Omertà. Among the Mafia, it’s the code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to the police. It’s a slight variation of the Italian word, umiltà, which means humility. It’s about having rules and solidarity with the people that you’re closest to.
Maybe all of us in our lives have an internal code of conduct. A way of how we want to live, how we want to behave every day, how we want to be perceived by others. Is it just morality? Perhaps it’s intrinsic inside you, something that you know that you have to stick to at all times, no matter what, no questions asked.
Some rules are nowhere near as important as morality, but if you make rules, you have to stick to them. No possibility at all of deviating from them, no matter how much you might want to. Some rules are meant to be broken, but there are also rules that you can’t break. Omertà.
Ladies have a code, right? You can be damn sure that some boys have one too, although, clearly, they all vary between groups of friends, mine included. Some of the rules are serious, some are ridiculous but they’re all adhered to.
If you’re introducing a friend to a girl that you know that he likes, he automatically becomes the best guy on the planet. You talk him up in every single way that you can. It’s always your job to be a good wingman.
It’s unacceptable to try and hit on your friend’s girl, during, or after their relationship. You’re also forbidden from asking her if she has any friends that she can set you up with. Not cool.
It’s your responsibility to tell your friend if you ever discover that his girl is being unfaithful.
If your friend has a girl, you’re always super nice to her every time that you’re in her company. If he asks for your honest opinion on her, then that’s what he gets. No bullshit, no sugarcoating, no pretence. If we see that girl messing you about and expecting you to do whatever she wants you to, all of the time, a serious conversation will be had.
If your friend is out with a new girl for the first time, and within the first ten minutes he’s not feeling it, you will answer his cry for help text with a call, giving him an excuse to slip away. 100% of the time.
No man hug takes place without a handshake first.
No selfies, even if a pretty girl asks you to take one with her. It’s not happening, they’re strictly forbidden.
Food is never shared, under any circumstances. None of the friends can ever have a sip of anyone else’s beer, but we will buy you your own one.
Neither hamburgers or pizza are ever eaten with any form of cutlery. Ever. Ever ever.
You always offer up the last beer and last slice of pizza, even if you want both.
If two of you walk into a public bathroom at the same time, and there are only three urinals that are free, it’s immediately understood that neither of you takes the middle one. Conversation is a no-no until you both leave.
You do not touch anyone’s laptop or phone to send prank emails or messages. No bueno.
If you go on holiday, definitely do not send us postcards. Offers of duty free are expected though.
Rock, paper, scissors will be used to settle any disagreements about who is right.
If any of us are hanging out and regardless of whether or not the DVD is present, if Die Hard is on TV, it’s getting watched. Best Christmas movie ever.
It’s okay for some or all of us to have that same crush, but we all know the rules. If two or more of us happen to like the same girl, whoever calls dibs first, has dibs.
My best friend is in town for work and we arrange to meet at his hotel for drinks before heading out. I get there just as a message comes through that he’s stuck in a meeting and will be late. No problem, a drink at the bar by myself, it is. A beer in hand and football on the TV, things could be worse. Things are about to get a whole lot better. A girl walks out of the lift, orders a drink and sits down at the bar too. We lock eyes, smile at each other and then I get back to the football. It turns out that she’s into the game as well and also begins to watch. Truth be told, she’s more vocal than I am, which makes me smile and we get chatting. Her friend is running late too, so we spend over an hour talking all sorts of random nonsense to each other. She makes me laugh and smile to the point that I’m not even chasing my friend to see how much longer he’ll be. She’s fantastic company and it doesn’t hurt that she’s super cute. Her friend finally rocks up, so we smile and say our goodbyes with lingering glances. Only then do I realise that I didn’t ask for her number. All I have is her first name and the hotel that she’s staying in, but no one wants to be that creepy guy hanging about all night waiting for her to return.
Shortly after, my friend arrives, apologises, and gets changed quickly. We hug, handshake first though, remember, and we head out. It’s always good to see an old friend and we catch up about everything. We talk shit about sports, what our mutual friends have been getting up to and he tells me about this girl that he’s met. She sounds amazing, but if I ever meet her, she could be subjected to some of the rules. I tell him about the pretty much perfect hour that I just spent with a girl waiting for him and he reminds me of the rules too. It’s just how it is, any of our other friends would think the same. As I don’t have her number, the possibility that anything will happen is highly unlikely though. Drinks go on, long into the night and we leave at closing time. A plan is made, hotel for a quick nightcap and then a taxi for me once we’re done catching up.
We get there and the bar is empty, apart from two girls, sat chatting to the barman. Upon hearing the night porter let us in, they turn round and my friend’s face breaks into a massive smile, at just about the same time as mine. There’s the girl from earlier, how lucky am I? There’s the girl I was telling you about, he says to me. I’m no longer smiling, I’m hoping that she’s not the same girl but I know in my heart that she is.
We get drinks and start talking, but I’m not a big part of the conversation. She looks at me quizzically and you can tell that she’s wondering what’s changed in the space of a few hours, but I can’t tell her. I’m just trying to play it cool now, but that’s not what I want to do. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that there is something between us. He doesn’t click, but then she does as he’s talking to her, she knows. She smiles at me wistfully and I gently shrug. Dibs.
Crushed. I guess that’s why it’s called a crush.
Some things have to remain a secret though. Omertà.