I get it, ladies. I get why 60% of you answering the latest Sex, Life, & Hannah poll believe the measure of a boyfriend is how many times he’s been a boyfriend. And I agree with you – that is, on the measurable stuff. A guy who’s danced the long-term tango a few times can likely hit all the logistical marks: he remembers your anniversary, your favorite flower, and what not to nickname your butt. He knows that no good can ever come of the sentence, “But you said yourself that your mother’s a bitch!” He knows, as long as he’s with you, it’s always hoes before bros. And even then, it’s a very short, pre-screened list of bros (Boner Bob can take someone else “titty hunting”).
Basically, he knows how to not piss you off.
Don’t get me wrong–these things are important, and can save you some headaches down the line. But I’m here to play devil’s advocate, and argue in favor of the starry-eyed relationship novice. He may not be house-broken, but hey, isn’t it kind of endearing that he pees himself a little every time he sees you?
A boyfriend with less experience, albeit less experienced, does have his perks. Here’s a few to chew on:
1. He’s not a compulsive long-termer. Yes, one or two long-term relationships can say “willing to commit”. However, if he’s spent his entire dating life bouncing from one four-year relationship to the next, it could mean he’s afraid to be alone… or simply doesn’t know how. Anyone who’s spent a good amount of time being single knows that it’s pretty essential for figuring out who you are. A guy who’s taken that time might have more to offer you than Emma’s-Boyfriend-Turned-Ally’s-Boyfriend-Turned-Sarah’s-Boyfriend-Turned-Jenna’s-Boyfriend.
2. He’s not worn out and jaded. Relationships take a lot out of us. And when the long ones send us through the ringer, only to spit us back out into singledom again, many of us grow weary of the whole process. With a newbie, you get to jade him. All. By. Yourself.
3. You don’t have to outclass his exes. As long as you’re dating a serial monogamist, there will always be something that some girlfriend did better than you. Even if he won’t admit it, it’s always there. Lurking. Waiting for you to bend over backwards (perhaps literally… that kinky slut!) to surpass it. Gosh, that’s tiring. Why not set the bar yourself?
I say to the 60% of you leery of the relationship newbie: take a chance. So long as the dude genuinely wants to be with you, a bit of etiquette training is likely no big thang. And donʼt sweat–if you have any trouble, you can always have your last boyfriend fill him in on the repercussions of calling your butt Chunky Monkey.
Jenni Perez authored the 2008-2009 edition of the popular sex issues column, “The Wednesday Hump,” in UC Santa Barbara’s Daily Nexus. Her leap from writing about early twenties dating angst to late twenties relationship anxiety is a natural fit.