Ben: So my dad says that I’m getting my brother’s sloppy seconds.
Nathan: I don’t know. It’s been like four years. I don’t think the seconds are all that sloppy anymore.
Ben: That’s what I told him. It’s like Dad, it’s only sloppy for like 28 hours at the most. First it gets sloppy, then it gets raw, and then, over time, it reforms to its natural beauty.
Nathan: So, we gotta call these, “clean seconds.”
Ben: I prefer, “beautiful, lovely, rose-petal-smellin’ seconds.”
Nathan: Whatever. Your brother’s ex-girlfriend by any other name still had sex with your brother.
Ben: Well, regardless, you’re a dick.

Recently, a conversation between my friend Ben and I raised a question that I found interesting. (I don’t know if Ben found it interesting because his phone kept cutting out because he lives thirty miles east of nowhere—oh yeah, and by the by, Ben is the guy who helped me with The Evolution of the Whore. Imagine where I’d be without him). When, exactly, is it okay for me to date my brother’s or friend’s ex-girlfriend? In the case of Ben and his brother, Dan, well it’s perfectly okay for Ben to grab the ex because 1) Dan lives 2000 miles away from his ex-girlfriend, 2) they broke up four years ago, and 3) Dan is currently living with a beautiful and spiritual woman whom he very much cares for.

So, let’s utilize the three reasons Ben and Dan are okay, and then fine tune it from there (I forget if this is inductive or deductive reasoning, but look it up and you may learn something useless). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m here to help. By the time I retire from Points in Case, y’all will be so wise, absolutely no one will notice. That’s wise beyond your peers, right there. Moving on…

Rule #1The farther away from his ex-girlfriend my buddy lives, the less he should expect me to keep my hands off his ex.

If I were to explain my reason for dating a friend’s ex, then mail the explanation to him, this is what I would write on the post card: “Look, I know you guys just broke up over the phone last week, but you moved to Utah and she lives in Delaware. What the hell am I supposed to do, Good Buddy? You’ve already told me how great she is in bed. Plus, I’m in Delaware. I’ve got limited options here. Anyway, enjoy the salt flats.” (Side note: The post card would also have a picture of his ex and me fucking on a miniature golf course, but you probably saw that coming.) Because my buddy moved really far away, he gave up on his old town, and therefore, it follows that he also gave up on any and all women in that town, except possibly his mother and sister. And, in case you’re scoring at home, I reserve the right to go after them, too (that’s a different column for a different day).

Rule #2The longer it has been since the breakup, the less of a right my buddy has to expect me to stay away from his ex.

I have decided to develop some ratios (based on nothing more than the fact that I have an internet column that needs more words) that express how all wounds heal with time. If I start dating my buddy’s ex inside of the first three months of the breakup, he should be allowed to beat me up withoutrepercussion. If I start dating her between three to six months from their split, the most I can expect as punishment is a lot of jokes at my expense. Between six and twelve months, I can expect a fair amount of good natured ribbing, and after a year, it has officially reached the time I have the right to tell my buddy, “Dude, get over it.” Notice that no matter when I start dating her after a breakup, my friendship with my buddy should never be abolished. This is because he and the ex broke up and friends are more important than nice-smelling cum-dumpsters…I mean random girls. That’s it. Random girls. So to recap:

0-3 months: I’m a scumbag.
3-6 months: I’m an insensitive jerk.
6-12 months: I’m slightly insensitive.

Amendment to Rule #2: This timeline is not to be in effect if the buddy in question has taken up permanent residence more than three hundred miles away from his ex. Proximity overrules all. That’s why it’s rule #1.

Rule #3If my buddy has already hooked up with a woman who makes him happy, his ex should be of no consequence to him.

Regardless of time or proximity, I have every right to bang uglies with her. There is only one amendment to this otherwise infallible rule: if, for whatever reason, my friend is dating a girl to make the ex jealous and therefore, is faking the apparent happiness, then I must allow him at least six months (from the date of breakup) to see if his plan works. If it fails, not only do I have the right to bang his ex, I also have the right to tell her the truth about him and his new girl, and then make sure that said new girl finds out he’s using her like a chess piece in the Game of Slut. And then, I am obligated to bang his new girl harder than a rock slide. This is a moral imperative because men are not supposed to play games with women (on the grounds that there is never an excuse to sink to their level). Also, because he pulled such a wickedly uncool stunt, my buddy is officially worse than the worst chick. Which basically means that I can write him off entirely, which means I can tie him to a chair and have my way with his mom in front of him (while his eyelids are taped open). Which I would probably do. Gotta have rules.

So, what have we learned from this week’s ramblings? Well, in the words of the dude who delivered my pizza last night (after I asked him what was going on), “Nothing much.” The truth is, any girl who will effectively and willingly ruin friendships is a bitch, any two guys who would let a bitch come between them weren’t really friends in the first place, and my buddy Ben is banging his little brother’s ex-girlfriend.

I think it’s all pretty clear that this column has changed your life. And for that, you’re welcome. Now, don’t say I never did anything for you.

Hey, it’s been awhile since Nathan linked to his daily ramblings. No it hasn’t.