Did anyone else try this one in high school? “Honey — It’s not that I don’t want to date you, because I do. Or more to the point, I don’t. Not at all. However, I do definitely want to hook up with you. So let’s be FRIENDS. We’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. But, you know, because we want each other so bad, let’s be FRIENDS WITH PRIVILEGES.”
Friends with Privileges: what a concept. You’re my friend, just like all the rest of the folks I eat pizza and play video games with. The difference is that you, my privileged friend, can tear off my clothes at any given moment and make crazy sex to me, and I’ll think nothing of it. I’ll just go with the flow.
It’s a concept that only an adolescent, puberty-addled mind could come up with. It makes up in implausibility what it lacks in ANY LOGIC WHATSOEVER.
Apparently, said “privilege” is access to my body — or the body of whomever is proposing the “friendship.” It’s like driving a car. It’s like the freedom of speech. You can exercise these freedoms only if you earn them. And how do you earn them? Well — By being hot. You’re a citizen of Hotland, population: Hot.
What we all learned in high school was that this concept sounds great but is bound to fail in practice. Have you ever heard of a “Friends with Privileges” relationship working out? I sure haven’t. They always seemed to end up with the girl feeling unfulfilled, feeling like her superficial sham of a relationship was a superficial sham. Usually, this would lead to the classic screechy ultimatum: “Eric, either I’m your girlfriend or I’m gone. All or nothing.”
This, in turn, would lead to the staple male line: “You’re suffocating me, Trish! I’m a MAN!”
And that would lead to the dissolution of the relationship altogether, or, from the male’s point of view, the revocation of the privilege to his body. Figuratively, this is the same as pulling out a pair of shears and chopping in half the credit card. Agreement void.
We’re so much wiser now. College students. Young adults. Some of us even have mustaches. We’d never fool ourselves into believing that this arrangement is feasible in the real world. We’re DEEP now. We want to CONNECT. We want soul mates. When our parents were our age, they’d already met and dated. They were already engaged. The dowries were in place, the shotgun at the altar. The child in the womb. A child named Greg. A beautiful boy — a child — Greg.
We’ve got some catching up to do. We’ve got a cosmic mission ahead of us: finding our perfect match.
Great. I’ll get on that once I finish all this reading. Oh, and I have “Just Add Water” rehearsal, so I won’t be able to find a wife from 9 to 11 on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The fact is, whether or not we ARE looking for a truly fulfilling relationship, we don’t have the TIME to go out and get one. And if we ever found one, we’d have so much stuff to do on top of it that we’d probably end up screwing it up anyway.
I propose, then, that we revisit the concept of “Friends with Privileges” — not as high school baloney, but as a real, viable option for today’s youth. It’ll be the new dating. Who wants to date? Who wants to spend all that money and all that time just to find out that she doesn’t like David Bowie and can never date anyone who does? Dating is completely besides the point.
What’s the point, then? The point is this: We’re never going to be any hotter, ever. This is the hottest we’ll ever be. Pretty soon your flesh is going to start dying. That’s true. I’m totally a doctor. We’re well on our way, now, so let’s get to the point. I don’t want a relationship, Trish, and neither do you. I do, however, want to get with you. And by THAT, I mean do “it.” Do make OUT, that is!
I decree it today: every friend of mine is now a friend with privileges. If you know me, or perhaps if you’ve only ever had a section with me, consider the privilege yours. Go ahead and jump me. Tongue me at your discretion. Ladies, I’m all yours. I’m issuing you all “Greg Licenses,” expiration: the day you want something more serious.
Take, for instance, my roommate Matt. He has no privilege to my body, although his girlfriend does. So do every one of her suitemates, all hotties. We’re all friends!
But control yourselves, ladies. It’s just like your parents used to tell you when you first got your driver’s license. This is your PRIVILEGE, not your RIGHT. Don’t get power crazy now. I have entitled you to this sacred privilege, and you must use it wisely. Don’t go jumping me just any time. If I’m in the middle of a meal, keep your hands off. Wait until I’ve finished my kielbasa, and THEN you can start making out with me. I know I’m attractive, irresistible even. — But keep the barn door shut until I’ve finished my statistics problem set.
OK, done. Let’s rumble.
Right now we don’t have any responsibilities to anyone or anything. We don’t have to feel guilty about a thing that we do, unless we shoot someone in the stomach. Even that’s a gray area. This is the time in our lives that we’re SUPPOSED to be hedonists. This is the window of time allotted to us in which we can and should, in strictly medical terms, rock the casbah. Or, as the Old Masters called it, “screwing.”
We won’t be young much longer. Pretty soon we’ll all be 30 and driving Dodge Neons. We’ve got to carpe the diem by its horns and offer privileges, issue licenses to any and all we meet. We’ll have the rest of our lives to date people, to marry someone we like the smell of, to lament the days we could get away with being just friends with privileges. We’ll have the rest of our lives to learn the stuff they teach in college, but we only have four years of college.
Put an ad in the paper. Hang a banner on Cross Campus. Climb the Art & Architecture Building and shout it to the masses. Get the message out. Tell the people, tell your friends:
“I’m a cheap date and an OK hook-up! Here I am, world! Go ahead and do me!”
Greg Yolen is a sophomore in Pierson College, and you’re probably not.