Monday, 11 July 2011

We All "Get That Way" - Friendship Has Its Privileges

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!"

I wish.

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?

Your thoughts...

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Bio:

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.

35 comments:

Faith said...

LOL, good blog! So many of us have been down these roads and have the same musings throughout our lives, too, so you're not alone.

Ken Matthews said...

Thanks, Faith! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the blog. And I think a lot of folks have been down this path. It's all new to me, though! Thanks again for stopping by. Cheers! Keen

Anthology Authors said...

I'm like you, Ken. I don't think I'm capable of fuck buddies... At least, not at this stage in my life. (g) When I was younger, maybe. In general, I would say it's harder for a woman than a man to do that, but I know a lot of women who can, and do.

Very funny post!

Marci

Cassie Exline said...

Great post. Didn't go as I first expected which for me was refreshing. You're the huntee and not the hunter. I'm not made for fuck buddies either, for me emotions would get involved. Thanks for the laugh and a surprise. lol

Toni V.S. said...

...and then there are those of us who would gladly toss aside pride if someone asked. It's been a long, cold winter...and...summer..and..spring...and...well, you get the idea.

Good article, Ken. I miss Atlanta and Home Sweet Home. Hope you're enjoying life there.

Fiona McGier said...

Back when I was single and in college, I once spotted a good (male) friend sitting at the bar alone. I sat down, ordered a beer, and asked why he looked so down. He hemmed and hawed, finally admitting, "Aw, I'm so horny." I gave him this look and said, "Sweetie, if I was a male friend, I'd buy you more drinks and commiserate. But I'm a female. So let's go back to my apartment and take care of your problem." He was shocked..."Really?" It was just that one time, and never killed our friendship. I didn't make his wedding to another of our mutual friends, but I visited them frequently in their apartment, and we are still in touch via e-mail, though living in different states. This is what I mean by people being so "weird" about a bodily function. Emotions do not ALWAYS have to enter into it...sometimes all you need is some recreational sex (rec-sex), then you are good to go. Just be sure you have a thick enough skin to put up with the names that some will call you.

Jaime Samms said...

Excellent , rational look at this because you're so right. We do all get that way.

Ken Matthews said...

Hi Anthology Authors! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, I'm a bit old fashioned about this, though I like to muse about it. Not sure I can detach the experience enough from my emotions. Like you say, perhaps when I was younger, and was more inclined to be lead my my other head. But I'm older now, and want romance as much I want sex. ;-) Cheers!

Ken Matthews said...

Greetings, Cassie! I'm glad the post offered a surprise! I'm a bit inductive with the way I think and write, so that's very typical of what you'll see from my brain! The goodies come at the end, so to speak! Thanks so much for the kinds words! Cheers to you! Ken

Ken Matthews said...

Hi, Toni! I hear you, girl. I'm high and dry myself! Way, way too long, but I'm torn by this, don't get me wrong. As I wrote, "we all get that way." ;-) Perhaps I'm atypical for a man, but my emotions are really hardwired to my sexuality. Perhaps it's a curse! A Atlantan, huh? It's awfully hot this summmer, even by Atlanta standards. I grew up here, but never seem to get accustomed to the heat/humidity combo. I live here for the falls. ;-) CHEERS--and thanks for stopping by!

Ken Matthews said...

@Fiona - Thanks for the great story and a different perspective. You're so right, in many ways, it IS just a biological function and believe me, I envy people who can parse the two sides apart--when the need arises, so to speak! Yes, I'm the name-calling can be an issue, particularly for women. Men get called studs, women who enjoy sex as a zesty enterprise get called a host of pejoratives. All the best, to you--and thanks again for sharing the story and your perspective. Cheers!

Ken Matthews said...

Thanks, Jaime! Sometimes like when this woman was giving me the "come hither" look, I wish I WASN'T so rational about it. As Fiona put so well above, there is a place for recreational sex. I'm at odds with myself over this! All the best to you! Ken

M. S. Spencer said...

Very refreshing--and rather sweet. I do think the...er...needs are very common among us "mature" people. btw, they do generally call it "friends with benefits" in college (at least my college grads say so)rather than the coarser term. Good luck Ken--let's all keep looking for passion!

Ken Matthews said...

Thanks, M.S. I'm delighted you enjoyed my musings! And how refreshing to hear that a few among the younger generation are using the more dignified term! And yes, let's keep passion ALIVE! Three cheers for passion! Hip Hip Hooray!

Anthology Authors said...

Well, Ken, I dated this guy once when I was 23. He broke up with me because he said I was, "The type of girl you'd marry." Um, maybe so, but I never said I wanted to marry him, or anyone for that matter. Matter of fact, I wasn't interested in marrying anyone for another eight years. (g) Let me rephrase that, I couldn't say the word marriage in conjunction with my name until I was 29. (g) So, while I had one serious relationship between 23 and 29, the rest, while not fuck buddies per se, were not men I would have married. Even the serious relationship was one I knew wouldn't be forever. I cared about him, yes. I even loved him, but I was not inspired to be with him the rest of my life.

