The first time I ever introduced a guy I was seeing to one of my friends he found her on Facebook and hit her up for a threesome a mere hour after we had said our goodbyes. I get it. I have high standards when it comes to my friends and I tend to hang out with stunning, intelligent, highly independent women. Of course the guy is sizing them up — especially if we’re not in an exclusive relationship. But it does kind of suck when the first thing they think of is how to get your friend in bed with them. Its like, am I not good enough, you have to go for my friend too?
Since then I rarely introduce a guy I am seeing to any of my friends. The guys aren’t likely to stick around for long anyway so there isn’t much point in integrating them into my personal life, but I’ve also had this happen to me time and time again to the point where I’m just not going to put any of us in this position until things are looking real.
I have also been the girl that has been hit up for a threesome after meeting my friend’s guy as well, and I’ve recently come to realise that there are two extremely different lines of standards when it comes to what is allowed when it comes to your friends, and what isn’t, depending on your gender.
Essentially, there is a massive difference between the bro code and the girl code.
For those who might not know, the bro code is described as a friendship etiquette that is followed between male friends. The term was popularised by Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson in the TV show How I Met Your Mother and has created quite a spinoff of terms including girl code (the friendship etiquette between female friends). ‘Bro’s before hoes’, ‘Hoes before bro’s’ and my favourite from Parks and Recreation which is ‘Uteruses before duderuses’.
Friend etiquette is pretty important in this day and age and there does seem to be a standard for the different genders. Please note that as this is based on my own personal experiences, I am focusing more on the ideas of a heterosexual relationship and their generic reactions to the different codes. The LGBTQI community also have a completely different set of etiquettes when it comes to sleeping with friends.
So, first the girl code.
The girl code is pretty sacred amongst besties and girl squads. The girls I know and have asked about their own forms of girl code have had a very black and white version of right and wrong when it comes to friends and guys they are seeing.
The girl code is very much a ‘look but don’t touch’ kind of deal. We know we have hot friends, and yeah we probably have fantasised sexually about our girlfriends as well, but the girl code dictates that you do not hit on our friends and we do not hit on the guys who are with our friends. It is a bond based on respect and trust, and if that bond is ever broken we will unleash the wild firepower of a women scorned.
This is when we start doing things like telling you to hold our hoop earrings or slashing the tyres of our cheating ex-boyfriend’s cars.
I would never in a million years sleep with my friend’s boyfriend, husband, partner, crush or potential love interest. My girls are my world — I would do anything for them and my loyalties will always lie with my best friends over a guy. Hoes before bros has got nothing on us, and from what I have asked of the many girls in my life, they all share similar ideals.
But what about the boy code?
But the bro code standard seems to have quite a discrepancy when it comes to this. Guys seem to be less focused on monogamous relationships and more on talking up their conquests to their dudes. Essentially, (and I can’t stress enough that this is a very blanket ruling here) bro’s are generally so ecstatic that a woman is naked in front of them that they don’t even pause to think whether this lady is off limits or not.
To them, boobs and pussy are never off limit if they are on offer
I recently learnt this discrepancy in the bro code when I held a party and the guy I was seeing — and had recently declared my love to — started hitting on a girl I knew from school and wanted to reconnect with. I pulled her aside and gave her the 411 — something I had done to every girl at the party— and in return she turned down his advances because, you know, girl code.
Unfortunately, it was not the end of it. Despite knowing I was uncomfortable with the way he was acting, my guy pursued her incessantly and we had a huge fight that lasted for almost three weeks. He was desperate to be with her and she was kind of a mess so was into it but didn’t know what to do. I was absolute livid that all of a sudden my guy was all about this girl that I knew. It was one thing to know he was seeing other random girls, but another thing entirely when I actually knew who she was.
The blame was squarely on the guy because he was being a dog. He knew where we were in our relationship, he knew I didn’t want him to flirt with anyone at my own party and he was disrespecting me by ignoring my feelings and my requests to honor what relationship we had. This was not OK. Getting pissed off about it and telling the girl to back off was not unreasonable and the ladies that I have asked all agree. My actions at the party were not out of line of the girl code.
