There was a particular girl there who I became very fast friends with. We were always knocking on each other’s door in halls, spinning a £1.15 pint out in the SU, talking about where we came from and what we wanted to do with our lives. About a month into our friendship, at about , I was awoken by a hammering on my door. It was her. She’d been out on the mash. “Let us in, then”, she said. Before I knew it, or had time to put on anything more substantial than a very ratty pair of boxers, she was fully-clothed, in my very tiny university-regulation single bed, beckoning me in. Crikey.
“You should have been out with us, it was ace. Come here. Cuddle up to me. Don’t want to sleep alone” she said, before turning over, thrusting her arse into my groin, and falling asleep. I spent the rest of the night lying awake, with my arm going number and number, in a catatonic state of shock, concentrating every erg of brain-power into avoiding any semblance of an erection (the fact that she was still wearing sequinned hot-pants long before Kylie did helped, though. It was like having a hedgehog in me lap)
And that, my friends, was my first contact with Frenditis. But definitely not the last.
Here’s the thing; I truly believe when it comes down to it, there are not that many psychological differences between men and women, but when it comes to ideal partners, we differ strongly. Women tend to prefer a man who comes in from nowhere and can show her a different perspective on life (notice how I’m fighting to avoid the term ‘sweep her off her feet’ here, in case I instantly transform into Barbara Cartland). Men, on the other hand, tend to want a friend they can fuck. To the male mind, it makes perfect sense, mainly because we're less inclined to compromise and change our behaviour. If you’re already friends with someone, they already know what you’re like and what you get up to, and they already tolerate it, we assume. And no-one ever becomes friends with someone they’re not attracted to in some way, no matter what sex they are. But when the friend happens to possess the set of genitals you want to get involved with, that’s when the trouble starts.
Over the next few months, we slept together on numerous occasions. After I told her of my aversion to sequins, she started stripping down to her underwear, and I developed the erection-avoiding skills of a Zen Master. Was she being a prick-teaser? No - she had already categorised me as a friend, the window of possibility had been shut a long time ago, and if what she did with other friends was sleep with them when she didn’t want to be on her own, then she was gonna sleep with me.
So was I being an idiot for assuming that she was doing this because she wanted to grind me into the bed at some point? Maybe, but how was I to know? All I could see was that a) she liked me, b) if she was sleeping with me, she must really like me, c) the only thing that’s stopping her from declaring her lust for me was that it was my job to do that, but d) I’m scared to, in case she falls out with me.
And this went on for ages, to the point where I might as well have glued fur to my entire body, put on a bowtie, and propped myself up on a pillow. And not just with her, either – I was a serial teddy-bear. I don’t like to brag, but I relentlessly Teddied it about on campus with a chain of female friends, even managing a threesome with two girls who took it in turns to say how nice it was to sleep with a bloke who wasn’t trying to fuck them, as I lay on the bed with my plastic nose, stitched-up mouth and mentally-shrivelled todger, as I inwardly screamed; “BUT I DOOOOO WANT TO FUCK YOUUUUUUUU! AARRRRRGHHHHH! PLEASE TAKE MY VIRGINITY AWWAAAAAAAYYYYY!”
Eventually, matters came to a head. We went out, got drunk, I confessed I was mad about her, and we went back to mine and had a 3-second snog. Then I lunged at her tits (yes, I was that classy in those days) and it was Game Over. Next day, brief chat, sorry about last night, yeah, I really like you too but I don’t feel that way about you, might be best not to see each other for a bit. Thanks to me, that ‘bit’ became 17 years, because to most men, the only cure for Frienditis is not to be friends anymore.
I learned a very important lesson that night. But it took me years to actually understand it. Nowadays, I have far more female friends than male ones, and I like living in a world where men can actually do that. Obviously, I still find them attractive, but when I do, I let them know as early as possible, so as to get all the baggage and the rubbish out of the way. And if they ever do end up in my bed, I tiptoe off to the sofa.