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Male Panel On The Question Of 'Friends With Benefits'

I love giving my male panel women-related questions to mull over, and the responses are usually hilarious. I was surprised (happily so) that this particular topic elicited a relatively sober response, one I think will restore many women's faith in men: 

"An extremely attractive and surprisingly sane woman wants to start a 'friends with benefits' type relationship with you. Create a pros and cons list". Enter, Peter!

Well, if I’m about to throw away a couple of decades’ worth of marriage, and a loyal – if entirely demented – wife, I think I need to sort out a few parameters here. How attractive is “extremely attractive”? Are we talking glossy magazine covers? Red carpet trophy chicks who make it on to television? Maybe Amy Carlson, Donnie Wahlberg’s wife in Blue Bloods – my idea of an absolutely stunningly beautiful woman? Because although I fantasise about A List hot babes like Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Aniston, I can’t see any of them begging me for a “friends with benefits” deal. What I’m saying is: if I get an offer that’s essentially worth leaving home for, I want it to be worth packing the suitcases, sorting through a lifetime’s junk, and saying a final farewell to my children... all while being pelted with vrot tomatoes and a string of high octane invective that could power Apollo a few light years beyond the moon. (Don’t accuse me of exaggerating. You haven’t met her.)

Which is maybe another way of saying that one of the cons of a relationship like this is that it’s eventually going to turn bad. Especially if one of you is married. Spouses are incredibly inconvenient appendages when it comes to a little bit of Mr Naughty on the side. If you’re both single, (and that of course includes widows and divorcees) then what you’re looking at is a fairly loose relationship, but an unencumbered one. Actually, no relationship is unencumbered. And I certainly wouldn’t want to have a friends-with-benefits girlfriend who was having a string of friends-with-benefits relationships with other men.

Men dream of casual sex with uncomplicated girls. The only uncomplicated girls I’ve met are the ones you don’t get emotionally or sexually involved with. One-night stands are pretty lousy actually. A series of one-night stands with the same girl is going to lead to serious problems, eventually. Where does the line get crossed between “friends with benefits” and “committed relationship”? You only find out when it’s too late, say I. And then one of you is besotted and one is indifferent. And then, as my wise old mother used to say ad nauseam, “It’ll end in tears.”

So is there even one pro? I’m not convinced. I meet all kinds of women whom I find very attractive and very sane, and yes, I often spend idle moments wondering what it would be like to have a little love affair with quite a few of them. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I like to tell myself that I take my marriage vows seriously. Either way, I find myself ticking off the list of problems that a brief dalliance with these really attractive women would create. Not least is the fact that fantasy sex is all but guaranteed to be so much better than the real thing.

And here’s the thing: all women play these games according to their rules, not yours.

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