Saturday, February 25, 2017

No Regrets, Just Questions

It's a whole different perspective that male friends offer.

Granted, I do find hearing the male point of view nothing short of revelatory but since I grew up without brothers, I am still trying to grasp how the male psyche works, even at this late stage.

Let's cut to the chase: it's mystifying. Perplexing. Confounding.

Or maybe a double shot on a sunny morning that required me being up at 8:45 was just more than my Saturday brain could handle.

The first friend occupying my time today needed costuming help for a party - even going so far as to say he took direction well - and heaven knows dressing a male friend is light years easier than dressing a boyfriend.

So easy, in fact, that we had plenty of time left over to discuss his latest dilemma, which pretty much mirrors the entire crux of "When Harry Met Sally," a fact I didn't mention.

Can men and women be friends without sex entering into it? Can sex be an addendum to a friendship without destroying the friendship? Is sex the only difference between friendship and relationship?

Of course, I'm probably the last person anyone should ask about such things since my take on male/female interaction skews decidedly non-traditional. I'm not convinced that cultural norms have to be considered when determining how two people fashion their association, an opinion I did mention.

Having girl parts, my advice to him was the feminine go-to: talk to her about it.

Verbalize what he wants and find out what she wants and, since they're both grown-ass people, see if there isn't room for both to peacefully co-exist.

And most importantly, leave pre-existing presumptions at the door when they do so. Anything goes as long as it suits both people.

Harry might have told Sally that no man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive because he'll always want to have sex with her, but I've experienced exceptions to that rule. Of course, if Harry is correct, they wanted to and just didn't let me know.

In any case, I think that the best friendships and relationships are shaped on a backbone of open communication that allows both participants to be clear about what they want and don't want from each other. Translation: lots of conversation on the subject.

Now whether his male psyche allows him to utilize my advice or not remains to be seen, but I've offered it for the taking.

We went our separate ways so I could walk, getting home only minutes before another male friend was picking me up for lunch. I barely got in his car and said hello when he wanted to ask me about his relationship.

Despite its relative youth (a year), the relationship already involves co-habitation and, as of last week, engagement. And, for the most part, he's crazy in love with her.

Our nine-year friendship provides an interesting complement to their relationship because there are things I know about him that she's still learning. He's the first to admit that he gets a different kind of energy from me (he once told me I was like a drug he needed on a regular basis for mood enhancement). On the other hand, she's experienced things with him I'll never know.

But they're still working out issues of neediness, personal space and unilateral decision making, all of which were on his mind today as we lingered over lunch in front of an open door. Listening to him air his grievances, part of me couldn't help but remind him that most of that was just growing pains for a new relationship.

This, after all, is the friend who justified the breakneck speed of their relationship with something very "When Harry Met Sally"- like: he'd found the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and he wanted that life to start immediately.

I love the romance of that attitude but I told him I don't understand why he hesitates to share his thoughts when she does something that bothers him. Why internalize when you can start a conversation?

Said no man ever.

Fortunately, I don't have to fully understand men. What I can impart to those who call me friend is this: what two people have together is something nobody has to understand but them.

Sally: So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail them, too.
Sally: What if they don't want to have sex with you?
Harry: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Except there's never an end to the story of men and women trying. Praise be for that.


  1. men are just like women except they're totally opposite...