friends (with benefits…on the weekends) in a dangerous time

We are entering a dangerous time for male-female relations, and I’m going to tell you why.

I can only discuss this from a female perspective because, like 100% of the women walking this earth, I really have no idea as to the male perspective on most issues. They sure as heck aren’t going to tell me. Or anyone. And, as women, it’s been etched pretty indelibly into the “man-gettin'” part of our brains to act like we don’t care whether the guy we’re secretly really into lives or dies.


I’ve spoken with a few guys on the subject and they’re pretty much unanimous in the opinion that bitches be triflin’. When it comes to a woman they’re interested in, they have to maintain this veneer of distance, frigidity and all-around dickishness in order to have her return his interest (read: sleep with him).

The problem is, the more articles Maxim publishes on the subject, the more women are catching on to this scheme and returning the favour. And then come the articles in Cosmo and Good Housekeeping or whatever women read these days about “How to get out of your dating deficit!” Please. It’s obvious. We need to stop doing this to each other.

Let me pitch you a little scenario, here. This happened about a month ago. I was at a party, yukkin’ it up with some big wigs (read: I was at some girl’s apartment…didn’t really know anyone. Pretty sure they were all virgins) and this guy strolls in with a couple bros flanking him.

Swag out the ass, clearly.

He scans the room. He zeroes in. He approaches. I brace myself. I’m not sure I like the cut of his popped collar button up.

The conversation is surprisingly cerebral until I inevitably bring up Yoda: one of my all-time favorite topics of conversation. He snorts somewhat derisively, puts a sweaty palm on my waist, applies slight pressure, leans in and says, with all the arrogance of Alexander Ovechkin,


“Well, I thought you were kinda cute, but now I just think you’re kind of a nerd. Maybe you come find me later when you wanna talk about something interesting.”

Annnd… end scene.

Well, except for the part where, when I didn’t come find him to discuss the faulty clasp on my new triple push-up bra, he followed me around the party desperately trying to re-ignite a spark of conversation. (“So, uh, that Yoda, huh? He’s old.”)

I suppose he read some advice column about how to pick up chicks at parties and decided to give it the old college try. In this case, it was more of the old community college try.

Ever since the days of Anne Boelyn (at least the version of her I saw in The Tudors), men and women have been playing hot-and-cold, hard-to-get, in order to make one another fall in love, commit, even just get a little action. Every few years, some smart-mouthed comedian or megalo-maniacal “life coach” finds a new way to word it. “Treat her like garbage and she’ll beg to blow you!” Or, “Tell him you hate him and he’ll love you!” And inevitably, droves of men and women alike latch on to the philosophy and think they’ve mastered the Game. Men claim that they’re finally finding a way to retaliate against women’s incessant head games; women claim that men made us this way with their emotional unavailability and years of paying us less to do the same work…blah, blah, blah.

It’s all horse-shit.


Ultimately, it comes down to insecurity (of both sexes!) and inability to say what we mean and ask for what we want.

Earth-shattering, I know.

Over the years, men have been socialized to do the chasing and women have been socialized not to give in too quickly, lest we be mistaken for harlots. This has led us to a generation of men who are sick of having to deal with constant rejection and women who are confused by how to react to carnal urges and, at the same time, maintain antiquated social niceties that still, sadly, govern how we’re perceived by our peers.

As a 24-year old woman, I know I don’t have it figured out. Not even close. But, after the past five or so years of hearing my lady friends lament and agonize about “I shouldn’t have slept with him so quick. He’s not interested now he’s gotten in my drawers,” or “Oh man, I’ve been doing everything but for weeks and I think he’s finally about to crack and make it official!” and listening to my dude friends, current boyfriends and ex-boyfriends discuss how, “She’s nasty, we f**cked right away,” or “I’ve been pulling out all the stops for weeks and I haven’t gotten anywhere,” I’ve come to the understanding with myself that I’m going to try and resist the urge to be underhanded in any of my romantic dealings with the opposite sex.

For the past two years, I’ve been completely straightforward (with myself and the people I become involved with) about how I feel and what I want. And, on the other side of the coin, whenever someone returns the favour, I always give them a chance. I know that the majority of the population will never, ever do this. But, I’ve gotta say, it’s really worked for me.

Before I got to this place, I definitely did my share of manipulating to get what I wanted from men (and women…yep). It really gets exhausting. If we’re not going to be honest with the people we sleep with, I think the least we can all do is be honest with ourselves. Whether you believe that treating someone with coldness and deference will win their affections or withholding your real intentions will prolong a relationship, the truth is, the most exciting, meaningful and satisfying relationships, flings, one-night-stands…whatever…are the ones that are totally on the up and up; with both parties completely on-board and upfront about what they want, where they want it and for how long. Take that however you want.



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