While staring out on shimmery Lake Michigan this summer I contemplated the one thing that's always been missing in my life — and decided it might finally be time to do something about it.
I did some research and figured the best way to find what I'm looking for was to write out my desires and post them on Craigslist, like so many Chicagoans unsatisfied with their current situations.
I started with a catchy title: "NEIGHBORHOOD GUY SEEKING FWB" and wrote from the heart in hopes that somebody out there might be interested.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart once told me that there are a lot of weirdoes up to no good on Craigslist, so I thought it was best to make sure nobody got the wrong idea.
I started by making my intentions clear:
"First off, I'm currently involved in some quality friendships with guys who I consider my very best friends and I'm not looking to change my situation."
Then, I got right to the point.
"Lately, I've been bored doing the same ol' things — drinking beer in the garage, complaining about women, riding motorcycles to craft breweries in Michigan and tailgating at White Sox games. It's time for this landlubber to spice things up by finding the right FWB situation."
Fearing that some people trolling the "strictly platonic" section in the Craigslist personal ads might be confused by the acronym I clarified my intentions: "Friends With Boats, that is."
And then I made my pitch — trying not to sound desperate person or like a selfish friend:
"Maybe you've got a big, beautiful cabin cruiser docked in a harbor, but don't take it out as much as you'd like because your friends are too busy to join you. Well, I'll bring beer. And I'm willing to swab the deck, tie off a line and turn on the bilge pump in a pinch. And if you want to make a party of it, I know some people interested in finding FWB who would be happy to make it a group thing."
I thought that sounded pretty good.
Just to be safe, though, I consulted one of my boring garage pals about my plans to find friends with boats on the Internet. He made some valid points and strongly suggested that I "quit being a such a weirdo."
So in the end, I chickened out and spent another entire summer without a single friend with a boat.
Luckily, for guys like me there are ways to get out on the water ... if you're willing to pay for it.
Downtown you can catch an architectural tour, take your choice of dinner cruise, hail water taxis and rent kayaks (water taxi captains call them "speedbumps").
But if you're looking for something a little different until you meet that special friend with a boat, here are a few options:
• If your ideal FWB situation includes a pal with one of those jet-propelled cigarette boats that can zoom across the lakefront and do doughnuts in the harbor you might consider the Sea Dog Extreme boat tour at Navy Pier. For $31.95, you can catch an adults-only 30-minute extreme thrill ride from Shedd Aquarium to North Avenue Beach that tops out at 45 mph and includes two 360-degree turns.
• Folks who prefer to take matters into their own hands and go at a slower pace can go to the Chicago Electric Boat Co. at Marina Towers for a more intimate boating experience. For $150 an hour you can be your own captain on an electric boat ride on the Chicago River with up to 12 pals. The electric boats cruise at about 5 mph and are as easy to drive as a golf cart.
• Are you a wannabe boater with a pirate fetish? The Tall Ship Windy at Navy Pier offers a "Real Pirates of Inland Seas" tour on the 148-foot four-mast schooner for $30. Pirate performers tell true tales of piracy on the Great Lakes. There's a full bar on board. No self-respecting pirate ship sails without rum.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: