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Recycle Your Men

Dear Philippa:

My girlfriends and I have an understanding---we pass on the guys we are no longer dating. The guys don't seem to mind and at least you know whom you're dating. Someone at work said that this sounds weird and acted like we were having orgies or something. What do you think?

Gwen, Indianapolis


Dear Gwen,

Your coworker may be reading more into your "recycling program" than there is. It's fairly common for younger people to date within their own group. Men pass on women's names to their friends in much the same fashion as you and your friends are doing.

I remember years ago going out with a guy that had dated some of my friends. Each woman reported his gorgeous eyes, blue eyes, green eyes, and brown eyes! We found out later that he changed the color of his contact lenses to contrast and appeal to those of the woman he was dating. It's amazing what you find out from talking to each other.

Which brings up another point to this whole arrangement, you and your friends should consider a dating code of ethics. If a guy tells you something very personal, in confidence, when you were dating (and it has no impact on your girl friend's safety), would you feel OK about passing this onto the next friend he dates? A pet peeve of many men is that women tell their friends too much. And of course no one likes to imagine his or her sexual performance being discussed and rated.

What about a code of ethics for dating rights? Jealousy can raise its ugly head when a friend thinks she has no feelings for a guy she used to date, but then finds out she has regrets when she sees that guy out having a good time with her girl friend.

It's better to discuss these potential situations before they happen than let something or someone ruin a friendship. They may call it the "dating game", but unlike other games, this is life and people can get hurt.

As long as you are considerate and truthful with others, and honest with yourself, what you are doing sounds like a normal rite of passage. There will come a time when you will prefer to not date so casually. Until then, keep your private life out of your conversations at work, and enjoy.



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