“LOL”, “SMH”, “NVM”, “LMK” the list of acronyms that we’ve created to communicate is now becoming endless and, at least for me, almost impossible to keep up with. And since I rarely post anything on social media, don’t even get me started on all the hashtags. Yes. I admit that I sound like an old fart and depending on the day, I guess you could say that I am. Now, that I’m officially in my forties, there is a certain level of entitlement. However, with that entitlement still comes a level of responsibility to keep up with the times. Which leads me to one rather interesting acronym…
” FWB” otherwise known as: Friends with Benefits.
In my last entry, I was just about to leave for a ten-day vacation (or rather it turned into an eleven-day vacation since we missed our connecting flight and had to stay an extra day in Barcelona) to Spain. Friends from New York, London, Italy and even Chicago were going on this trip to celebrate my birthday. Before I left, I was already feeling very fortunate with all the birthday wishes, parties, etc. that I wasn’t too stressed out about the fact that I was officially a forty-year-old man.
The trip itself, was fabulous from the moment we arrived till the day we left. Bars, beaches, food, laughter, more bars and meeting so many new people. By the fourth day into our trip, most of my friends had all had sexual adventures… all except for me. I wasn’t sure if Spain wasn’t into me or as one of my friends bluntly put it to me, “You need to pay attention.” I admit that I really don’t pay attention to others when I’m out with my friends. I tend to focus solely on them and not pay any attention if any flirtatious moves are coming my way. In the middle of the trip, I was determined to make sure that I wasn’t leaving Spain unless I had an adventure on my own. Wouldn’t you know, the minute I started “paying attention” to my surroundings; I met someone almost instantly at the wee hours in Ibiza. It was just what I needed. I was thousands of miles from New York, from work, from all my responsibilities and it felt so amazing to be that disconnected from reality.
Once that happened to me in Spain, I told myself that when I returned to New York, that instead of trying to find a relationship that maybe what I need right now is a, “FWB” moment. However, before I left Spain, I wanted to try my hand at this “meeting” new people one last time. On our last night in Barcelona, I began chatting with this man that was staying at a nearby hotel. He asked me to meet him at the rooftop of his hotel for a drink to see if we had “chemistry”. I agreed to it and wasn’t entirely sold on this scenario, so I asked some of my friends to come along for support. The deal was that if I liked the guy than they would leave and have dinner. If it was a bust than we all would leave and go for dinner.
My friends and I get to the rooftop of the hotel. I wasn’t nervous but also wasn’t sure to what to expect. I told him that I would be bringing some friends and he didn’t mind that at all. We all had our drinks and finally he arrived. He fit right in and get this…he is also from New York. So, there we were, just a bunch of New Yorkers in Spain having cocktails and sharing stories of our trips. I was attracted to him, thought he was attracted to me and just as I was about to tell my friends to leave and that I’d meet up with them later. The entire thing shifted once this guys’ friends showed up and it became some odd meeting. Suffice to say, my last night in Spain didn’t turn out as I had planned.
In all my years in New York, I’ve never actually really had a “FWB” before. I didn’t know how to go about obtaining one, how to keep one or how to maintain one. I know that my single friends have them, but they seemed to have their “FWB’s” already locked down.
As soon as I got back to the city; I decided to take matters into my own hands and contact someone that I had gone on one date with two years ago. We didn’t make it as far as dating goes but every now and again we would text each other to see how the other was doing. I told him that I was back in New York and he said, “Great! Let me take you out for your birthday.” I was blunt in my response by telling him that I’m interested in turning our communication into a “FWB” situation. I was surprised when he said that he was more than happy to make that transition. However, he still wanted to meet for drinks and now dinner. From what I’ve heard over the years, the “FWB” scenario usually doesn’t involve food or beverage but I decided to go with the flow and so I agreed to meet him two Friday’s ago.
I was on the tail end of my jet lag from my trip but was determined to see what my new potential “FWB” had in store. After work, I squeezed in a quick workout and got ready to meet him for dinner, drinks, etc.
