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    Wife(y) Swap

    Because there is a 14-year gap between my sister and I, I never had to bear the illusory insult of hand-me-downs:  The pair of jeans that, while still stylish, had already been broken in.  The blazer that, while classic, was worn at the elbows.  And although I was raised with a certain level of consciousness, I was never encouraged to recycle.  While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, the notion of discarded wares being reinvented into treasure was not reinforced.  And yet, as I mentally rummage through the bins of men that I once dated, I wonder if the more gently used of them should be passed on to friends who may be just the right fit.  Want not, waste not...right?

    Given that many black professionals actively date for 20+ years and, during this period, have numerous liaisons, it stands to reason that those who date only a specific "type," or in limited circles, will run out of potential mates.  The options are exponentially more limited if we are bound to date only those who cannot be romantically (or sexually) traced to a friend or acquaintance.  Indeed, in the past few months, I've been startled to discover that several of the men that I recently dated had once been involved with women who I've known in varying degrees.  If I had been presented with this information prior to becoming interested/yoked/attached, I likely would have backed off; but a playful, yet provocative statement included in an email from a [fine] college friend has caused me to reassess this position.  He wrote, in part:


    "...if you hadn't already dated my cousin and one of my best friends, I'd throw myself at you!  LOL!"  n.1.  n.2


    On the surface, such prior dealings should automatically eliminate him from my dating pool; however, the fact that I dated his cousin for only about a month---over 10 years ago (and I can no longer remember his name) should serve to eliminate any ethical dilemma.  Moreover, while my relationship with, "one of [his] best friends" was quite serious, the fact that said friend is now happily married should render the general prohibition against dating a friend's ex moot.

    In determining the ethicalness of dating a friend's ex/former lover/previous crush (I'll use the term "ex" to encapsulate an array of relationship statuses), I submit that the following 3 factors should be considered:


    1.  The seriousness of the liaison between your friend and his/her ex.  In making this determination, the "reasonable man" standard should be employed and the following elements should be examined:  (a) the duration of the liaison; (b) whether the ex was introduced to family and/or friends; (c) the extent to which bodily fluids were exchanged; and (d) statements made that serve as evidence of the perceived seriousness of the daliance (i.e., "I'm only trying to f*ck" vs. "s/he could be the one."). 

    2.  The length of time that has transpired since the break-up.  No matter how casual the affair, hooking up with someone only months after your friend is a bit shady.  As a rule, though, the more serious the relationship, the greather the length of time that should come to pass before you make a move.

    3.  The likelihood of resurrection.  An assessment should be taken of whether your friend holds out any hope for rekindlement.  To your knowledge, did the relationship occur against the backdrop of Erykah Badu's "Next Lifetime," and simply end because of bad timing/a misunderstanding/a move across the country--or did the hot affair go up in a blaze of glory and burn out due to irreconcilable differences-such as her not being physically attracted to him...or him not being able to cope with her bad-ass kids.  If the reason for the separation belongs in the former category, tread lightly:  Your friend may be holding the ex in reserve.  However, if the break-up was due to an emotional or moral stalemate, your friend may be glad to have his/her ex recylcled. 


    These factors aside, (and as I previously alluded), marriage should automatically serve as a release of all exes to anyone-including friends.  While I understand that, in some instances, marriage is a sort of legal fiction and does not actually sever emotional ties, the declaration (made before family, friends and God) that all others will be foresaken (until death) is a clear statement acknowledging the relinquishment of all claims to former lovers.

    One of my ex-boyfriends has been married for at least four years...yet, despite the myriad of pictures that he has proudly plastered on Facebook capturing moments of marital bliss, he wigged.the.fuck.out when he discovered that I had become good friends with one of his college buddies (who happens to be a stunningly handsome doctor).  Contrary to my ex's suspicions, I never dated (or slept with) his friend-but this fact should be irrelevant.  His right to object lapsed when he found the woman who suited him in ways that I couldn't--and when he presented her with the ring that was too tight for my own finger.  Rather than selfishly hoard me in the recesses of his mental closet, I'd hope that he'd want me to find what he has:  The person who who is just the right fit.  No matter who he is. 


    n.1  I, of course, didn't take the statement seriously because of his inclusion of "LOL."  LOL serves to eliminate and purify all innuendos that precede its usage.

    n.2  My response to this email was, "Okay.  Let's fuck then. (Just kidding)." *


    *  "Just kidding," in this context, carries the same weight as "LOL."


    ©  All rights reserved.


    Reader Comments (3)

    Fact: Men are territorial - we are in that old school biblical frame of mine, that once we've snagged a cookie from the jar, we think it's wrong to watch other's go grab a cookie. It's our Jar and our MF Cookie and we think we deserve the option to have another oatmeal raisin cookie.... Even though we no longer are allowed to keep the jar on our shelf anymore! I was talking to a brother the other day, and he was stringing an ex along even though he clearly knew she wasn't right for him. Kurrrrazzzy. I told him, leave them damn cookies ALONE! The problem is, in general everyone likes options (men and woman) and there's actual mathematical formula's on the value of an financial/business option, why would this be any different?

    As for the rules, it's best to just leave it alone regardless. Maybe it's because I'm a biased guy, but there really are other people out there. Like Carter said in the movie Payback: There's an old expression that's served me well: "Do not shit where you eat."

    March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeYoung

    There are Bro-Rules in place. one bro cannot "touch" the ex of another. Granted there are certain releases that can be permitted, but they are solely up to the ex...And explicit permission has to be granted

    July 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEon

    I was wondering if anyone knows a good website with nice shoes that you can order online. Thanks Oh i'm 14 so not really old shoes but like thongs, high heels, vans etc nlobpw nlobpw - radii shoes.

    November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpjfgot pjfgot

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