The Rules of Sloppy Seconds

Note: The situation below is not about me. This is strictly hypothetical for this blog entry’s sake. Really.

Say you’re a single guy. You’re interested in a single girl. The thing is, she previously dated a friend of yours. Can you pursue her? What are the rules in this type of a situation?

I think these will greatly differ from person to person (especially between men and women…hence Penelope’s companion blog entry today), so feel free to chime in your thoughts in the comments, but here’s my take on the Rules of Sloppy Seconds:

  1. Timing: If you’re calling the girl 15 minutes after she broke up with your friend, that’s not cool. If you value your friendship, you need to wait a while. The length of time really depends on the type of person your friend is. It could be 2 months; it could be 30 years.
  2. Permission: This also really depends on the guy. Some guys get all formal about this type of stuff. They want a notarized request of coitus (yeah, I just wrote that). Other guys just want you to mention the idea to them in passing. Play it by ear.
  3. Type of Relationship: Did your friend go on two dates with this girl? Or were they madly in love for most of college? The shorter the relationship, the better for you.
  4. Level of Friendship: How close are you to your friend? Are you sports-watching friends? Lunch-break friends? Cubicle buddies? If you see this friend on a regular basis, that means he’ll be seeing his old girlfriend with you fairly often too. Don’t be cruel.
  5. Who Broke Up with Who: If he broke up with her, he may not care at all if you date her (although he might be bewildered by the idea). Also, be aware of the revenge date. I saw this happen in Japan, and it was ugly. It was like something out of a sitcom. Also beware if she broke up with him. That’s probably not a good situation to get into.
  6. Hotness: If she’s really hot, none of the above rules apply. Anything goes. Kidding. I think. Man’s gotta live.

Let’s make this personal: What if you want to date a girl who I once dated? I say go for it, dude. I’ve had the good fortune of dating some amazing women (that sounds egotistical, but I mean it to be complimentary of my exes). One of them could play a mean air piano. Another had a dance move that could make grown men cry. If you’re my friend, that means that I think highly of you, and you have my full support if you care about a woman who I happened to date.

How does that work for all of you? What are your rules of sloppy seconds? After you answer, go over to Penelope’s blog to read a female’s perspective on this matter. Also, word to the wise, do not run a Google Image search for “sloppy seconds” with SafeSearch off. Seriously.