No this is not a post about a faulty tampon but rather the movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Mark was out last night and I was bored with ‘all the offerings’ on a certain Pay TV channel, so I used the video-on-demand function and ordered this ‘chick flick’.

Firstly I love love love Ashton. I’m convinced if he lived in my neighbourhood we’d be shagging and also I think Natalie Portman’s cute. I’ve always believed that at some point in my life I might have looked a teeny tiny little bit like her…even if it was in my mother’s womb. So there you go…

The movie is based on the premise that two people can have a strictly physical relationship, be friends with benefits, so to speak. Let me tell you…this doesn’t work. Years ago, before the phrase ‘friends with benefits’ existed I had a similar arrangement with a work colleague. Then the term for what I was doing was ‘slut’ but it was the best time of my life.

While I was still at school I used to have to catch the bus from Jeppe High School into town and then catch the connecting bus home. One day I had to stay after school for detention and so I ended up getting to the bus terminal in town after 4pm…that’s when I spotted him. He was standing at MY Bus stop waiting for MY bus. It was love at first sight for me. I was in love with this stranger. So much so I started taking up extra mural activities at school so I could be in town the same time as him. We never spoke. He never so much looked in my direction.

And then I started my first job. I was in matric, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life so when a friend told me she was going to FNB for an interview I thought I’d drag myself along. I got the job and was to start in January the following year. Please try and guess who my manager was at my new job? I’ll give you a clue…bus stop guy who I was in love with!!!!! I walked into the office with the HR person and she said to him, let’s call him BSG (bus stop guy), “BSG, this is Melinda. It’s her first day and you’re going to have spend a lot of time training her.” Oh how the heavens smiled on me that day. I was going to get paid to hang out with huge crush every single day, and some Saturdays (if our schedules allowed).

I’m not sure how it started or when it did but soon he and I were spending more and more time together. He was in a long term relationship and I was still dating my high school sweetheart. He told me from the start that he wouldn’t leave his girlfriend for me, but he really liked me and if I agreed to it we could rendezvous every now and then…with some ground rules. We would never ever tell anyone. We would not fall in love. We would never ever whisper those three words to one another and either one would have to be prepared to walk away at any time. “Sure” I said, not giving any thought to what that all meant.

We had this arrangement for a while. Easily over three years. He stayed with his girlfriend, while the sweetheart and I broke up. I hooked up with guys at varsity, had one night stands, saw one or two seriously, all the time still seeing BSG. He knew about all the men in my life and would often pass comments like “That’s why I don’t want anything serious with you. I’ll be one of those guys you throw away when you get bored.”

I think there might have been one night where we looked into each other’s eyes and both had those three words on the tips of our tongues. But the moment passed and we never mentioned it again. Then came the day one of us had to walk away. He announced he was getting married and that the set up we had would have to end. “Sure” I said, still not realizing what that meant. And then I realized I had fallen head over heels in love with him and he still saw me as the FWB…

I remember the day he got married. My mom (a florist then) had done the flowers for the wedding so I knew the venue, the date, the time. I stood in front of my mom’s full-length mirror in her room, with a hair brush for a mic and sang Wham’s “Last Christmas”, tears pouring down my cheeks.

We chat every now and then and he’s still happily married with two children. My mom runs into him because they stay in the same area but I haven’t seen him for years. I think about him often and wonder what could have been if we had done away with the rules of our engagements. And then I come back down to earth with a bang. I was the one that got thrown away…


One thought on “No Strings Attached

  1. I ended up married to the guy I started a friends with benefits relationship with. It was me who insisted on no strings as I had just come out of a relationship that had a geographic more then a real end. In other words I was still in love with someone else. It took him a while but he eventually crept into my heart. Eight years later we are still together. Sometimes it works out but I would say that usually that kind of relationship ends in heartbreak for at least one person.

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