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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Code

Forget it if you think I'm jumping on that DaVinci bandwagon. It was a good book, but get over it. I read Charlotte's Web when I was a kid, but I don't believe spiders can talk to me.

Anywho, I'm talking about the Cowboy Code. One of my guys violated one of its pillars, I hear.

A friend from back in Milwaukee tells me that a mutual buddy is now dating the ex- of another mutual buddy. The other guy and the ex- broke up just a few months ago. This is causing tension between both guys.

First rule of the Ex element of the Code: When your buddy breaks up w/a woman, until the mourning period has passed, you don't mention her in your buddy's presence unless it's part of you consoling him, or unless he says its OK, because it was an amicable breakup.

Second rule of the code: Even when the mourning period has passed, you still don't mention his ex in his presence unless that whole amicable breakup thing is in effect, or he brings her up first, or it's in passing, as in you saw her in public here or there, with this person or that.

Third rule of the code: No matter how hot you've always thought your buddy's ex is, don't even think about it. You wouldn't consider dating your sister. You've always been warned not to hook up w/co-workers. Why in the world would you want the grief that comes with this kind of connection unless you're trying to land a segment on Jerry Springer or Maury.

Fourth rule of the code: If you insist on ignoring the code, you must let nature take its course and not be overly aggressive pursuing the ex. As part of this plan, you must give your buddy a heads up that you and his ex are having a go at it.

Fifth rule of the code: If it appears things are working out between you and your buddy's ex, and all three of you still live in the same region and you have not given your buddy a heads up, you must ask your buddy's blessing - assuming you're still friends w/him.

Sixth rule of the code: Unless your buddy is unusually understanding, you must give it a long period of time - maybe six months, maybe a year, maybe more, before you hook up with his ex - unless one or all of you have moved away and don't live in the same region anymore.

Seventh rule of the code: There are three major exceptions to the rules governing exes and buddies. If your buddy is really understanding up front and parts w/his ex on friendly terms and really, genuinely doesn't care who hooks up with her or why, then knock yourself out. If any one of the three of you (you, buddy, his ex) move away, far away, a reasonable wait period, plus a heads up to your buddy clears the way. If you and your buddy fall out of touch and are no longer close, the passage of time makes it OK. And if enough time has passed, period, your buddy should let bygones be bygones and hopefully has enough of a new life that he isn't bothered by who you're dating. And after so much time, if he is bothered, then too bad.


  • Good one, James! It just so happens that a friend (M1)called me the other day asking a similar question! Her roommate and best friend (M2) freaked out because M1 started a fling with M2's school crush, after M2 encouraged M1 to do so!

    Was I wrong in telling M1 that she was in her rights? M2 never even dated this man. She encouraged M1 to date him now, as high school was a million years ago. Plus, M2 is getting married to her long-time boyfriend of recent years. Call me crazy, but I see some twisted manipulative girlfriend mental stuff in this scenario. M1 still feels tension in the air, even though M2 apologized and gave her a blessing.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:30 PM  

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