I am writing on behalf of a friend, who for anonymity's sake we'll call Joanna. To start the story, we'll have to go back a few years to Joanna's friend's wedding where Jill does wholeheartedly say I do to Jack. (Okay clearly not their real names). Joanna is one of the bridesmaids standing proudly off to the left.
Fast forward five years. Jack and Jill have gone through a messy and acrimonious divorce, and as a result Jill is heartbroken and undergoing counselling for severe depression. Jack moves to a new city. It also happens to be the same city to which Joanna has moved. Joanna herself is in the midst of a dating slump. A three year slump to be precise, and it has taken its toll on her self-esteem and confidence. Part of it has to do with the fact she has become significantly, shall we politely say, larger.
One day she gets a text message out of the blue, from Jack. He says he saw her in a bar a while ago, remembered her from the wedding, and wondered if she was free to catch up. She calls to check it was him and not some joker - and it turns out that yes, it is him, and he seems friendly and she thinks she detects a flirtatious tone to his voice. Flattered, she agrees to dinner.
Now she knows about Joanna's broken heart, and against all good advice from her friends, she goes along to what she has built up in her head as a date.
During the date they get on, chat continuously, but there's a hint of awkwardness in Jack's demeanour. But unperturbed Joanna continues to order the cocktails and the wines until they are both quite pickled. It's here she decides that she might drop a hint or two about what the two of them could get up to later that evening. Jack begins to look a bit anxious, and seems to simply ignore or brush off the comments. She makes a few more hints.
It's at this point Jack decided to kindly tell her: "I'm sorry, when I called you, I thought I was calling the OTHER bridesmaid".
Chuck, what does one tell a friend that has done this and so blatantly broken all codes of friendship? Does she deserve it? And is there a chance that Joanna can repair the friendship with Jill - who did indeed find out about the date? And what of Jack? What kind of punishment does this man deserve for hitting on his ex-wife's bridesmaids - surely these are forever out of bounds? And why would he have found it so necessary to tell Joanna that she was in fact not his first choice - couldn't he have just politely declined and left it at that?
Playing the old “writing on behalf of a friend” chestnut. Chuck hasn't heard that one for a while. Don't worry Mel, Chuck'll indulge you.
This whole situation is a karmatic quagmire. Chuck needs to reaffirm a long established social etiquette:
you NEVER chop up a friends ex
Since the birth of time.... well more accurately since cavemen stopped trying to spread their seed into anything with 2 feet and a heartbeat in order to mass reproduce, it has been widely acknowledged that friends and family are off limits. In some circles, even mentioning that a mate's girlfriend is attractive is grounds for a glassing.
Since both parties are guilty of varied indiscretions, it is imperative that Chuck offers comment on both.
First thing Chuck needs to say is – you got got on that one girlfriend.
A 3 year relationship hole and a FUPA (Fat Upper Pussy Area), is not grounds for breaking the friendship convention. Hefty bag Joanna may have been lacking self esteem and confidence before she decided to fish from the company pier, but how does being ex-communicated by someone who thought enough of you to have you in their bridal party taste now?
Chuck is almost tempted to say that Joanna's act is morally despicable. Honey Bear wasn't looking for a meaningful relationship, she was gunning for a slump-buster as evidenced by her not so subtly offering up the nappy dugout* at dinner. It doesn't appear that Jack the Lad was in her sights at any time until the fateful text message came through. Our girl got an open shot at goal and took it, damning all the consequences.
* nappy dugout – an extremely hairy vagina
As for her friendship with Jill, well Jo Jo the clown is well and truly at the mercy of her ex-pal on this one. She pulled a self-serving stunt when her friend was in the emotional gutter and it has backfired. The best course of action would be to admit that she needed the dust knocked off it and that her loins took full operational control of her body. She saw what she thought was easy access to some pole (presumably Jill had talked up Jack's expertise at some stage in their friendship) and allowed her desire to override her sense of responsibility and friendship.
Joanna tried to fall on Jacks sword, now she needs to fall on her own in order to save her friendship.
As funny as this may seem however, our boy Jack actually scoots under the radar on this one on the grounds that he is unlikely to be friends with any of Jill's home-girls. Sure, if he actually landed in a serious relationship with any of Jill's girls, social get togethers would be a tad awkward, but Chuck is guessing that Jumpin' Jack merely wanted to toss his sausage down the hallway.
In fact, it was a fairly audacious move by Jackie boy. Surely the acrimonious nature of his split from Jill would tarnish his rep amongst her posse and spoil any crack he would have at the muff. Either Jack is an arrogant son of a bitch or our boy is a stud muffin with the minge on a string.
Looking at it from another point of view, perhaps Jack the Ripper was gunning for the Friendship Fracturing Fuck or FFF as we like to call it here at Reality Bytes. Maybe he was playing the ultimate revenge card in his nasty divorce. By popping one of his ex wives besties (she was in the bridal party after all), he is driving a wedge between some of her relationships. Jill may be taking half, but Jack is taking her crew.
What a dastardly plan, unfortunately, all signs would point to Jack being somewhat simpler than that. After all, he did show the sense and good taste not to pound Joanna for the sake of getting his load off. She was pretty much offering up her tuppyhole on a platter and many lesser men would have dived in feet first.
His brutal honesty saved him another difficult call from the super keen and clearly super dodgy bridesmongrel. It lacked all tack and decorum, but who are we kidding, the guy is on a date with his ex-wife's bridesmaid (albeit the wrong one), it's not like he is the second coming of Mother Theresa.
Don't get Chuck wrong, Jack has crossed the line here and probably deserves a dirty great cold-sore outbreak just in time for the Spring Racing Carnival but he has broken no code, rather shown poor form. Chuck spent considerable time after receiving this sordid email researching societal norms around carving up members of an ex bridal party and could find no precedent suggesting it is repugnant act.
Jill, if you're out there reading Reality Bytes, Chuck suggests you grit your teeth and allow Joanna her time in court to plead her case for reinstatement of friendship. Once you've done that, flip through your phone book and line up some dates with Jack's groomsmen – all of them, if you know what Chuck means.