To the woman on craigslist who wanted to know the difference between ‘booty call’ and ‘f*ck buddy.’

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11/30/2004

1359 amsterdam avenue nyc ny 10027

Neighborhood: All Over, Manhattan

To the woman on craigslist who wanted to know the difference between ‘booty call’ and ‘fuck buddy.’ (I figured she must be foreign so I addressed her as ‘Madame.’)

Madame: In Re: the difference between ‘booty call’ and ‘fuck buddy,’ despite the alliterative pairing and their shared concern with fucking, the two phrases are ontologically different, the main distinction being that one is an incident or event while the other is a category of modern relationship.

“Booty call” is a mid- 80s expression, from a hip-hop-beeper-and-baggies-hat-and-colors world, what we white media guys would call an ‘urban black community expression’, meaning you hang all night getting fucked up with the your male friends enjoying yourself, laughing, no stress (no women in other words), comparing sneakers, timbs, huge jackets, and when bedtime rolls around you call your girlfriend, or your occasional squeeze, or some chick who has the hots for you, or whatever, and head over there or, better yet, have her come to you, for flesh and moisture and warmth. (The ‘booty’ is a female ass, but I assume you know that; I merely state it for the record.) It’s utterly a male-oriented concept, in that the name and the desirability both involve not having to spend ANY social/emotional/intellectual/spiritual time with the lady whatsoever and not even having to fake a willingness to do so. Paradise, no? Nowadays you can use ‘booty call’ in a context where there’s a real relationship going on, you and the S.O. are out doing separate things, and decide when you’re talking at one a.m. that one of you is going over to the other’s place because why not… this could with ironic amusement be categorized as a ‘booty call,’ but it isn’t and you both know it isn’t.

“Fuck buddy” is more a Clinton-era, white people, Wesleyan dorm sort of phrase. Picture semi-androgynous young professional-class whites, who were very early into mp3s and text messaging, and whose parents’ marriages and subsequent relationships were so grotesquely bad that they, the kids, have no interest whatsoever in having, or ability to have, a romantic relationship. Sex being what it is, i.e., necessary (as is love but they’ll never use THAT word even though they seek it in a leg-shackled sort of way), such folks have ‘friends’ that they sleep with. Now the phrase stands for any sorta kinda mostly uncommitted, laconically sexual, on-again-off-again relationship for which and in which, over the long run, if there’s any real emotional engagement/attachment whatsoever, take my word for it, the woman pays the steeper price. “T’was ever thus,” as Mr. Bugs Bunny once said.

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