The One About Sluts, Surveys and Soft-Spots

Cast of FRIENDS, photograph by Annie Leibovitz

How I miss the cast of FRIENDS (Ross, Phoebe, Rachel, Chandler, Monica and “ladies’ man” Joey). Photograph Annie Leibovitz

When the pilot of FRIENDS was filmed twenty years ago, panicked NBC executives descended on its Burbank studio to express a rather disturbing concern to co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane. NBC regarded the character Monica (played so deliciously by Courtney Cox) a little too, well, slutty for American TV audiences.

Kauffman and Crane disagreed fervently and as a compromise allowed the pilot audience to be surveyed. NBC staffers then handed out cards to each audience member inquiring if they found the Monica – sleeping with someone on the first date – story line offensive. According to the finale interview with Matt Lauer, the questionnaire started something like this:

Do you think Monica – for sleeping with a man on the first date – is:

A) a whore

B) a slut

C) a tramp

D) your dream date


Curiously NBC was soothed by the result. Monica’s – bizarrely and unnecessarily slut shamed – character was subsequently allowed to proceed unchanged and unchained.

All this before the second episode was in the can.

Joey was a ‘ladies man’ and Monica was a ‘slut’? Has much changed in 20 years?

Even though I remain an utterly devoted FRIENDS enthusiast, I continue to be annoyed by that disclosure for several reasons.

First, the character Joey “How You Doin” Tribbiani had regular one night stands. Even when we could’t see him having one we could assume that he was, just somewhere else. How peculiar network executives weren’t scared of Joey.

Second, the survey was so biased and skewed toward heterosexual men that it was hardly a valid question at all. How would a gay man respond to it? Women of any sexual preference? If I was in the audience that auspicious day I would’ve been highly offended by the question rather Monica’s perceived promiscuity.

Third, Monica was so much more than just her love-life. She was absolutely a feminist, a professional chef navigating the NYC culinary boys club, a nurturer who generously encouraged her friends to use her home like a hotel, a highly organised organiser and confident confidant. Monica also liked to win, particularly when she was competing against herself.

She was also the character I most connected with.


Monica cleans her vacuum with a vacuum. Like it or not she did everything with pride, conviction and engaging physical humour.

Monica and I shared many things, including our love of Chandler. Chandler was definitely my FRIENDS crush, sweater vest and all (Joey could be a little too vague and Ross liked dinosaurs). To me Chandler was intelligent, handsome and endlessly witty. He was also proud of Monica’s feminist viewpoint which of course makes him ever so manly.

Friends 3

The One with Ross’ Tan. “I’m an eight?”

Chandler was my soft spot, particularly in the latter seasons.

So when I came across this private island you’ll understand I couldn’t resist considering it for a weekend home.

Chandler Island

Maine, USA


Much like the character, Chandler Island is an intriguing and quirky prospect off the coast of Maine, USA.

Maine itself is located across the Bay of Fundy from Nova Scotia (Anne of Green Gables). It’s known for bountiful lobsters, picturesque New England villages and rugged outdoor activities. Maine certainly is for the adventurous (code for deck yourself out in The North Face gear).

Maine borders Canada on the east coast

Maine borders Canada on the east coast


Sunny summers and winters requiring woolly sweaters and wellies

The realtor describes the island as thus.

Located in picturesque Wohoa Bay, Maine, 30 miles east of Acadia National Park, 70 miles southeast from Bangor and 230 boat miles northeast of Boston MA is quaint Chandler Island. It is one of the smaller Maine islands at “an acre more or less” (according to the deed). Which means at low tide it is a lot more, while the high tide area is only about half an acre: the size of an average suburban yard. The island is nestled protected in the bay, but does have line-of-sight of the open ocean. The island can be reached by boat at all times, docking between main and sandy- beach island, and even by foot at very low tide, when the water is only waist-deep.

First let me say half an acre of above-tide-land is much larger than average suburban yards where I come from. Half an acre is large enough for at least 6 tennis courts and I can’t help but wonder where the realtor lives if she thinks that is an average size yard.

Maine perhaps?

A private island called Chandler? Oh yes please!

A private island called Chandler? Oh yes please!

Chandler 2.2

Chandler island is bigger than it looks

There’s no reason – with a little elbow grease – Chandler Island couldn’t end up looking like Beldon Island, Connecticut below, is there?

Chandler 1.3

Beldon Island, CT is for sale through Sotherby’s for USD$3,950,000

Chandler 1.2

If you don’t fly your own flag who will?

So we’ll need a petite cape style cottage and some landscaping. Perhaps a wooden jetty and some sand to build a small beach. The house and landscaping will have to cost less than $60,000 if we’re to stay in budget, so we may have to think teeny tiny. This Tumbleweed Loring Cottage may just be the ticket and since Tumbleweed are the pioneers of the – much publicised – Tiny House Movement, we know it will be highly functional. And oh so cute.

Tumbleweed 1

The Tumbleweed Loring cottage may just come in budget and isn’t it divine?

Tumbleweed 2

Just adorable! All we need on our private island.

Sure it will be a lot of work developing this one.

But if I really am like Monica then it’s my destiny to fix a Chandler don’t you think?

I don’t care that it’s ridiculous. I’ll take it.

(Before some outrageously intrepid Kayakers beat me to it.)


9 thoughts on “The One About Sluts, Surveys and Soft-Spots

  1. Friends was one of my favorite sitcoms! I love the hilarious gang. If only I lived in Maine…gorgeous properties…USD price is so affordable compared to my prices in little red dot….totally envious! Sentosa properties goes for more than SGD 10 million, for 99 year lease on 5,000 sq feet built up and good class bungalows in District 10 can cost SGD30-40 million and it is not a palazzo! Sigh!


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