Author of the writer of this column, Joe Perrino. Photo provided by Joe Perrino.

 I don’t even know where to begin.

It was a cool, breezy evening in Newport Beach. The seagulls cooed off in the distance, and shrieks from local bars scratched harshly at my ear drums.

There they are across the street. My girlfriend and her friend — I’ll refer to her as “the friend” — celebrating her 21st birthday, stumbling down the block like tumbleweeds across a desert road in Nevada. They were walking with some 40 or 50-year-old guy on a bike, laughing and slurring their words. Right then I knew I was in for a tough evening.

 After some time passed a bar we were waiting in line for let us in, but the bouncer warned us to keep an eye out on the girls and make sure they’d be okay. Of course my friend and I obliged. 

 We sat down at our table, but immediately the friend got up to intermix with people at the bar — even during the times of COVID when you shouldn’t stray from your group.

I got my girlfriend some water and myself a shot because, jeez, the situation worried me. 

Once the friend came back the two went for a quick bathroom break and returned to the table. The friend left to go see her new friends. In the meantime, some guy comes up to my table and starts hitting on my girlfriend while my friend and I are sitting at the table. (I already hate bars to begin with, but dude, fuck off). I told him to have a good night and leave us be.

After 20 minutes of trying to sober my girlfriend up, we went to check on the friend who was not ready to leave. My girlfriend was distraught, in shambles and exhausted already, but the friend was too busy hitting on 35-year-old men. 

We finally got her out of the bar, but that’s when it turned for the worse. 

The friend went off on my girlfriend, yelling and disrespecting her to the point where I had to step in and calm the situation down. I offered to bring the two home, but she declined saying she’ll get an Uber. She then went on a rant saying how I ruined her birthday and am a terrible boyfriend — along with other disrespectful words.

I was in shock. 

I’ve never been talked to like that in my life. I never have problems with people and always try to respect everyone, so to see someone demean my character was heartbreaking.

She ran down the street in a fit of rage. In an attempt to calm her down and get her to come home with us, my friend, who she just met, stepped in as a third party therapist, if you will.

A 20-minute conversation ensued, but the argument that followed was gruesome. Reminiscent of a bloody medieval duel the friend laid relentless bludgeons. Baseless claim after baseless claim. Lie after lie. My blood boiled, but if I stepped in it would only worsen. 

We went back-and-forth for another hour, my friend trying to calm the friend down. Me consoling my crying girlfriend. Only for them to come together one final time for the friend to jab at all three of us. It was something out of a movie.

The friend hopped in an Uber and the three of us returned to the car at which point we all broke into tears. For myself, an anxiety attack followed and I vomited all over the parking lot as if I was drunk too, but one thing was for sure — the demon, I mean friend, was gone.

One beautiful thing came of this, however, It brought us all together in a moment of vulnerability. I realized we all had each other’s backs no matter what ensued, whereas the friend was left cold, alone and angry for no reason at all.

The heinous evening began at Baja Sharkeez Bar in Newport Beach. Photo provided by Joe Perrino. 


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