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Be My Friend, But Be Naked...

For Ashley, who pointed out it's ironic relevance in my life:

Sally: We are just going to be friends, OK?
Harry: Great, friends. It's the best thing...You realize, of course, that we can never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I'm saying is - and this is not a come-on in any way, shape, or form - is that men and women can't be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry: No, you don't.
Sally: Yes, I do.
Harry: No, you don't.
Sally: Yes, I do.
Harry: You only think you do.
Sally: You're saying I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all want to have sex with you.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: They do not.
Harry: Do too.
Sally: How do you know?
Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
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.
Sally: Well, I guess we're not gonna be friends then.
Harry: Guess not.
Sally: That's too bad. You were the only person that I knew in New York.

(years later)

Harry: They can't be friends...unless both of them are involved with other people. Then they can. This is an amendment to the earlier rule. If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted. That doesn't work either. Because what happens then is the person you're involved with can't understand why you need to be friends with the person you're just friends with, like it means something is missing from the relationship and wanted to go outside to get it. Then when you say, 'No, no, no, no, it's not true, nothing is missing from the relationship,' the person you're involved with then accuses you of being secretly attracted to the person you're just friends with, which you probably are - I mean, come on, who the hell are we kidding, let's face it - which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can't be friends.

Basically, I've been mulling this entire concept over for about two days now. At last count, I have at least 16 guy friends. As in... guys who I have had intense personal conversations with, and still feel comfortable talking to. SIXTEEN. And so it would seem that I am a walking contradiction to Harry's claim, except that I almost agree with him. His point is that the sex thing always gets in the way, and I have to say I concur. Of the 16 guys, I've kissed 8 of them, slept with 3 of them, and 13 of them have Aliases in this journal, which pretty much means I've at least thought about sleeping with them. And as to how many of them have thought about sleeping with me? Well according to Harry all of them... and he may not be entirely right, but I’d be willing to bet he comes pretty close.

But I suppose the real question is whether or not the sex thing being out there ultimately means the friendship is doomed. Now I have to be honest... the sex thing has at the very least gotten in the way of most of these friendships at one point or another. With some of them, we went through the sexual overtures and came through to the other side stronger for our endeavors. In other cases it was never really an issue for whatever reasons, mostly unspoken, that existed and that were immediately clear to the both of us. With others the sexual tension fuels the relationship almost entirely and I can't be sure that the friendship would survive a confrontation or exploration of those tentative flirtations. So yes, attraction is a tricky obstacle to overcome, but in the end it's more important to me to have these men be a part of my life than it is for me to be loved by them in a romantic sense. Now on the one hand you could see this as a sign of selflessness, a willingness to give more of myself than I can ever expect to receive. But on the other hand, you could just as easily say that I simply crave the male attention and am willing to put up with a certain amount of frustration or disappointment to have it. Neither assumption is entirely off base, but ultimately? I think it's really a slightly darker, more masochistic tendency. A delicate balance of pleasure and self inflicted, measured pain.

I mentioned the other day that I didn't have a boyfriend because I had a slew of "guyfriends" and that's partially true. I went on to conjecture that I didn't need a boyfriend because it's almost like I'm dating the entire group en-mass... and together they make the world's best boyfriend. Each of them are wonderful in their own unique ways. I always have some to talk music with, to teach me about politics, to talk smack with about baseball, to argue with over religion and personal philosophy. I always have someone I can share a meal with, someone to make me laugh, to keep me company or watch movies with. There are boys I flirt shamelessly with and boys I can turn to with my frustrations about those flirtations. There are boys who can analyze my dreams, boys who will hug me and want to make everything better, boys who believe in me even when I can't believe in myself. And I get to play all my favorite roles too... I get to be the coquette and the confidant, the therapist and the patient, the damsel in distress and the emotional rock. I get to give out hugs, broker peace summits, play Santa Clause, plan surprises... I get to watch each of them express themselves in their chosen creative outlets, and whether or not I get to be a part of that process - it thrills me. All in all, it may be the greatest relationship I've ever had. Well at least it would be if it weren't, as one of my boys so aptly pointed out, for the one glaring omission... the sex. So we're right back to the sex getting in the way again (Harry would be so thrilled)

The thing is, I could almost do with out it... I mean, at this point I've gone nearly 7 months, and to be honest I could probably make it the rest of the year without breaking much of a sweat. (Not that I don't miss it, but it's amazing how quickly you can get used to doing without it.) No, the problem isn't the sex in and of itself - but rather the physical intimacy. What i don't have is someone to curl up on the couch with, to burrow under the covers with on a sleepy Sunday. Someone to tickle or wrestle, to hold my hand, brush my hair out of my eyes, or kiss the back of my neck for no good reason. That intimacy is what the en-mass boyfriend lacks... and the occasional indiscretions we have collectively shared, however engaging at the moment, can't really make up for it's absence.

But does my need for that "more" really doom these 16 fantastic friendships? is Harry really right after all? I don't think so. It's true that with my boys I may never quite approach the level of trust and familiarity that I've achieved with my close girlfriends, and on occasion I may run across a deeper connection that I may have to stifle because I can never truly cultivate it, but each relationship is still precious to me, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. In the end, as with any good friendship, they flourish because I am willing to accept them for what they are... and not what I would have them be.


( 3 spankings — spank your inner moppet )
Apr. 29th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
there is a HUGE difference between real friendships and people you have crushes on. that would be the ultimate flaw in this logic.
Apr. 29th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
Dearest Anonymous,

I appreciate your concern, but trust me, "Crush" and "Friend" are not mutually exclusive descriptors... one can have a crush *on* a friend or a crush, given the proper time and encouragement, can become a friend. Just sayin'.

Jun. 12th, 2005 04:14 am (UTC)
so random cause i found you through a google search for the song, but yea. I think this logic explains my feelings towards my guy friends. You've put into words things I've been trying to formulate for months.
( 3 spankings — spank your inner moppet )