Exceptions to the Bro Code?

I’m gonna embed some songs here, to set the mood.  I think you’ll immediately figure out which subsection of the Bro Code I’m eager to discuss. To wit:

Obviously, it states very clearly in the preamble of the Bro Code, after the general heading of Bros before Ho’s, that you don’t fuck your friends’ ladies.  Indisputable.  Self-Evident.  They even borrowed a version of that to put in the 10 commandments (along with your bro’s oxen… also clearly taboo).  But what about after the relationship ends?

Well a quick internet search shows me that that stupid fucking show How I Met Your Mother (which I think is stupid because it’s literally about my life in a literal sense, literally), has had the character Barney actually publish the bro code.  Complete with the bro’s before ho’s thing up front.  So now it could be argued that I’m just biting this whole fucking schtick.  But I’m not.  Here’s a story:

In ye olden 90’s I had a friend.  We met in college, and I’d say he was one of my closer friends there.  His ex had followed him to college (she’d also changed her first name to something incredibly dumb like unicorn, only that wasn’t it), where she proceeded to thread herself into the general group of casual acquaintances and drinking buddies we both frequented.  Ok. Fine.  I didn’t find her in the least bit attractive, because she wasn’t my type, she was clearly batshit for following this guy to college AFTER their divorce, and come on.  Bro Code.

Anyway, one night she and her friend asked me for a ride home.  I drove them home.  We were all drunk (oh shut the fuck up, I know i could have killed someone, but in this town it was impossible to drive faster than 20mph anyway.  yes I feel terrible, happy?), and feelin’ good etc etc.  I pull up to their apartment and the friend (in the back seat) jumps out giggling and tears off at a run.


So me and Unicorn are just sitting there and she’s not getting out of the car, and now I know something’s up.  She’s giving me a look.

“Let’s go for a drive, I’m not ready to go home yet.” she says.

So we go driving, and it’s foggy, and now I know what’s going on because she’s slid over to the middle (bench seats are GENIUS) and her hand’s on my leg.  So I do what any decent friend would do when his friend’s drunk ex is coming on to him in his car in the middle of the night surrounded by fog and not a single living soul.  I pull over, we make out, she comes home with me and we baaang.  And it happens a few more times before the guilt gets to me and that’s that.

Flash forward like 10 years and I confess this to my friend and his response was, “Oh that? Yeah she slept with every single one of my friends that year.”


“It was like her revenge or something.  I hope you had a good time.  Don’t feel guilty.”

Well whatever, I still did and I still do.  However I’m also glad I did it because she was the first girl I’d ever done from behind, which prior to that I’d been under the impression was humiliating and degrading to women (according to an ex who refused to do it).  Oh 90s.

So, what’s the question?

My question is, is it ever actually ok to date a friend’s ex?  I have a whole armload of reasons why it’s perfectly natural to want to.  In general, you’ve gotten to know each other as friends with zero romance pressure for a fairly long time.  That’s huge.  According to my (female) office mate, the only romances that are true and destined to work out are the ones that grow slowly over time with friends who one day you suddenly realize there’s a spark with and you go for more.  She’s obviously talking about her current situation, but there’s some truth to that.

I find that the best conversations I have at parties are often with the wives and serious girlfriends of dudes I know.  SHUT UP! I’m not talking about hitting on them.  I felt the same way about people’s moms in high school.  There’s zero baggage or emotional overhead, nothing to lose OR gain, and ladies who’ve settled down are just good at conversation.  They have opinions and express them.  They listen to yours and comment on them.  If their men are involved in the convos it’s even more enjoyable because they get a nice dynamic going and both pay a lot of attention to what’s being said.  No agendas other than good times.  I love it.  I used to have one of those girlfriends that my guy friends loved to chat with at parties, and it was awesome.

But what happens if one of those girls becomes single?  Have we all been there? I’d like to think so.  There’s an immediate urge to pounce, followed closely by the thought, “Get a hold of yourself, monster, that would be WRONG.”  Is it, though?

Liberated 90s women would say no, it’s not wrong because a girl can date whomever she pleases.  But let’s go ahead and leave whether the girl wants to or not out of it.  What would be the problem(s)?

  1. It would hurt your friend’s feelings, and destroy his trust, thus damaging the relationship for at least as long as you date her (or him, might as well open this up… by “Bro” we mean friend now)
  2. You might Yoko the band.  The tension you bring into the mix by doing this will make everyone kinda wish you weren’t there.  At a minimum you’ll be less welcome, at a max you’ll lose the trust of more than just the one friend.
  3. All of these effects will persist beyond the probable end of your relationship with that ex.  You will be “that guy” and nobody likes that guy.  And there’s almost no way you’re going to go long term with that ex.

So why do it?  What’s the incentive? Well she’s probably hot.  You probably have a solid rapport, which is rare and difficult to find in attractive women (or potential partner of whatever sex).  There’s the whole forbidden fruit thing which can sometimes make the whole debate moot, because let’s face it that shit can be really really hot.  Plus, and this is a long shot, but when we think with our dicks we often come up with some zany shit that sounds logical in a vacuum: She may be THE ONE, and if you manage to date for much longer and more seriously than your friend and her did, you get your slate wiped clean and your sins are pardoned (one would think. with one’s dick).

Why am I musing on this topic, you wonder?  Well. Because I had a platonic outing set up with a situational friend‘s girlfriend and now they aren’t together anymore.  She’s hot.  She’s fun.  There will be drinking and laughing and I’m super single right now.  My only real chance to avoid the deed is if she’s actually disgusted by my physical presence, or if I can manage to keep the conversation on her cute friend who we were originally going to be talking about.  And who would be coming to future, similar activities.  What do I do? Other than cancel, because who am I kidding, I’m not going to cancel?

Ultimately I think it’s a question of priorities.  Do you value healthy friendships, which contribute to healthy lives in general, or do you put a premium on hot, steamy, slightly forbidden sex?  Basically, are you a good person or an animal?

Conclusion: It’s never ok, I gueeeeessssssss……..


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