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You Must Never Forget Your Nemesis By Proxy

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

The key to lasting friendship is to have the same collection of nemeses. Sure, you could have common interests with your friends, or common workplaces or common ideals. But all of these fail in comparison to the absolute joy of sharing nemeses. Someone dumped your friend? Nemesis. A hostess at your favorite restaurant always ignores you and you don’t know why? Nemesis. A single stretch of highway keeps causing your car to break down? Nemesis. You remember this shared list of nemeses and you keep them for yourself. This is solidarity. This is friendship. This is the kind of bond that allows you to recall exactly who someone your friend met three years ago is because you have stored them in your nemesis folder.

On this week’s episode of Normal Gossip, I was delighted to have on Delia Cai. Delia is a senior correspondent at Vanity Fair, runs a newsletter called Deez Links and has a novel coming out later this fall. Delia also introduced me to a fun new term for discussing shared nemeses: Nemesis by proxy. This is especially useful if you have to explain to someone else why someone you’ve never met (but who once was very mean to your friend) is now your nemesis. We also discussed growing up evangelical before diving right into a story about a bad boyfriend, his dreaded brother, and the disastrous fallout.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

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