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In the pilot episode of Friends, there is a scene in Ross's apartment where he is talking to Joey and Chandler about his failed marriage with his ex-wife Carol.

Ross says that he is worried that there is only 'one woman' for each person and Joey encourages him to 'grab a spoon' - to which Ross replies: 'Do you know how long it's been since I grabbed a spoon? Do the words 'Billy don't be a hero' mean anything to you?

I have to say that the words 'Billy don't be hero' mean nothing at all to me, what is this a reference to?

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In that scene Joey says, you got married when you were like what 8. When the song came out in 1974 David Schwimmer was 8. Maybe his character Ross was too. Explaining the relevance of the comment. –  Sharkie11 Jul 8 at 3:25
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

They are the lyrics to a song - a woman is pleading with her fiance as he leaves for war not to be a hero, but to come back and marry her. He does something heroic, and he is killed. Apparently Ross thought that "grabbing the spoon" (getting out and trying with another woman) was risking his life, and that such a heroic gesture would mean his demise. Perhaps also, he is comparing the dating world to war.

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I always thought that Ross was trying to tell the guys it has been a very long time since he last asked a woman out, so he mentions the song, Billy Don't Be a Hero, which came out in 1974, 20 years before this episode takes place.

Notice how he phrases his reply: " Do you know how long it's been since I grabbed a spoon? Do the words 'Billy don't be a hero' mean anything to you?"

Obviously, he was exaggerating, since he had presumably asked Carol out a few years earlier.

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I just saw this episode again, and I think you are right! –  MJ6 Jun 16 '13 at 23:59
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