Why is it that people so often fall for the friend of a past love interest or a friend’s past love interest?

When constantly hanging out with the same group of people, it appears almost impossible to avoid hooking up with the friend of someone you used to date. Your lips precariously lock with an ex’s suitemate, teammate, chemistry partner or shower mate, and your reputation as a non-promiscuous, non-swinging, single person evaporates.

You are forced to live the life of a fugitive running away from your ex who saw you playing tonsil hockey with his now banished friend. You two have to dodge the missiles your ex fires from his ship of jealousy and scorn.

This past break, the guy I’m seeing and I were engaging in a wholesome game of King’s Cup when we heard a drunken group of our teammates scream out the last name of my ex, who is also my new companion’s friend.

A normal reaction would be to face my new guy with a fake smile and small talk, showing that we did nothing wrong. However, we turned to each other with panicked expressions and reddened faces. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into an adjacent, darkened room.

After standing there talking over one another like the neurotic characters in a Woody Allen film for about five minutes, we finally decided the best plan would be to flee the crime scene and slip out the back porch into the street. Rather than owning up to our secretive affair, we scampered away like scared gazelles being chased by a very intoxicated lion.

We both knew that my ex was no saint and we feared the consequences of his wrath. However, my new companion and I were worried for different reasons. As a girl, I would almost never place myself in his situation. There is an unwritten code that says if you don’t want to be in a rendition of “Mean Girls,” then you don’t go anywhere near a good friend’s past love interest.

I didn’t want to see my ex for fear of looking like a friend-switching hussy, not out of any loyalty to him. Interestingly, my companion did not care if his friend hated him for dating me. He simply worried that he would have to partake in a brawl that would result in unnecessary injuries and less hook up time.

We cowered from our actions, yet continued them anyway. So what’s the draw to such risky relationships?

Is an overly horny population of college students, who will hook up with anyone despite their moral obligations to their friends, responsible for this predicament? Or is that people simply get an erotic thrill from having people hate them?

Permutt is a member of the class of 2008.

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