can be honest with them. "I don't like to mix business with pleasure," sounds like the kind of creepy thing you'd say. The important things is not to waver in your resolve.
And also to never ever ever ever ever ever say "connects."
Thatz Not Okay is a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to email@example.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay." Photo via Getty.