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Rated: 18+ · Interview · Cultural · #1356366
An enlightening, yet frustrating conversation about the idea of "Friends With Benefits"
Between The Sheets
    The following is part of a conversation I had with a group of young people after a group had gathered to purchase tickets for a local music event.  I took the opportunity because it presented itself.
    “So let me ask yall something, what is the point to all this friends with benefits thing?  Isn’t it just a way to cheat on one another and not be held responsible?”
    “No, how can you cheat on someone that you don’t go with?  This way no one's feelings get hurt.”
    “But that is what I am trying to understand, how do your feelings not get hurt when you see someone you are sleeping with, with someone else?”
    “What you don’t understand is that there are no feelings involved.”
    “You’re right, I don’t understand that.  How do you sleep with someone and not have feelings for them?”
    “You just don’t.”
    “How though?  Don’t you at least have to like the person?”
    “Well liking someone is having feelings, isn’t it?”
    “I guess you could say that.”
    “Yeah you could say that but it’s just liking the physical or something.”
    “So again, how can you just sleep with someone and not have feelings for them?”  I saw that they were kind of struggling to justify this behavior.
    “I guess it’s not that you don’t have feelings, it’s just that you don’t love ‘em or anything like that.”
    “Okay, so what happens when you do start having some feelings?”
    “You don’t.”

    “Yeah, you just don’t. That just messes things up.”

    “How do you not?  Let’s just say that you are sleeping with someone for a few months or more, on this friends with benefits program, are you telling me that there are still no feelings involved?”

    “Like she said, ‘it messes things up’.”

    “How does caring for someone mess things up?”

    “Well, when you start feeling, things hurt you and no one wants to get hurt.”

    “So all of this is about not getting hurt?”
    “What if I said it sounds more to me like no one wants to be responsible for being in a relationship.  The only thing you are interested in is busting a nut.”
    “Relationships just complicate things so why not just do what needs to be done and be finished.”
    “But it’s not always just finished.  What about the females who get pregnant and don’t know who the father is because she doesn’t know which “friend” got her pregnant? What about STD’s?”
    “Shit happens.”
    I thought to myself that these kids need some type of reality check.
    “Shit happens huh?  Like I said, all this is just a way not to be responsible for anything.”
    “If that’s how you want to look at it.”
    “Don’t you all think that with the numbers of African Americans contracting the HIV/AIDS virus today that that kind of behavior is dangerous? Right now the fastest growing number of AIDS cases is among African American women between the ages of 18 and 25.”
    “Sure, it’s dangerous, if you don’t be smart about it.”
    “What do you mean by ‘be smart about it’?”
    “You know, condoms and birth control.”
    “Condoms break and no birth control method, other than abstinence, is one hundred percent.”
    “That’s true, but how often does that happen?”
    “I don’t know but, it must be quite often judging by the increasing numbers of unwed mothers, and not just teens.  The number of AIDS cases is also rising so none of what you all use to try and justify your behavior holds up.”
    “All I know is that it works for me and a lot of my friends.”

    “Me too.”

    “How long do you think it will be before you all’s luck runs out?  Yall do realize that you are only playing Russian roulette with your lives, don’t you?”
    “It’s not that bad.”
    “You sure about that?  It’s a known fact that everyone’s luck runs out at some point.”
    “You act like yall older folks don’t have sex or something.”
    “Oh no, don’t think like that.  Some of us today are acting just like you.  Hell we had one night stands and such, but it was just that, a one night stand.  There was none of this just getting together cause your horny on a regular basis.  At that point you were going together.  Besides we didn’t have AIDS like you all do now.  Back in the day if you got an STD you went to the free clinic, got a shot or some pills, didn’t have sex for seven to fourteen days and you were good.  Now if you catch something it’ll kill you.”
    “Seems like to me yall did more than we do.”
    “I never said we were angels, but you guys are taking things to a whole other level and you’re dying for it.”
    “I know some older folks dying from it too.”
    “Yeah we are, because we, well some of us, are trying to join in with this hip-hop generations new attitude.  I personally think that is a big mistake on our parts.”
    “Why is it a mistake to have fun?”
    “It’s not about having fun.  If that’s all there was to it you all wouldn’t be doing it.  After all there is more fun in having a relationship with someone than there is in just seeing someone to sleep with them.  All you all are doing is just using each other.”
    “We know that, but that’s what we want.”
    “Look, we don’t have to worry about somebody wanting to take up all of our time, fussing at us and shit, always up in your business.  You know, like being married.”
    “What’s wrong with being married?  I mean it has to beat worrying about diseases and unknown baby daddy’s and such.”
    “That may be how you old folks see it but we like having our freedom.  Freedom to do what we want, when we want, how we want.  We know what we are doing.”
    “So it’s like I said, nobody wants to be responsible for anything.  You don’t want to have to worry about how what you do affects anyone else.  This is where the ever famous phrase ‘whatever’ comes in.  Just seems to me that the generation that grew up with AIDS is the generation least educated about it.”
    “We know about AIDS, we know all about it, more than what you think.”
    “Then why such risky behavior?”
    “It’s just how we are.”
    “Well I have to go but I thank you all for talking to me.  Here’s a list of health departments that you can go to if you ever need.  I hope and pray none of you do but, take this info just in case.”

    “Okay, bye.”

    “Nice talkin’ to you.”

    “Yeah, nice talkin’ to you.”

    “Yall be blessed in your lives and stay clean.”

    I thought that the mention of HIV/AIDS and other STD’s would get me some kind of half way logical explanation to this friends with benefits thing.  The only thing I got out of it was frustration and I know the others could feel it.  There just simply was no reasonable excuse or justification for it.  To put ones own life in the hands of someone you know has no feelings for you, or supposedly has no feelings for you.  I don’t understand how they can’t see how being with someone who doesn’t care about them means they really don’t care about themselves.  It’s just sad.  Anyone who truly loves themselves only wants to be loved by someone else.  They don’t want nor will they allow themselves to be used in such a manner.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is a generation of young men and women who really have some serious self esteem and or depression issues.

© Copyright 2007 Frieda Peepul (dstokes010 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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