The Day I Realised I Was Monica, Not Chandler

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fuss.

Everyone thinks they’re Chandler. If you went out into the street and surveyed people on which member of the Friends cast they thought they were most like, a good eight times out of 10 you’d hear, “I guess I’m most like Chandler.”

Why do you say that? “Oh, because I’m sarcastic and kind of a dork, a bit socially inept but I can laugh at myself about it. My friends say I’m like Chandler, so...”

Chandler, out of all the characters in Friends (except maybe Richard - serious moustache envy), is the man we all want to be. Ross is too much of a wet blanket, Joey isn't smart enough, and Phoebe is, well, Phoebe. Chandler has it all: he’s smart, handsome, successful, but above all, he’s funny.

Being funny is the best caché you can carry. If you can make people laugh, you can win them over. You can command attention, you can make friends, you get remembered. It’s more useful than being strong, clever or cultured, and while knowing this doesn’t actually make you funny, it sure makes you want to give it a try.

Obviously all of the cast of Friends are hilarious, but within the construct of the show, Chandler is the designated funny guy. He’s the wise-cracking, incisive joker that always has a witty retort to hand. Who doesn’t want to be that guy? I thought I was that guy. That was until my girlfriend asked me the million dollar question: which member of the Friends cast did I think I was?

“Well, I guess I’m most like Chandler really. I’m pretty sarcastic and awkward, y’know?”

“Ugh.” I could hear her eyes rolling. “Literally every guy thinks they’re Chandler. So you make a few crappy jokes and that makes you Chandler? Nah, mate. You know who you are?”

I ran through the list of potentials. Ross, Rachel’s dad, Gunther… it was probably going to be Gunther. Haha, very good, now who’s being Chandler?

“Monica.”

“Monica? The hell I am. What, uptight, fussy, overly-organised and high-maintenance?”

“Well, in many ways, yeah. Actually, that’s not totally fair: Monica cooks a hell of a lot better than you, but still.”

I’m a big boy and I put my own trousers on every day, but that stang more than I expected. “I don’t want to be Monica; who wants to be Monica?” I thought. “I don’t polish every teaspoon to a high shine, I don’t freak out when someone puts their feet on the table - I’m far too Chandler for any of that.”

But the more I thought about it, the more I saw myself in Monica. I do like things to be done a certain way (people who do the dishes without rinsing the suds off are my mortal enemies) and I can definitely freak out when things aren’t going to plan. But that’s why I make backup plans, that’s why I prefer to do the dishes. Jesus, maybe I am Monica.

Seeing myself in Monica allowed me to understand her more. Yes, she is fussy and a bit uptight and likes things to be done properly, but it’s not because she’s vindictive or likes to make people’s lives a misery. Everything Monica does, she does because she cares.

She keeps her place tidy because it’s a nicer place to be for everyone (and who wants to hang out across the hall - no thanks). She’s super organised because she wants everything to go smoothly for everyone. While the rest of them are losing their heads, Monica is steering the ship. She’s not controlling, she’s just in control, and thank god, or else who knows where this ship is gonna end up.

But here’s the main thing: Monica had to go through a lot to become Monica. Overcoming her body issues, being overshadowed by her brother, her mother’s constant criticism - all of these instilled fine virtues in Monica: confidence, dedication, competitiveness and - sorry Chandler - a killer sense of humour. She’s the most down-to-earth, level-headed and well-rounded (keep your fat jokes to yourself) one of the lot.

Anyone would be proud to be like Monica.

I still don’t really believe that I’m Monica; I’m still hopeless and awkward and desperate for love, but now I’ve changed my tune. I may not be Monica yet... but I’m working towards it.

Related: Chandler's Best Bits