During dinner, I was working overtime to make sure that this dinner was solely to ensure that afterwards we’d be going back to his place. No muss and no fuss. However, as dinner continued, I realized he was wanting more from me than just what I was proposing. By the time the bill came and we both paid our share; I knew that this wasn’t going to be my best “laid plan”. He suggested we go for a walk since it was a nice night and get ice cream. I politely declined for having dairy after dinner and thinking there might be sex afterwards just didn’t seem like a good idea. He walked me to my door and asked to see me again. I told him I’d text him my schedule once I knew. So far, this “FWB” was not working in my favor.
The next night, I was attending a dinner party for friends of mine that have decided to move to Australia and give life a try down under. It was a bittersweet gathering but during the dinner, it was nice to see a table full of amazing people. Eating, drinking and laughing. It really made my heart feel full.
As last week started, I was feeling defeated in the “FWB’ department. I, once again, thought I should get one of these relationships a jump start. I got online and before I knew it, once I put out that I was looking more for a “FWB” rather than a relationship; suddenly my inbox was full. It was there I realized that most people these days aren’t really looking for a solid, romantic, monogamous relationship but rather something they don’t have to put a lot of work into.
So, after careful consideration, I selected someone that I wanted to meet first before creating a “FWB”. When I suggested that we meet for coffee or a drink, he laughed and asked, “Why would we meet for a drink first?” It was there that I told him I would never bring a stranger into my home without knowing them first. Then I said, “The situations of a Friends with Benefits has the word “FRIENDS” in it. At least we can meet for a drink before going straight to bed.” He suggested we meet this past Wednesday at the bar, Therapy.
Last Wednesday, 8 p.m. and my potential “FWB” is already waiting for me at the bar. He was having some IPA beer and I ordered my vodka soda with a splash of cranberry. Right off the bat, he looked pretty darn close to his photos and he instantly paid me a compliment. We began chatting and it went effortlessly. We talked about where we both are from, favorite movies, friends, work, family, etc. After the first drink, we ordered another one.
Finally, it was time to get down to business and I asked him if he thought it was odd that I asked to meet him first. He said, “I’ve never met someone like this with an agenda.” I told him my reasons and gave some examples of how crazy my dating life is and how it’s just better to meet in person. After I gave him two examples he understood why I would want to meet someone face to face before anything else.
I asked him point blank what is sexual status was and that is where he confessed to me that he is HIV positive but that he’s undetectable and always has safe sex. He said he understood if I wanted to back out and leave. I put my hand on his forearm and said, “First and foremost, thank you for your honesty. So many people can lie and not deal with the consequences. And secondly, I will need some time to think about it, but this is exactly why I wanted to meet beforehand.”
I told a few friends of mine about what I was doing that night by meeting this guy and they sort of laughed at the way I was going about things. However, with that simple conversation that I had with this new guy; I found out more in two cocktails than I would’ve had he just shown up at my front door.
After our two-drink minimum meeting, he agreed to walk me to the corner and asked to see me again this week. I agreed but I told him that it wasn’t going to be a meeting about sex. Not because of his sexual status but because I wouldn’t mind getting to know him a bit more. He said that he’s been single for awhile for he still isn’t sure how to present his story. All I told him is that he doesn’t need a “story” to tell but rather just let the truth speak for itself and be honest with anyone that he might be sexual with.
So far, I’ve been up to bat twice with this “FWB” and struck out. That doesn’t mean I will give up but rather maybe I even met a new “friend” and am able to help someone out. It wasn’t the path I thought I was going to go down but hey…if you can help someone out even just by listening than I’ve done my job.
Turns out…this “FWB” thing is almost just as much work as a traditional relationship.
Whatever relationship you create for yourself, I hope that it’s filled with tons of “LOL’s”, that you never have to “SMH” and above all the acronyms out there that you fill your relationship with honesty and love.
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