We would like to welcome Ken Matthews today. Irreverent and hilarious, he brings the male perspective of life without sex. (grin)
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Human relationships come in many forms--damn near as many as humans themselves. And though I'd love to regale you with my 2004 run-in with a ripened man who was the spitting image of a Bartlett pear--all the way down to his tapered stem of brown hair--I'm not here to discuss the myriad geometrical oddities into which human flesh can fashion itself. Rather, I'm here to talk about the assorted ways in which human beings interact. One in particular, actually; but let's set the table first, shall we?
There are acquaintances--those who board our existential bus, then hop off at some whistle stop down the road, never to be heard from again. We've all encountered our share of these bit players, and for the most part, they're unremarkable. Then there are other folks we do hear from, once a year or so, usually during the Holidays, when we traipse out to the mailbox and rifle through that day's batch of hastily dashed off greeting cards. Among these, my favorites are the cheesy photos rendering some festive family, all decked out in wooly holiday wear, sweat beading from their brows as they labor to look cheerful around a blazing late-summer fireplace in order to meet the photographer's deadline. We also all have tried-and-true friends--lest you think I'm being too Grinch-like. We all need one or two of these gems in our lives. And, of course, let's not forget all those "Precious Moments" relationships that make us all well up with tears and go "awwww."
Then there are fuck buddies--insert Tab A into Slot B (or C--even D, if that's your thing) for no other purpose than for the fun of it.
You're all familiar with this rather coarse term, so I won't expound too much on its unmistakable meaning. But for purposes of discussion, let's just say the term encompasses relationships between folks who want to enjoy some horizontal refreshments with each other, without the added responsibility of meeting each other's romantic and emotional needs.
A more Victorian appellation for this relationship is friends with benefits. You may know of others--but let's call a spade a spade, shall we? We're talking about people who hook up and do the nasty. No term gets at the heart of the matter (or any other organ, for that matter) with such raw candor as fuck buddy. And I think raw candor should be the order of the day when discussing an affiliation whose sole purpose is to provide its participants with a sexual outlet that doesn't well...involve an outlet. Not that there's anything wrong with those types of outlets--but hey, every now and then it is nice to have a dance partner.
I imagine fuck buddies have been around for quite some time, probably since some horned-up Cro-Magnon first ogled the backside of the gal in the next cave and thought to himself, "Oooh...oooh...ahhh...ahhh."
But if I'm not mistaken, the term fuck buddy didn't enter into the popular lexicon until a decade or so ago when hormonally-charged teens and twenty-somethings started self-applying the term, as in "Dude, guess what!? Heather Crenshaw and I are gonna be fuck buddies!" (You see what I mean? Friends with benefits just wouldn't cut it in the preceding dialog.) I'm not here to debate the right or wrong of such prurient practices among our young people. I only bring it up because I'm fairly certain fuck buddy has broken out of that younger demographic. I know this because a certain woman of my generation recently asked me if I'd like to be her fuck buddy.
We'd happened upon each other on the Internet, and, having "poked" ourselves silly on Facebook for a number of months, finally decided to meet in person. While we shared a pizza and bottle of Chianti, I spoke candidly about my recent struggles, and confessed that even though I liked her, I didn't think the timing was right for me to enter into a serious relationship. It was then that she took a long pull from her wineglass, gazed across the table at me and said, "Ken, I don't really want a serious relationship right now either, but ya know what? Sometimes I just get really horny."
Now a lot has happened to me in the past ten years that has caused me to question the existence of God: failed relationships that have left me brokenhearted, spectacular career flops that have left me in financial ruin--even homeless. But when this smokin' hot woman looked across the table at me with that "come hither" look in her hungry eyes and offered such salacious testimony, I knew with absolute conviction that there is a God.
Before I could divine a reply to my new best friend, our attentive server sauntered up to check on our progress. I held up my own glass, as if I were going to make a toast, and said, "More pizza, more wine--more EVERYTHING!"
What actually came out of the gaping maw in my face after the server scurried off was something like: "Well...we all get that way." Get that way. I might as well have reached across the table, felt her up, and commented, in the spirit of The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, that her breasts felt like bags of sand.
Despite my ineptitude, this woman and I have become buddies; we've seen flicks together; fed each other sushi with chopsticks--even steamed up the windows in her car, groping and fumbling like randy kids--but we haven't...well...you know. Not yet, anyway.
It's in my blood to have a bit of fun with all of this. But in actuality, I'm more of a flowers-and-candy kind of guy, so I'm not sure what to make of my relationship with this woman, and the whole notion of fuck buddies. The idealist in me says there's something selfish and hedonistic about fulfilling one's sexual desires in such utilitarian fashion--no matter how consensual the act. On the other hand, I'm growing a bit tired of my hand--if you know what I mean. And apparently this woman has grown a tad weary of hers, too. So what's the harm in giving our respective hands a much-needed vacation? As I clumsily told her: "We all get that way." She gets that way. I get that way. Why not get that way together?
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Ken Matthews is a novelist, freelance writer--and occasional humorist. His passion is writing about those misfits who, like himself, wander the fringes of conventionality, either by choice, or because life seemingly assigns them there. Ken's first novel, STRAYS, is an irreverent and bumpy ride that explores the great moral dilemma of forgiveness, questioning just who can be forgiven, and when doors are seemingly closed, how far is too far to go when searching for a way back inside. Ken's freelance writing includes fiction and non-fiction book reviews, and articles spotlighting literary events, including recent interviews with National Book Award winner, Charles Frazier, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Horwitz. He also dabbles in humor columns. Ken has a BBA in Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University and is also a graduate of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he received a Master of Divinity.