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Chaos calls the tune as soloist gets a partner

Comprising half of an established couple is like being in a rock band.

Press releases have to be sent out, faxed and collated; phone interviews need to be scheduled; tour dates need to be hammered down.

Say goodbye to your home, because the two of you are going to be spending some hard time on the road promoting your latest project, whether it's "We're Monogamous," "Here's Our New Apartment -- The Early Recordings," "Guess Who's Engaged," or "We Got A Big Surprise When She Was Late."

Luckily, the T-shirt and poster sales have supplemented my income nicely.

Lindsay (my better half) and I have been on a whirlwind tour since November of last year and it would be nice to spend some down time away from the laser light shows, time in the studio and recruiting of opening acts.

It's an interesting dynamic the likes of which I've never been a part of. Couples are vacuuming us up into their universe. Apparently, people in relationships only spend their idle time doing couple-related things with other people in relationships: dinners out, hiking, bike riding, dinners in, wine tasting, cheese eating and other death-defying feats.

Once the transformation is complete, I'm afraid I won't be able to hang out with my single friends anymore, and it's not my fault, either. My single friends are scampering away like cows dispersing from a cattle funeral. My body's gone cold and they want to get the heck out of Dodge before they catch the disease.

We try to be accommodating when it comes to making our single friends feel comfortable, but they're still wary.

Little things used to bother me, like hanging out with my involved or married friends and seeing them snuggle when I was just trying to have a good time.

I took a personal affront to seeing my pals calling their girlfriends sickeningly sweet pet names like "my queen," "honey" and other euphemisms that can't be repeated in a family-friendly publication.

It's a balancing act having your less civilized confidants over to meet the new sheriff in town. You've got a person on one end of the couch who you went club hopping with until four in the morning and threw lukewarm chili dogs at, and on the other a woman who lets you cut your toenails at the dinner table and somehow still thinks the world of you. Bringing those two worlds together is a real tightrope act.

So occasionally, when your friends upend a glass of red wine on your new couch and keep walking, you flinch and wait to see what the other half does. Or you're offered up on a silver platter (without tranquilizers) to her entire family during one of the most stress-inducing holidays of the year.

Some of my couple friends only want to do couple things now. Hopefully this is a phase, and the boys can go off to be boys occasionally and the girls can shop, get their eyebrows waxed or whatever it is that groups of girls do when guys aren't looking.

It feels like growing up to some extent. A beautiful woman hosed me down, dressed me up and turned me into a civilized, thoughtful, mild-mannered person.

At least that's what our publicist has advised me to say in press releases.

Tom Waters lives and writes with his girlfriend in Lancaster.

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