Friends with benefits

Friends with benefits

Friends with benefits – the term came into my consciousness first as a lyric in an Alanis Morissette song (oh, the early 90s!). At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, maybe that the friend might do a French plait for you the odd time, or let you borrow their Boyzone album.
Much older, and slightly wiser, the phrase came to mind recently upon hearing a tale of unrequited… something… that had been going on for quite a while between two old friends.
He’s typically male; not always the brightest when feelings are involved, and not awfully tuned in to any type of vibes. A bit of a metrosexual himself, my friend – let’s call him John – is into the type of girl other girls hate. Glossy hair, fake tan, a face full of makeup and the latest fashion and John is falling over himself.
She – let’s call her Mary – doesn’t quite fit the image I’ve created just now of John’s ideal woman. A lovely looking girl but not cast in the Cheryl Cole mould, Mary is fun, kind, funny and warm, and has been lusting after John for about two years now.
An abandoned attempt at a kiss under the mistletoe last year seemed to be the end of something that never began, but, like a one-winged phoenix rising, wonkily, from the ashes, their relationship assumed fledgling status at the start of the summer and is still limply hovering.
A frank conversation with John last year revealed that he “definitely” didn’t fancy Mary. “She’s just not my type, like, I don’t find her attractive at all to be honest. She’s a nice girl but I really don’t fancy her.” She clearly isn’t his type; but it hasn’t stopped him getting in there while the going was good, and he shows no sign of getting out again.
A group holiday with other friends was complicated as the two of them began their ‘no we’re just friends that sometimes sleep in each other’s rooms’ carry-on, and over three months later not much has changed.
Just friends… who spend most evenings together, many nights together and who visit each others’ families together. Hmmm.
Generally, what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms doesn’t bother me – not my problem.
But my fear in this situation is that John – as I mentioned, not the most intuitive – will take everything Mary says about them being just friends completely literally, and, one Saturday night in their favourite haunt, introduce her to Cheryl, who is “really hot”. And proceed to chat up Cheryl, bring her home, and maybe even ring Mary for a chat about it the next morning… as if she were one of the lads. Because she has let him believe she is.
Poor Mary. In fairness to her, sticking to her guns has won him over, to a point. It’s not like she hasn’t gotten some of what she wanted – company and a cheap hot water bottle. But as for an actual relationship, always something she’s wanted, not a hope. Hopefully, she’ll realise that before John does his usual bull in a china shop act, but I won’t hold my breath.


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