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The Copycat Reflex aka Why It’s Natural to Want Your Friend’s BF

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I have this friend and we call him Douche. I’m not exactly sure where the nickname came from. Nothing about Douche is particularly douche-y, except for the fact that the kid can’t seem to hold his liquor (or a coherent conversation after a few drinks). But he is a fun drunk. He’s adventurous, charismatic and oddly charming …even when he is tripping over his own feet and breaking furniture on semi-accident.

I have never found him particularly attractive, but he does have this strange quality about him that makes me feel super comfortable. Besides his occasional drunken sexual advances, he mostly treats me like a little sister (and this includes body slamming me into couches, stealing my cigarettes and calling me affectionate names like “Bitch” and “Asshole”).

Basically, I am completely not attracted to him in a sexual and/or romantic way. But that all changed Friday night when I walked into a mutual friends place to see one of my girls sitting – where else? – on drunken Douche’s lap.

As I watched my friend caress Douche’s face with her fingers and giggle wildly at his drunken antics, I felt something: a little twinge of jealousy. Was she really sitting that close to him? Did she find him attractive? What did she see in him that made him boyfriend – or at least late-night hook-up – material? Was I missing something? Was Douche actually dateable or had I just ingested far too many glasses of Carlo Rossi?

I found myself wanting to get closer to him. I was the girl he always play fought with when he was drunk! I was the girl who always did stuff like sit on his lap and play with his hair and wait for him to turn it into a full-on tackle on the living room floor!

Turns out, the way I was feeling has much less to do with Mr. Rossi and much more to do with simple evolutionary psychology. Basically, a study conducted earlier this year by British psychologists showed that women judge how attractive a guy is by the way other women view him.

This phenom has been dubbed the ‘copycat reflex’ and it all relates back to evolution. If a female has a couple potential mates to choose from but can’t decide on the best one, she can take a hint from the way her rivals (as in, other females) behave toward a certain male.

I see this happen all the time. Like when you find yourself crushing on your best friend’s boyfriend. Or when other girls fawn all over your boyfriend as soon as you two decide to make it official. I think it works the same way with males, too. As soon as you get a boyfriend, it seems like every guy on the planet wants to get with you. And when you’re single? Suitable guys are like, nowhere to be found.

After seeing my girl all up on one of my best guy friends, I freaked out. However, all was resolved the next day when we were sober and she swore that she in no way had a thing for Douche. Immediately, the ‘feelings’ I had developed for him the night before dissipated and I was ready to attack him with my newly-invented pseudo-karate move next time we crossed paths.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Wanting the dude that every girl at the party/club is flirting with is totally natural.

So you just better hope those bitches have good taste.

COLLEGECANDY Writer