Fiction · 03/13/2019

Sixteen Bios My Best Guy Friend (BGF) Rudely Rejected When I Was Just Trying To Help Him Develop His #Branding For His First Published Story


“My BGF teaches English literature at an average, unknown state university, where other than the chili pepper on his Rate My Professor, from which he derives an intense and somewhat perverse personal pleasure, he has not won an award since the fourth grade.”


“My BGF has worked at Sports Authority and The Old Spaghetti Factory, as well as a typical smattering of pre-publication blue collar jobs, the sort writers think make them Look Cool. He now teaches at an average, unknown state university, which probably just makes him look like your typical liberal writer, living off the government while brainwashing young people into reading books and hating Trump. But seriously, though, isn’t he cool?”


“In the fourth grade, my BGF won an award for Most Likely to Break Hearts. Who gives a fourth grader this award? It pretty much pre-destines kids to follow in the path of destructive gender and sexuality norms. I mean, even if they go on to get an education including some basics of feminism (which he did), they’re still developing into Bros. Like, I’m not saying this award excuses his behavior, but it sort of suggests some of his formative psychology.”


“Like many other white men from rural America, my BGF spent his teens and twenties working what Michael Kimmel might refer to as ‘Bro’ jobs, the sort where you learn to hate both yourself and the women around you, and despite later feminist training, still use a hidden code of masculine rhetoric to manipulate other people’s emotions to your advantage.”


“I frequently see female students dropping by my BGF’s office, bringing him lattes and batting their long lashes and flipping their blond hair. It’s disgusting. Once, he emerged from this sort of meeting to tell me he couldn’t believe Jenny had just invited him to Vegas. VEGAS!!! Didn’t he take the mandatory training we’re all supposed to take so that we don’t find ourselves in awkward situations with students and colleagues?”


“Once, working late at the office, my BGF and I accidentally found ourselves in a compromising position. I don’t want to divulge details, but I do think it might be necessary to file a report with HR.”


“My BGF is a total asshole. He is pretending he has no idea what I’m talking about, but I know he’s read Judith Butler and Maggie Nelson and Rebecca Solnit, and his flippant nonchalance and flagrant mansplaining are really pissing me off. Did I mention he hasn’t even won an award since the fourth grade??? Where does he get off acting like he’s so accomplished?”


“My BGF broke my heart and ruined my life.”


“My BGF wants to thank his best pal for her endless patience with him as he figures out who he is as a Man and as a Friend. He’s honestly not sure why she sticks around.”


“My BGFWho? Him?


“One night, I went out for a glass of wine with My BGF’s wife. I learned he’s pretty much useless at home. This explains a lot. She, apparently, does all the cooking, cleaning, practical household maintenance … she even does plumbing! I mean, she’s crazy talented! Clearly, he does not deserve her. He seems to have gotten most of his jobs in life just based on charm and wit. I encouraged her to leave him.”


“My BGF’s first published story went over swimmingly. It was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, won a Best of the Net, PEN/Emerging Writers, and his next piece is now slated with The New Yorker. What the fuck.”


“I don’t know why My BGF thinks he’s the next Dave Eggers. He will never be as famous as Dave Eggers.”


“I’ve recently taken to calling My BGF my BWF (Best Work Frenemy). I may have to rewrite all his past bios to reflect this change.”


“My BWF’s wife finally left that douchebag. She and I are going on a vacation next week — with Jenny! — to Vegas. My BWF’s first novel, a humorous story about office romance, has been nominated for the Faulkner, and we’re all going to Vegas to avoid the ceremony. I mean, if he wins a Faulkner, we’re going to lose our shit.”


“My BWF is the recipient of awards from PEN/Faulkner, Best of the Net, and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. He is the author of Office Romance is a Terrible Idea: How to Avoid Alienating your BWF (Best Woman Friend) [I know, right? he totally stole and appropriated my acronym!]; Even if Your Chili Pepper Makes You Feel Like a Badass, Do Not Go to Vegas with Your Students; and I’m Sorry I Fooled Around and Also Thank You for Fixing the Roof: A Desperate Plea to My Wife. He teaches at an unnamed state university, where he is pretty miserable and lonely, but where he continues to accumulate accolades for his humor writing. He’s sort of sorry about that award he won in the fourth grade. Who gives a nine-year-old a free pass to be an asshole?”


Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of the interdisciplinary collaboration (with visual artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios Books, 2017), the chapbook Yesterday, the Bees (Floating Bridge Press, 2015), and the poetry collection Rust Fish (Lost Horse Press, 2011). Recipient of a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation as well as a Residency in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Maya teaches creative writing for Central Washington University (a state institution which she doesn’t mind naming here) and edits poetry for Scablands Books. She lives in the Inland Northwest with her human and non-human animals. Her actual BGF is not an asshole, and he admires this story. Learn more about Maya at her website:, or follow her on Twitter @MayaJZeller.