Unfriends with benefits

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andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

Back in my wild and crazy early 20s, I met a beautiful man through his 17-year- old brother. The brother asked him to buy cigarettes, so without really investigating, I assumed this guy was at least 18. That evening, we hooked up and began a whirlwind romance. A few days later, I received a lecture from the 17-year-old about how I really shouldn't be messing around with his baby brother. To my horror, turns out the person I'd already had a bunch of sex with and was now holding hands around town with was many years my junior. It turned into small town high drama when we refused to stop dating and, to make a long story short, he turned out to be one of my favorite people, the best ex I ever had, and I find my life was enriched by the time I spent with him. Sadly, I am still subjected to pedophile/cradle-robbing jokes almost 15 years later, but what can you do?

Anyhow, we lost touch for over a decade until, of course, the miracle of Facebook. We chatted a few times, then I invited him to a party on Events, never thinking he'd come. Lo and behold, the party night I open my door to find him and his wife standing there, holding my favorite beverages from over a decade ago. He's got many kids now and we've both had a hell of a life since. Our friendship is reunited and I won't lose him again. Facebook rules!

Love,

Young Love

Dear Young:

Well, you did rob the cradle! It's of interest to me, although surely fodder for a different column, that what you did would be met with nearly universal disgust and outrage had the genders been flipped. Instead, a story like yours usually earns mostly giggles and expressions of fake scandalization (see cradle-robbing and even pedophile jokes), and since apparently the boy's friends knew back when you were robbing his cradle that he was hooking up with a mature, experienced woman maybe 10 years older than he was, I'm assuming he was the object of much envy and "way-to-go!" back-slapping. Of course, in your case, it really does sound like both an innocent mistake (at first!) and a good time for all. Even so, it still worries me a bit, in retrospect.

A 15-year-old can give consent, and yours surely did, but I don't like the automatic assumption that sex with a much older partner is harmless fun for boys and, essentially, rape for girls. It can't be true all the time, in either direction. And that's not even touching on sex between willing but vulnerable teenage boys and much older, predatory men. I've seen the results of that, and they are often not very nice. I'd like to see teenagers counseled to trust their own instincts and say no until they are quite sure they want to say yes, and then treated with respect for their choices. In an age of both anti-teen-sex hysteria and the mass promotion of teenage sex objects, that is not what we're getting, though, is it?
Oops. I guess I didn't save that rant for another column. Sorry! where were we, again?

Your long-ago affair sounds wacky (How could you not know? Did you think he was the older brother?) but ultimately quite fulfilling for all. I'm sure his wife is glad for his early tutelage. I'm glad you were glad to see each other. I'm glad you wrote. We're all glad, hurrah.

Love,

Andrea

Dear Andrea:

I have one. I think. "James" and I were friends in college, and also sometimes hooked up, and then would go back to being just friends again. I did hope back then that we would end up together eventually, but he always squirmed out of it, which hurt. After school, we lost touch. Now with Facebook, I saw him show up in the "friends" of another college friend and got in touch and he seemed happy to hear from me. We're both divorced, and living about an hour and a half apart. Should I ... ?

Love,

Friendly

Dear Friend:

Well, that depends.

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