If Archie Panjabi Were Your Girlfriend -The Toast

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THE GOOD WIFEPreviously in this series: If Cobie Smulders Were Your Ostensibly Platonic Gym Buddy For Whom You Have Conflicted Feelings

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d have remarkably similar ways of doing the laundry. “Oh, do you stuff everything into the cheapest machine, too, then?” she’d ask, laughing. You’d agree that it is absolutely the worst chore ever, and that includes cleaning the toilet, but the idea of someone else touching your dirty underwear is equally intolerable. (“I always think of what Jenny Slate said about them at the beginning of Obvious Child,” you tell her sheepishly on your first date. Yes, you talk about cream cheese panties on your first date.)

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d end up doing a lot of things you said you’d never do. Like ride a motorcycle, for example. “You sure you don’t wanna have a go?” she’d ask you with a smile. “We could drive down to the boardwalk and do that scene from How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d compete over who can do the fiercest smoky eye. To test out your respective methods, you’d walk down the street together and the only type of street harassment you’d get would be from dudes who stop and say, “Ladies, you look DANGEROUS.” “Yeah?” she’d challenge them, and they’d scamper from the strength of your glower.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, no one would ever dare comment on how exotic you both look, seriously, what are you; they’d be too busy fleeing.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d have a set of luxurious silk pajamas for every day of the week, but you’d also become the kind of person who doesn’t feel funny about sleeping naked.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d have a lot of dance-offs in the kitchen. She would be poised and graceful, of course, because she’s a classically trained ballerina, but she’d also out-goof you so thoroughly that you’d forget to keep track of whatever it is you’re cooking and the smoke alarm would go off, every single time.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d answer the weird texts that one ex-boyfriend sends you. Her responses would be polite but vague, and they’d magically leave him with the creeping sense of having intruded. He’d walk away from them filled with the urge to reflect quietly about whether or not he really needed to send them in the first place, and gradually they’d become less and less frequent.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d be in a loving open relationship, although she’d tease you about the numerous lesbian polyamory books on your bookshelf. “They’re all from the seventies!” she’d laugh. “Where did you even get these?” Whenever one of you got back from a date, the other would want to know all about it. “How was drinks with Hetty?” she’d ask as you join her and Gillian for their movie night. “Great! She would’ve come over, except she has to be on set by 5 tomorrow,” you’d say, as Gill made room for you on the couch and poured you a glass of wine.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d take a lot of classes together. You’d learn about honey, and wine, and coffee, and tea. You’d both become certified cheese mongers. She’d help you overcome your horror of bees in order to visit an apiary to research that novel you’ve been writing for the past three years. “See,” she’d call to you, wearing a veritable glove of happy, fuzzy, buzzing bees while you stand on the opposite side of the apiary in abject terror. “Not scary!”

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d volunteer to do all hands-on bee research for you, probably.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d go on a lot of picnics, complete with red-checkered blankets and woven baskets. “Relax,” she’ll say, rolling her eyes affectionately as you fret over open container laws while she uncorks a bottle of wine. “But I’ve gotten in trouble for this before!” you protest. When a cop comes over to scold you for drinking alcohol in public, she goes full-on Kalinda Sharma on him. She doesn’t quite get him to sit down and join your picnic, but you don’t get a ticket, either.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d be your first and best reader. “Shitty first drafts, shitty first drafts,” she’d remind you soothingly, whenever your pulling your hair out and groaning over the start of another piece.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d go out to dive bars and drink pickleback tequila shots and Buds and kick everyone’s butt at beer pong (you carry the game) and darts (“Stop aiming for the bloody bull’s eye! The point is not to get a bull’s eye, there are rules!”) You’d wake up smelling like deli sandwiches, but you the only one with the hangover so bad it gives you a low-grade fever, and she’d make a fuss over nursing you back to health.

Or you’d go to fancier places and drink jalapeño infused tequila. You’d mix her the one and only cocktail you know how to mix, which is jalapeño infused tequila with limejuice and St. Germain and garnished with a cucumber and yet more jalapeño. “Best damn drink I’ve ever had, babe,” she’d say, but the pitcher would stay sweating and forgotten on the counter after the first round because tequila makes the both want to make out and be horizontal.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d hang out with all your queer and kinky friends and introduce her to your take on whiskey slaps, which are same thing but with tequila. “You know,” she’d growl, tugging you down to eyelevel by your hair, “I’m pretty sure that scene in Thirteen with the whippits wasn’t supposed to be inspirational.” “Yeah,” you tell her, “but it was fun.”

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d be the Faith to your Buffy most of the time, but sometimes you’d switch. She’d declare this out of the blue, just to see you grin at the reference.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d take all your harebrained ideas and run with them. You’re idly thinking of setting up a rooftop garden? She texts you to meet at similar gardens all over the city to brainstorm idea of how to get started, has someone install a ladder to the roof, and makes no mention of the fact that you managed to kill your cactus in college. You want to start mentoring girls who like to write? She forwards you the application with a gentle reminder to get your ass in gear. 

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, no fight would ever be resolved via silent treatment. “What are we, in grade school?” she’d scoff. “Just talk to me.”

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d be able to mediate the fights you get into with your dad, like over whether the word queer is a slur or not. He’d stop saying things like, “If you use the word ‘queer’ it just means you’re an asshole,” and you’d never end up yelling, “WELL WHY DON’T YOU READ SOME QUEER AUTHORS BEFORE YOU MAKE JUDGMENTS!” She’d gently remind you that he means well and is trying, which is more than some people get, and would be able to talk to him in such a way that he’d agree to read books you recommend, and then would actually read them.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, she’d be totally cool with the fact that you’re pretty close with your parents. Your moms would become besties when you visit London together. They’d go out for afternoon tea while you take your dad on a tour of the Tower of London, and she’d help plan a surprise trip for him to the Outlander set in Scotland.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend, you’d go on lots of weekend trips together, but you’d never know where you were going until you got there. They’d always be based on something you’d mentioned in passing weeks or even months prior. “Where’d you get that?” she’d ask, noticing a paint-by-numbers your grandfather gave you. His garage is filled with them, and he’s proud of every single one. “That’s adorable,” she’d say when you tell her, and a month later you’d be spending the weekend in Maine, in a lighthouse that looks exactly like the one in the picture.

If Archie Panjabi were your girlfriend you’d start every day with a perfect cup of coffee, never too weak, never lukewarm. “What weird dreams did you have last night?” she’d ask, because you always have weird dreams, and you’d rattle them off, embellishing a little, sure, but only because you know just what to say to make her laugh. The cat is purring on her lap, while the dog is happily curled up next to you, and they definitely aren’t be fighting or chasing each other or knocking things over or competing for affection before the two of you are properly caffeinated. The living room is sunlit and warm, the apartment smells like freshly ground coffee beans, and you sleepily count the little dust specks floating in the air.

Christina Tesoro lives and writes in NYC, in an apartment with too many animals or just enough. She tweets, sparsely, @storyqday.

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