Monday, November 26, 2007

Long and winding post...

So here's the substantive post that I was planning for Friday. I'm not sure where to start, so let's just all accept that this is going to involve rambling and then I won't have to worry about it and I can move on. On Friday (or at some point last weekend) I was supposed to get together with an old friend. It fell through - probably due to equal amounts of busy-ness and reluctance. The planned get-together got me thinking though - about the nature of friendship between female & male.

I believe, in the past if you would have asked me, I would have firmly stood on the side of "men and women can just be friends! I've done it before!". I was silly. And wrong. I doubt the ability to have an entirely platonic relationship between a straight woman and a straight man. I concede that I've had friends, more like acquaintances who were entirely platonic. But here, here I'm talking good friends. Let's stroll down memory lane (I realized earlier, that all of my closest guy friends have had first initials that start with J or R. That's weird yes? Going for last initials here):

C was my bff for a very, very long time. Middle school through parts of high school and stretching a tiny bit into college. We were on again/off again best friends. I still miss him occasionally and dream about him often. In fact, I dreamt of him last night - I greeted him by fluffing his hair and just felt love. Our friendship started with him asking me out. I think I still have the note somewhere - it was the sweetest note ever. I said no. We went on to be friends. We had mutual attraction pretty much throughout our friendship and almost made out more than once. I used to make him hold my hand walking places. I miss C, but there was nothing platonic about that friendship. Not at any point.

Then there was B. Please don't find me conceited...but B desperately loved me. And I loved B, I just wasn't in love with B. Oh god how I tried - I wanted to be in love with him. He was perfect for me. But when you don't want to make out with someone? That's a problem. B and I were inseparable for a long time - probably an entire summer if not more than that. We kept in touch for a while and then it fell off again. We tried to get together and be friends a few years back - but something was lost. I think we'd both changed too much - and our friendship dynamic was impossible to recreate (why would he want to? I mean, unrequited love can't be fun). B once told me that if he had to, he would wait for me forever. Clearly he didn't. I totally have the IM transcript somewhere (yes, that was an IM conversation) and I promise to find it and embarrass self in the future with that conversation.

N was probably one of the friendships where I personally still think it's up in the air whether there was something non-platonic. I think everyone who knew us might sputter and say, um, hello, yes he loved you. But out of all of them, this one was the most platonic. N drove me crazy in a lot of ways - and ultimately our friendship ended after I was forced to spend all day every day with him for over a week. But we had fun and we spent a lot of time just talking. I was friends with N when I was really getting to know myself and I would be different if not for that friendship. He was the one I was supposed to see on Friday. I hope to stay friendly with him for a long time.

And finally W. W wasn't a normal best friend - we were mostly friends due to school and due to our mutual friendship with C. But in the end, that was enough to be close to him. And out of all of them, W was the one that I loved unrequitedly. All of my memories of him are just of us laughing our asses off. We spent a lot of study groups frustrating others with our uselessness and I almost got kicked out of my AP Calculus test because of him (he traced his hand on his test. I laughed out loud. I was chastised and told to look at my own test/be quiet or both of us would get the boot. Just FYI - he did better on that test than I did). I think way back when, I never would have considered him a best friend. But in retrospect, he was. I'd love to see that kid again. And pine for him from afar.

For some reason, I thought all of those friendships were successful. And they were in their own way - I mean, these are people I loved/think of fondly. But it's impossible to keep that kind of thing going - because someone is always suffering in silence and hoping for more. And I think there is a breaking point. Or just a fading point...

After much thought, out of all of my besties, none of us has done it successfully. Not a one.


  1. I feel EXACTLY like you do. Furthermore, I don't think it's...a good idea for a straight man to be friends with a straight women, if either one of them is in a relationship with some other third party. I'm sure that'll garner some negative response, but I firmly believe that too close a relationship with the opposite sex outside of a relationship is a...danger. I'm not saying women can't be friends with men casually, but besties? No. I don't think it's a good thing.

    Anyway, all of the close relationships I've had with men have either been with gay men, or have eventually faded away too. For one reason or another.

  2. I just want to say for the record that I am one of those outsider friends who would say that N's feeling for you were not platonic.

    I too have never maintained a close male who was single friendship. I have a varied and scared relationship with best-male-friends. An interesting discussion, and I am left with this question: Is a friendship only successful if it continues on forever?

  3. I couldn't figure out who N was for the longest time, I knew the other ones right away. I didn't know you were supposed to see him Friday, interesting.

    When I was younger, speaking middle school, early high school, I had a good set of guy friends, and truthfully I think it was strictly platonic. Then A. who you should know, I don't know did I love him? and just like yours, that friendship has faded away and I often wonder why it did, and if we would've/could've stayed such good friends even though I was with J?

    Interesting thinking, boy-girl friendships.