Clarifying the Guy's Code: Part 1
Of any collection of rules, laws or codes of justice ever created in the history of mankind, there may be none so intangibly vague and yet so presumably defined as the mythical “Guy’s Code.” The Magna Carta was a clearly explained, articulately authored, document enforced upon King John in an attempt to establish the rights of free men. Same for the first ten amendments that constitutes the American Bill of Rights.1 But the Guy’s Code? Where does it exist but in the hearts and minds of true men across this country? How can any man reasonably expect another man to adhere to a set of bylaws so completely and utterly open to individual interpretation? Why do men take such quick offense to perceived violations of a code that has never been officially taught or agreed upon by any sort of legislative body? This column series seeks to elucidate some of the more cloudy aspects of the Guy’s Code by examining its more widely accepted bedrocks, one rule at a time; starting with:
Rule: Never date your friend’s ex girlfriend.
Simultaneously the most acknowledged yet oft-broken tenet of the Guy’s Code; the scenario is so layered in its complexity it even requires several sub-clauses to fully understand it. The general rule, as stated, typically trumps all arguments. However, there are certain exceptions made in cases where legitimate and sincere feelings apply between the transgressor and aforementioned ex girlfriend. Follow me for a second:
Sub-rule #1: If you’re going to do it, you better ask first.
The transgressor must must must first ask for his friend’s blessing prior to making any formal advances on the ex girlfriend. Is it awkward? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Definitely. Can it potentially lead to a fistfight? Sure. But it has to be done. No true man should ever pursue his friend’s ex-girlfriend unless specifically granted permission from said friend first.2 This has less to do with propriety than with simply not being a dick.
Sub-rule #2: If your friend asks for your blessing, give it.
Here’s where the Guy’s Code reveals its fundamental balance, for it is incumbent upon both parties involved to acquiesce. At the risk of being reductive, if your friend has the sack to do something as difficult, pride-less and instinct-defying as asking for your permission to date someone over whom you have no claim of ownership or authorization, then for God’s sake, don’t be an ass and say “No.” You owe it to your friend to authorize the request and bless his pursuit of your ex no matter how much you may want to tell him what a raging bitch she might be.3
The point is: the basis of the rule and its subsequent clauses is predicated on the simple notion that a guy should never cock block.4 Certainly you never want to date a friend’s ex because of the sloppy seconds corollary and you know, that’s just gross. But the less frequently articulated reason is that you never want to stand in the way of your friend one day either A) getting back together with the ex or B) getting the chance to sleep with her casually. Conversely, if you are the friend to whom the request is being made, you don’t want to hinder the odds of your friend A) perhaps being a better fit for your ex or B) getting the chance to sleep with her casually, either.Continued on the next page