That being said, during long, dry spells, a quicky certainly had its appeal. (g)

Marci

Shaunna Wolf said...

The problem with a one night FB (and that's not a one night facebook)is that most people are not just "horny" they are also lonely. They want an emotional connection, otherwise "the hand" would be a cure for just horny of the purely physical type.

That's why even though people talk about friend's with benefits it often ends up in a mess for one partner or the other if it goes on for long term.

Now as for one night stands, fuck buddies, etc., yeah I think a lot of us have been down the lust road and asked ourselves the next day, "what was I thinking?"

Especially when we see that person in the sober light of day.

I couldn't have a fuck buddy in the long term sense of the phrase, now a one night stand . . . depends on the person offering the one night stand . . . and if I wasn't married.

Ken Matthews said...

@ Marci - Great points! There's definitely a huge continuum along the line, isn't there--between Fuck Buddy and marriage material? And in your 20's you recognized that and found peace (and satisfaction? ;-) ) somewhere in the middle. I wasn't ready to marry until I was in my late 20's either. And interestingly, I married someone I KNEW I wasn't sexually compatible with! YIKE! I'd never make THAT mistake again. And though sex isn't EVERYTHING, it's definitely part of the equation, don't you think? After all, we are sexual beings. Thanks for the great comments! And cheers! Ken

Ken Matthews said...

Hi Shauna! Another great comment! Yes, you bring up a salient point. These scenarios all ways seem to blow, in rather spectacular fashion, because one of the parties involved becomes emotionally attached and ends up wanting more than their physical needs met. That's a mother of a mess, isn't it? Your distinction between FB and one-night stand is intriguing. I suppose there is a difference, isn't there? I guess the same issue could come up, regarding emotional attachment and such (Fatal Attraction comes to mind). But I guess there are myriad variations on this theme, limited only by the imaginations of the folks involved! Again, thanks for your take on this--and all the best to you! Ken

Fiona McGier said...

Ken, first off let me say I was remiss in not telling you how much I enjoyed all of your graphics in the article...they made for quite a few chuckles!

My latest book is about a couple of fuck-buddies who fell in love, then separated after college. When he looks her up during his divorce
it's to see if the spark is still there.
Info is on my website, if you want to read about how a one-night stand can lead to more...and I dedicated it to all women who have been told, as I was many times, "Men don't marry women LIKE YOU." Yes they do, sometimes. Don't give up hope.

Ken Matthews said...

Thanks, Fiona! I have a lot of fun with the pictures, and such. It's sort of my calling card! It's a bit cliche, but sometimes a picture really IS worth a thousand words! Your book sounds intriguing--a fresh take on a time-honored theme. I'll definitely check it out! And yes, I'm a woefully hopeless romantic and still have hope that one day I'll find the love of my life, the woman I'll love with all my being and grow old with. ;-) Cheers to you! Ken

Jaime Samms said...

Ken, I remember way back in the beyond before I was married, I knew a guy....Well, he was notorious, and also a very good friend. After a night of being notorious together, he was the one who sprang a conscience, which was very odd, since I was the one of our circle normally more attached to the idea that sex and love had to have something to do with one another. Sometimes, you just need that itch scratched, and this was a case when we both wanted someone else to do the scratching, and we trusted one another to let it go, after I convinced him that was all I was after. He took a bit of convincing, though. So trust me, you aren't the only guy out there who thinks twice :)

Ken Matthews said...

"A night of being notorious together"--I love it! Well put, Jaime! Seriously, I think you make an excellent point--the more both people communicate BEFOREHAND the more likely the partner-scratching will prove efficacious and devoid of friction. (And I mean the bad kind of friction!) Many thanks, again, for your contributions today! Ken

Shaunna Wolf said...

See, that is my point, doesn't a FB or friend's with benefits, imply that it is a long term relationship devoid of emotional attachment the only purpose of which is to have sex--mutual itch scratching?

A one night stand I see as the met him in a bar and had a roll in the sheets and maybe didn't even know the person's name kinda thing. What can I say I grew up in the 70's.

Most times a one night stand with a friend turns ugly, or as said one party gets weird about it.

The only solution seems to be a Logan's Run approach, want sex put yourself out there to get it with someone else who wants just sex.

People have tried that, the swinging 70's for one thing, and it didn't work out too well, emotions do get caught up in it almost all the time at some point, and with HIV and serial killers -- it doesn't seem all that safe.

I think I'll just stick with the battery operated kinda friend to scratch the itch. LOL

Ken Matthews said...

