Sunday, August 28, 2011
Guest post: Thoughts on friends with benefits by Meredith Schorr
The title of my book is Just Friends With Benefits. Did you hear about the new movie called Friends With Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis? So did I and, no, there is no association between my book and the movie.
I cannot tell you how many people have said that to me, a chuckle in their voice or an "LOL" at the end of their email, like they are SO funny and original and like I'd never heard it before. Stating for the record, I've heard it before and it's not that funny. No offense.
Anyhoo, yes the title of my novel is Just Friends With Benefits and my main character, Stephanie, sleeps with her old crush from college who is also a friend. He labels it "friends with benefits." She plays along but secretly wants more.
I had obviously heard the phrase "friends with benefits" ("FWB") before I wrote the book. It's pretty popular these days and I used it in my title hoping to entice readers to buy the book. I've never, however, had a FWB myself. I just don't know if I could handle it. I'm pretty selective about who I sleep with and need a certain amount of physical attraction. I'm also pretty selective about my friends and only befriend people I genuinely like and enjoy spending time with. So, the way I see it, if I'm attracted enough to want to sleep with a man, yet like him enough as a person to call him my friend, chances are, I'm going to want him to be my "boy" friend and having sex with him regularly is probably going to make it worse. And I'll keep hoping that the FWB status will segue into a relationship, it probably won't (since my life is not a romantic comedy movie), I'll waste time, get my heart broken and likely lose my friend in the process. No thanks.
The FWB concept does not work in the movies either. The characters in No Strings Attached took their friendship up a notch and became friends with benefits. Then they fell in love. I haven't seen the movie yet but would be willing to bet my next royalty check that Justin and Mila's characters in Friends with Benefits eventually fell in love too. If the FWB status worked for them, there would have been no desire to upgrade to boyfriend and girlfriend. Although I'm aware that No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits are fictional stories, I suppose real-life FWBs sometimes become boyfriend and girlfriend too, but more likely, I think one of the two is quietly praying for an upgrade and like my main character, feeling bad about herself that her "buddy" doesn't want to be her boyfriend. (And I'm sure in some cases it is the man who secretly wants more.) And while I would not be able to blame my FWB for any wrong doing since the rules of a FWB relationship are clear, anyone who makes me feel not good enough, purposely or not, should not be allowed to see me naked. I truly believe a one night stand makes more sense for me than an FWB. And that statement should not be taken to mean I have regular one night stands. But it would be more likely than a FWB. I just don't think it works most of the time.
It's worth noting that my opinion comes from my own stage in life as a single, never-been-married woman who is still looking for "the one." It would be different if a guy friend and I starting dating with the best intentions and it didn't work out. I could live with that since no relationship comes with a success guarantee, but I'd be afraid to get too caught up in a no-strings sexual relationship with someone I might honestly see myself getting more serious with. But I can see some situations where it could work. For instance, when two people enjoy each other's company and are physically attracted to each other but, due to extraneous factors such as physical distance, know that being in a serious relationship could never work. Or two people who have already been in serious relationships, not interested in going there again and are truly just looking for companionship with no strings. Maybe people in different stages of their lives, ex. older woman and much younger man who have nothing in common aside from a mutual physical attraction could make it work. Or even married couples who have agreed that sexual relations outside of the marriage are allowed. There are exceptions to every rule and I'm sure the FWB actually works in some cases, but for single people like myself who are actually looking for something more, I'd be very surprised if, in the majority of cases, both parties to a FWB situation are truly satisfied. (And I don't mean "sexually" satisfied!)
Anyway, that's my opinion on the subject for what it's worth. But, hey, did you hear about that book Just friends with Benefits by Meredith Schorr? It has nothing to do with the movie, but you should read it. It's good!
Thank you so much, Meredith, for dropping by my blog with such a great post! I most definitely recommend Meredith's book "Just Friends with Benefits"!