A Facebook F.W.B contract for the ladies

A received an email from a friend who complained about her single life. Often, she says the whole “friends with benefits” gets soured because one person has different expectations than the other. Especially on Facebook she says “Any time she get a “friend request” immediately that person thinks their best friends”. A contract according her should alleviate these awkward issues. For example, the contract might stipulate whether at any point the other party might be asked to attend a wedding or a family function, if only so that the single person won’t be asked the entire night why they’re single.

Or the contract might say that under no circumstances can the other party be called after 2 a.m. on a weekday night. Or maybe before 10 p.m. on a weekend night. Or there may be certain actions that aren’t allowable — Julia Roberts’ character in “Pretty Woman” had a “no kissing on the mouth” clause, although it’s not exaaaactly the same thing since she was playing a prostitute. Or perhaps a stipulation stating that at no point should either party say in the morning that they “will call” the other party. We both know it’s not going to happen.

In fact, the odds are much greater that he will never call if he actually uses those words than if he had said nothing at all, or had said “I’ll see you later.” And even if he does call, it’ll be so much later that you’ll have already taken his number out of your phone and will have forgotten who he is, anyway. You get the point.

Since she can’t afford the services of an attorney, She was hoping that I could whip up a draft and post it for general use. “We single gals would be most grateful” she said because, “frankly, the booty call thing is getting way too complicated, and if one more guy starts bitching and moaning because I don’t want him to sleep over, I’m going to axe murder the next male thing I see.”

Not WANTING to have that visual in my head I think the contract comes with six provisions:

1. You can’t call it a “booty call.” No self-respecting guy would ever use a phrase like that. Back in the day, I always used the phrase “stop-by” because it was intentionally ambiguous. Guys like ambiguous. It makes us feel comfortable. “Booty call” sounds like something Arsenio Hall would say to Magic Johnson in the late-’80s, followed by them both collapsing on an oversized sofa in hysterics.

2. No weddings or functions of any kind. For one thing, you can’t meet anyone else if you already have a date, and weddings are an absolute hookup gold mine in your 20s (so why remove that option for yourself?). Also, you’re opening yourself up to people coming over to you and saying, “So, what’s going on with (fill in Date’s name)?”, and then you have to pooh-pooh the thing and people will mistakenly think that either he’s gay or you’re a harlot. This is much worse than anyone thinking you’re single (and possibly available).

3. No unannounced stop-bys. You have to call first. I wouldn’t put a time limit on phone calls — it’s like making a fantasy trade. The hotline should be open 24 hours a day.

4. I would leave in the provision of one or both parties saying, “I’ll call you tomorrow,” because it’s tradition, as well as a nice litmus test — if they say they’ll call you tomorrow, and they actually do, they might be developing real feelings and/or have accidentally stumbled across “When Harry Met Sally” on HBO 7 later that night and gotten the wrong idea. I like the safety of “I’ll call you tomorrow.” It’s right up there with a woman saying, “I’ve never done anything like this before.” It’s just good to get it out of the way.

5. If you’re doing the F.W.B. thing with a guy who’s actually bitching because you won’t let him sleep over, you need to re-evaluate things. What woman wouldn’t rather wake up in her own bed ?

6. You should probably negotiate which actions aren’t allowable before you enter into the contract. As your attorney, I would allow ALL actions and negotiate a provision that explicitly says “both parties will exhibit good hygiene at all times.”

But here’s the important thing: These stupid contracts never work. In the history of mankind, there has never been a F.W.B. situation that worked out in the end. Somebody always ends up wanting more than the other person, there’s almost always bitterness, and if you manage to remain in touch with the same guy five years from now, I would be absolutely amazed. It’s just human nature.
My advice would be to find an actual boyfriend … and if you can’t find one, move to a different city. It’s crazy to me how many women have trouble finding a decent boyfriend, yet they’ll stay in the same city or guy for 10 years. If you were fishing in one section of a river every day, and you never caught anything, would you keep returning to the exact same spot, or would you try your luck somewhere else?

Look some of us are the same guys who look back nostalgically on Britney’s “Oops, I did it again” Era, Alicia Silverstone in “The Crush” and Anna K’s first Wimbledon, and they’re the same guys who counted down the months until the Olsen twins’ 18th birthday and spent entire days exchanging e-mails on whether Lohan bought implants. The point is that the vast majority of guys are “total pervs.” That’s just who we are. And women you should know this.

I think there’s a bigger question here: To borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell, what was the tipping point that made a woman want to get a contract? For instance, Nicole Eggert was smoking-hot on “Charles in Charge” back in the ’80s, but I doubt adult males were openly lusting after her like they would now. Was it the birth of the Internet? The growth of these pseudo-Playboy mags like “Stuff” and “Maxim”? Did Kournikova start this whole thing? Britney?

My friend would argue that it goes back to “Beautiful Girls.” Remember that movie? The one where Timothy Hutton (searching for himself in his late-20s) returns home for a few weeks, hangs out with some old buddies, and ends up in a bizarre mental love affair with a 13 year-old Natalie Portman? Romantics would argue that Hutton’s character appreciated the purity of Portman’s personality — she was untainted by life, wise beyond her years, and maybe three more years from being smoking-hot — and it was easy to have a harmless crush on someone like that. Cynics would argue that this was a romantic comedy about a budding pedophiliac.

And again, she was like 13 at the time. Which is really, REALLY creepy. But that was the whole point of the movie — Hutton’s character was beaten down by life and relationships, and the Portman character symbolized a fresh start for him. He just had to wait until she was legal. That’s how desperate he was to find true love — he would rather wait on the potential of the “Token Hot Girl Everyone Loved Back in the 8th Grade” and the “Token Unattainable Hot Blonde” (Uma Thurman’s character) over rolling the dice with the above-average, unexciting relationship he was already involved in.

Maybe it was predictable, maybe it cheesy, and maybe there were lines in it like “Don’t let her go, man,” but this was a pretty good portrait of a tortured guy in his late-20s. And a good example of why SOME guys are “total pervs.”

And yet there’s an entire generation of men who watched C. Thomas Howell swimming for Lori Loughlin at the end of “Secret Admirer,” Mary Stuart Masterson dressing up like a chaffeur and bagging Eric Stoltz over Leah Thompson in “Some Kind of Wonderful,” or Ally Sheedy putting on some makeup and landing Emilio Estevez at the end of “The Breakfast Club,” and they assume that the world works like this in real life. Which it doesn’t. In fact, you could argue that ’80s movies owe reparations to an entire generation of aggrieved women in their 30s-40s suffering from the damage these movies cause right now.

On behalf of the entire male race, I apologize. Plus I don’t want to have that “axe murder the next male thing I see” visual in my head.


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