There are plenty of fish in the ocean, but some women prefer to ‘fish’ from a tiny pond. And as Lady Friday explains to RESCU, there can be many perils …
I’ll be honest: I went to a private girl’s school. The pickings for boys were incredibly slim – the only ones you ever met went to the private boys’ schools round the corner. Hormonal girls in droves signed up for inter-school drama and athletics and god knows what else, for the furtive joys of cigarettes behind the school buildings with wealthy, pimply guys whose voices had barely broken.
I remember one girl trying to date a guy from a public school. She was ostracised faster than you could say ‘class consciousness’. In that particularly tiny dating pool, boy-swapping was so common that by Year 12, everybody had kissed everybody else at least once. It cost heartache and tears in the toilets, but boyfriends were passed around as a necessity – after all, who else was there to date?
The world, of course, is bigger than high school. The sea of fish (as the proverb goes) is vast, jumping, heaving with specimens. Yet the phenomenon of only fishing in your little patch of sea persists. A few months ago, a spectacular drama broke out among some friends of mine when a couple split up, and both partners immediately moved on. Thing is, they moved on to other members of the friendship group – and this was the sort of group that travelled together, went boozing together, shared houses and generally were Deeply Inextricably Intertwined.
The row that ensued was damn near the end of everything. People moved out, sent long tearful emails, broke up for 24 hours at a time, and generally behaved like teens again.
The ‘beginning as friends, ending up as partners’ path is a well-trodden one, and we all know that it can work well. Plus spending close proximity with other people, even when you’re in a relationship, can breed attraction like some kind of germ. Still, can there be something to be said for keeping your sticky fingers out of your personal patch- dating cross-country, as it were?
The Sex & The City girls solved it by seemingly never befriending straight men. They were a core of four, women against an endless stream of males, and in Manhattan’s wilderness, the same man almost never appeared twice, let alone stayed around to be swapped. Real women, however, tend to overlap their coffee-drinking pals with their romantic grazing patches, and it can get messy.
Avoiding the freight-trains of baggage, webs of death and lurking incestuous politics of romancing within your friendship circle seems like a smart move. (I’ve tried, I really have – I started by dating a boy at 14 who lived on the North Shore, far outside the cross-pollination of Sydney’s East. Of course, he did end it after two weeks because he “couldn’t do long distance”.) Besides, once you’ve dated everybody, you either have to find a new group of friends or start the whole thing all over again! But must you sacrifice having men in the Inner Sanctum to avoid the risk of angst?
Of such things are fraught television dramas made. Perhaps, by digging into our friendship circles, we’re just looking for the comfort of the familiar – or we’re eager, in our own weird way, to recapture the golden age and illicit cigarettes of youth.
Lady Friday xx
Taking pillow talk out of the bedroom (every Friday!)
Have you done a ‘Paris Hilton’ and dated your friend’s man? Tell us what happened (the good, the bad and the ugly) below.