Well put, Shaunna. I think people might start out with a clear definition of the whole FB concept, but then emotions wiggle their way in and the lines get blurred. A good friend of my just make a really point point on the phone. She's had a successful FB before and she said the key is to NEVER go out on a date. Never go to a restaurant, a movie, zilch. Just meet up, do the deed--and leave. That's it. I thought that was a really good point, and one I'd overlooked, because if you're sitting across the table from someone in a nice restaurant, as a precursor to the sex, it lends the whole experience a romantic feel. And I agree with your comment about the 70's--they had it figured out back then, didn't they. And FYI-I'm a child of the 60s/70s, myself! ;-) All the best to you--and your battery-operated boyfriends! ;-) CHEERS, girl--and thanks for all your great contributions today!

Robyn M Speed said...

'Bit players' ... I LOVE that description of the people who enter and leave our life quickly (didn't mean that to sound pornographic...)

I think sex is great ... but I think I broke my husband. Are you allowed F buddies when you're married? Nah? Didn't think so. Excuse me while I go and spontaneously combust!

Ken Matthews said...

Hi Robyn! Thanks for dropping by, and glad you enjoyed the read. You may love the "bit players" description, but I adore that you think you "broke" your husband! Hehe. Very funny. If he IS broke, you need to have him repaired! And please don't spontaneously combust--from the sound of you, the world is much better place with you in it! ;-) Again, thanks so much for your comments! Cheers to you, Ken

Shaunna Wolf said...

Ha Robyn, when the spouse is broken or MIA, that's when a trip to the local adult toy store is in order-- or some little blue pills to fix the hubby!

The 70's were crazy crazy crazy, so were the late 60's -- though I was just discovering the allure of sex at the end of the 60's --then the 80's and all of a sudden HIV took us back to a more prudish idea of sex.

I guess we don't get to have FB's when married if we want to stay married or we have an understanding, but that is a whole other can of worms.

I can feel nostalgic about the ages of free love and all, but really is the age of baby daddy or baby moms and FB's or friend's with bennies any less --- I don't know "out there?"

What ever you do just be safe, use a condom and keep the emotions in check, I don't want to read about you on the news as the next victim of a swinger FB killer.

Ken Matthews said...

Keeping the emotions in check is the hard part, isn't it Shaunna?! I liked my friend's suggestion earlier--don't have dates with a FB! Keep the relationship in the bedroom.

And Robyn, I echo Shaunna's caution: please be safe, whatever you do!

DARRELX said...

A scholar and a gentlmen...

Ken Matthews said...

That's good combination, Darrelx! All the best, Ken

Liz said...

Awesome Ken! Knowing you are a Divinity Grad made whole thing that much more ...awesome. True Story:
I married my college fuck buddy. 20 years this November. Perhaps we were too alike? Perhaps. But so far, so ....much work, 3 kids, many arguments later. But good.
cheers
Liz

Ken Matthews said...

Hi Liz! You made my day with your sweet comments! I'm delighted and humbled that the blog resonated with you so much. Many thanks, also, for sharing your experience! And what a great one, at that! I love happy endings, though your love story certainly isn't over! 20 years is amazing, in this day and age, with divorce rates still hovering over 50%. Congratulations on making it work! And arguments are healthy and normal, don't you think? It's HOW you argue and settle disagreements that can make or break a relationship. Best advice I ever received: NEVER go to bed angry. You don't necessary have to have everything settled and wrapped up in pretty bow, but kiss each other, say you love each other, and agree to finish the discussion at a later time. But NEVER go to bed angry and not speaking with each other. When I find a special lady to share the second half of my life with, I'm going to tattoo that to my forehead, in reverse, so I can read it when I look in the mirror every morning to shave! ;-) Cheers to you, Liz! Ken

Sylvie said...

Great blog! surprise ending :)

DARRELX said...

Yeah it is a good combination. I really hate the term fuck buddies. I prefer to have, I kiss her feet out of reverence because I worship the ground she walks on sex. I am deeply in love with her on a spiritual level sex. Personally, I find shallow sex to be quite inhibiting to a persons mental and spiritual growth. I find people who are capable of such shallow relationships, incapable of having or even understanding such depth between two people that is metaphysical. Just adding my two cents worth. What people do is their business.

Robyn M Speed said...

Ken ... I promise I'll be a good girl! Husband is such a good man, a little dense when to his 'about to spontaneously combust' wife ...and how to 'contain' the fire...but I would never want to hurt him.

And yes, the world IS a better place with me IN it .... a little warped and twisted ... but what the heck!

Darrelx ...I love what you said " "...kiss her feet out of reverence because I worship the ground she walks on sex. I am deeply in love with her on a spiritual level sex...." I want to be worshiped like THAT!