Man Codes*

There are a few of these that are amusing — like never using the urinal right next to an occupied urinal if a different one is available. But there’s been one that otherwise reasonable guys frequently defend. I still don’t understand why, but maybe you can help.

Here’s the situation. Man #1, let’s call him Alex, likes a girl and tells his friend Man #2, (we’ll call him Brad) about it. Great. So now Brad isn’t allowed to pursue the girl, even if he likes her too. Even if she has no interest in Alex and actually likes Brad. This makes no sense except in the context of dogs lifting their leg to a hydrant: “This one is mine. I peed on it first.”

I’ve heard the argument that if Brad were to pursue the girl, he would be implying that he valued a girl he doesn’t know over his friendship with Alex. Because, presumably, if anything were to develop between Brad and the girl, this would make Alex upset or jealous. The thing is, Alex is just a petulant child. He has the “if I can’t have her then none of my friends can either” attitude, which no one should stand for.

The optimal solution is that everyone should compete for her affections, and she should choose. I suppose that’s the girl-optimal solution, but there is also a nice symmetry for the potential competitors. There’s no guarantee that Alex will always be the first one to meet the girl, so he should be willing to engage in a bit of competition so that if Brad finds the next girl, he has a shot at her too.

* Gendered pronouns used for simplicity only. This can apply to any combination of genders.

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