But honestly? I was kind of being a dog too.
Not about that night though, but about his friend.
My guy had a close friend who I have been friends with on Facebook and flirty with for several months. We had similar values and interests and had almost gotten to the point of sexting. The chemistry was there, but I never pursued an actual date with his friend out of respect to my guy.
Until the party.
Then it was all ‘fuck you too’.
So I invited the friend out on a date and we went out to dinner and played some games. It was a nice night, and while he had no idea what happened between me and his friend he was more than happy to make out with me against my car at the end of the night and then escalate things into having sex with me in the back seat of my car.
The sex was amazing, he was extremely hot, had more in common with me than his friend, and honestly was the only person who could even closely compare to my then-current guy, which was an unfortunate standard I had set for future prospects.
He also did not even consider the bro code at all when he told me between kisses, ‘I want to fuck you right now.’ He knew I dated his friend,that his friend had talked me up heaps, and as far as he knew we were still seeing each other and nothing in particular had happened.
Yet he still went in for the kill.
But I knew. And I delighted in telling my guy that I had fucked his friend in the back seat of my car the next day. Sadistic? Yeah, probably. And while I was the catalyst, technically it wasn’t me who broke this bro code because as a woman I don’t operate under it. This backseat bandit hadn’t been seeing any of my girlfriends so I hadn’t hurt any feelings when it came to my friends, and my current guy had broken any understanding we had three weeks earlier at the party. I owed my guy nothing.
But it could have been a broken bro code because it was this backseat bandit who didn’t give a fuck that his friend had been with me or that I could potentially have been ‘off limits’.
Here’s what I learned
It was an interesting learning curve for me, and one that I pondered for quite a while as I continued to see both guy and his friend. If girl code dictates you don’t sleep with your best friend’s guy and vice versa, why does the bro code not encompass fucking someone your friend has been with, if being able to sleep with that someone is even remotely available to you to do so?
After my guy I was in love with struck out with my friend he told me he didn’t want me seeing the backseat bandit anymore. If he hadn’t had said that and I kept seeing him, there wouldn’t have been any broken bro codes because the wishes had not been specified, but now suddenly if I continued to see bandit behind his back it would become cheating and I would suddenly be laden with guilt — even if we weren’t still exclusively dating.
So it seems the difference comes down to the situation and the communication and reasoning behind it. If sleeping with your friend’s girl is sneaky and loaded with deceit, manipulation and secrets then that is when the bro code is broken. If it’s a light-hearted and filled with even the most basic of communication (like how Barney originally asked Ted if it was OK to pursue Ted’s ex-girlfriend Robin in How I Met Your Mother) than it seems like there is no line that is crossed.
While the girl code is faithful until the end no matter the grey area of circumstance, communication is still the key to healthy relationships, both with your lover and with your friends. If you are interested in someone who you think has history with a friend of yours, this is hard to ignore. We carry our baggage around constantly. So is breaking the girl code and the bro code worth it if you have to carry it with you for the rest of your life?
And for those of you who might be interested, I finally broke things off with my guy and he was nice enough to ask the backseat bandit to be there for me, and to take care of me. Despite the extremely messy way in which I broke up with him and started dating his friend, the end result ensured that they were still bros and that there weren’t any hard feelings. I once told this story to Triple J’s ‘The Hook Up’ and the on-air psychologist told me that I was basically a ‘magical unicorn’ when it came to friends still being friends, despite me sleeping with both of them and breaking the bro code into two.
I’m just going to assume I have a magical vagina and leave it at that.
Because there is a reason that sleeping with your friends’ partners ruins things, and that despite my personal experience in both of them just simply not talking about it anymore, the bro code gets pretty irreparable after its been broken. It’s ‘Bros before Hoes’ and ‘Hoes before Bros’. Love can come and go, but friendship is forever.