Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted to keep his relationship with a girl casual. Let’s call him a “noncommittal dating partner.” Understandably, however, he was often mistaken for a boyfriend by innocent bystanders.

“Fine,” the girl thought. “He wants to keep it casual? I’ll show him casual.” So the girl didn’t call him during the week, and he used the freedom to attend college night at the local bowling alley. Now that I’ve mentioned college night, let’s back up for a minute. Now would be a good time to mention the fact that the man in question is 31 years old. While Wednesday night at Zodo’s is all well and good for 21-year-olds, there’s an unspoken age limit.

Nonetheless, there he was at the bowling alley. Meanwhile, his non-girlfriend was at home partaking in her standard Wednesday evening activity: drinking herbal tea and pondering her coolness. “God, it is so awesome of me to let my noncommittal dating partner do his thing ALL THE TIME and never even question him about it. He’s so lucky to have me,” she thought, blissfully unaware that he was not in fact standing in the bowling alley, thinking about how laid-back she was. Rather, he was getting age-inappropriately drunk, trying to forget about his now-dysfunctional man parts.

Let’s rewind to a couple months before this particular night at Zodo’s. The girl and her noncommittal dating partner had been seeing each other for a few weeks at that point, and while they were having fun, there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that the relationship was not going to become serious. Though the girl didn’t tell the 31-year-old man at the time, there were a few reasons she was okay with the arrangement: A) He doesn’t read. Repeat after me: He does not read. In fact, the only thing he reads is Maxim magazine … when he’s enjoying some bathroom time; and then, of course, there’s B) He never complained when she made him watch The Bachelor, and actually seemed to enjoy the show. Unless you’re gay or my dad, that’s an unacceptable male hobby.

Oh, wait, there’s one other thing that would validate being a grown ass man and voluntarily watching a ridiculous reality show aimed at 18-year-old girls: you’re doing it to get laid. There are probably millions of blue-blooded American men who spend their Monday evenings watching dudes with weird hair present desperate women with roses, all in the hopes that they’ll receive over-the-pants handy J’s during commercial breaks and then go full throttle once the rose ceremony is over. In this particular case, the girl hoped that was the reason for her noncommittal dating partner’s acceptance — and occasional downright enthusiasm — over watching The Bachelor.

Perhaps naively, she thought she could have the best of both worlds: someone who was

willing to watch a mindless reality show and engage in quickies whenever the dialogue got boring. With that in mind, she climbed on top of the man during a commercial break one Monday night. At first, he responded by gently making out with her and even moving to second base. But as soon as the bachelor’s voice boomed in the background, he couldn’t shove her away fast enough. Laughing, the girl (who thought that if she couldn’t get a commitment out of this man, she could at least get some decent sex) closed the laptop and reached for the zipper on his pants. Not laughing, he opened the laptop and informed the half-naked girl prepping for a blowjob that he “wants to see who will get the rose.”

… What?

She should have forced herself to break it off (literally, figuratively, metaphorically or all of the above) right then. But she mistook his sexual disinterest for reality show super-fandom and let it go. She would find out later that he was avoiding his not-so-fuck-buddy’s attempt at a BJ because he knew something she didn’t: he doesn’t like blowjobs. Or sex. [Editor’s note: The upcoming sentence was difficult to write and is likely to make everyone involved cringe and mutter condolences to the poor guy.] He didn’t want anything to touch his penis because he cannot keep it up.

The next week, the same situation repeated itself. Girls pranced around on the TV screen, and the girl, still oblivious to any sort of long-term problem, got bored with the show and reached for his man area. He recoiled and muttered something about “issues” and “taking longer than other guys,” as he zipped up his pants and headed for the bathroom, probably to read Maxim and attempt to jack off. The naive, sexually-frustrated heroine of this saga sighed as she lay back on her pillows, thinking longingly of the men in her past who were blessed with functional plumbing.

Later, when the nearly illiterate 31-year-old arrived at her house to have the break-up talk, the girl nodded, smiled and bit her tongue on more than one occasion. “This is really hard,” he said, fighting back tears. No, it’s really not, she thought, trying not to let her eyes travel to his man part region. “I’m just glad we’re getting out of this before I’m in too deep,” he continued. No danger of that, she thought with a sigh.

So concludes the tale of the sexless fuck buddy. The girl, who doesn’t understand penises and probably never will, could tell countless other similar stories, but they all have the same moral: you can’t have sex with something that doesn’t want to, and you can’t not have sex with someone who doesn’t want a relationship. Reread that last sentence. Promise it makes sense.

Dana Olsen is a UCSB graduate and an ex-Hump columnist.