The “Bad Husband” Chronicles

Just another day for you and me in Paradise

There speaks a true friend

Posted by mozziestarlet on November 30, 2008

Right, so I was having a conversation last night with a friend who informed me that men and women inherently can’t ‘just be friends.’  He was alluding to the idea that encapsulated the movie, ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ and that every man wants to be intimate with a woman he finds attractive.  Below is a snippet of that conversation from the movie… 

 

Harry Burns: “You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: 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 Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: 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 Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.”

 

 

So, it really got my mind reeling at this notion, mainly because I’ve typically had more male friends than female in my life, and I haven’t had sex with any of them.  What I’m wondering is:  Am I an exception to the rule?  Do members of the opposite sex befriend you with the subconscious agenda that they will eventually be intimate with you?  I can’t help but beg to differ here. 

 

My BFF of over 11 years now is male and we’ve never been even remotely romantic with one another.  I know what you’re thinking: “Is he ugly?  Are you?”  I can say that he’s absolutely adorable and very easy on the eyes.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been told I’m ‘pretty’ many times, so I’m willing to give that assessment the benefit of the doubt.  So, why haven’t we been romantically involved?  I think it’s a fairly simple answer.  We both value our friendship above anything else and hold it in very high esteem.  I can’t help but quote Morrissey here, “Is it really so strange?”

 

What I find particularly amusing about this scenario is how much this frustrates other women.  If I am friends with ‘their man,’ they automatically assume that I have romantic intentions towards him and want him for my own.  The female can even be sitting with us as we talk and hear our conversation, and yet, she is still inclined to be jealous of me.  Why is this?  What in the world is there to be jealous of in having or discovering a new friend?  Should it matter whether they have male or female private parts in order to establish a connection with them?  I really do wish I could answer this question, as it always seems to be a reoccurring issue for me.

 

Perhaps I’m too rudimentary in my thinking.  I subscribe to the basic notion that Thoreau wrote of in the late 1800s.  He said, “A friend is a person before whom I may think aloud.”  That’s the beautiful and simple truth in my mind.  Friendship is entirely different than romantic attachment.  I can only hope that others might eventually feel this way and shelve their feelings of jealousy, skepticism and insecurity.  Lighten up…take a chill pill…It’s all good!  How could it be anything but that?

 

“The Dummy” by Michael Mack

In that forgotten part of town
Where wasted hopes and dreams abound,
A wrinkled man with life near end,
In hopes to have at least one friend,
Fashioned bits of wood and things
And made a dummy run by strings.

He sat alone for hours on end,
Conversing with his only friend
And found delight within the fact
That he controlled it’s every act.
He told it how he never had
A chance, since all his luck was bad
Although he’d tried so to succeed –
The dummy nodded and agreed.
And how his journeys in romance
Had never given him a chance,
And wasn’t it a crying shame
That he was always held to blame
When everyone knew, oh so well,
That life is but a living Hell,
Controlled by lust and power and greed?
The dummy nodded and agreed.
With patience that would rival saints,
That dummy sat through all complaints
And, with each little expert tug,
He’d droop his head or bow or shrug
And give some comfort to the man
Who held his lifelines in his hand
And helped to fill a lonely need
When he just nodded and agreed.
Senility increased with time
As did the old man’s phantomime,
And feverish fingers pulled with glee
The dummy’s dance of misery.
They never left each other’s side
Until the day both stopped and died.
We found them lying, hand in hand,
The dummy – and his wooden friend.

friendship_is_light

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4 Responses to “There speaks a true friend”

  1. jayashree said

    True Mozzie. I ‘ve always loved that Emerson quote. Besides what does gender have to do with friendship? Nothing. Its a meeting of minds, heats, souls….not bodies.

  2. Pine Saul said

    The excerpt from When Harry Met Sally has only to do with the male perspective. It doesn’t assert women always want to have sex with men they find attractive. That it was written by Nora Ephron amazes me because I don’t know how she could be so sure of (and at the same time so accurate in) her observations.

    There has never been a person I found attractive (and by attractive, I mean attractive spiritually, mentally, and/or physically) that I haven’t wanted to have sex with. That most of them never knew how I felt about them is just the way things go. You can never know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. While, for that reason, I cannot say every man feels this way, I can definitely say it’s 100% true for me.

    Though I don’t know for sure (and never could), my instincts say the reason you and your male BFF have not had sex is *not* because he doesn’t want to (or even that he both wants to and doesn’t want to–which is where I think Harry was when he declared Sally to be the first attractive woman he didn’t want to have sex with) but that you are the sexual gatekeeper. It doesn’t matter if your male BFF really wants to or both wants to and doesn’t want to, you call the decisive shots as far as sex with your male BFF goes. Sally was the gatekeeper, and when she let her sexual defenses down with Harry, they had sex.

    I’m guessing this gatekeeping has biological/genetic roots, but there are many who–loathing the idea of our having instincts similar to or commingled with “lower” animals–deny these motivations as base and/or optional.

    The only part of the dialogue that I’ve ever taken issue with is that men pretty much want to nail women they find unattractive, too. I’ve known of lots of women who I found unattractive (spiritually, mentally, and/or physically) who I’ve not wanted to have sex with…and never would have even if offered the chance wrapped in gold-foil paper. The things is, none of those women could have been my friends, much less my BFFs. In this sense, I have gatekeeping powers, too. If, however, I was attracted to them enough to want them for a friend, then I’d want to have sex with them (exponentially so for a BFF).

    There speaks a true man. (Just for myself though).

  3. mozziestar said

    Hello Pine,

    Thank you sincerely for your lovely and insightful commentary. I’m always fascinated by the intracies surrounding both the male and female thought processes when it comes down to their friendships with the opposite sex. Your comments (I think), hit the proverbial nail on the head as far as men are concerned. It brings to mind a little diddy I wrote several months ago…

    “Men mistake friendship for sex. Women mistake sex for friendship.”

    There speaks a true Mozziestar. 🙂

    Thank you again for your comments.

  4. Pine Saul said

    I hope I haven’t given the impression that I think sex is a requirement for men to be friends with women. I don’t believe this is the case. That’s the *other* part of that WHMS dialogue I took issue with: the notion that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. I met a woman over the Internet who right from the onset of our friendship told me there was no way she’d ever engage in an on-line or long-distance relationship. It was a relief to know that up front because then I didn’t have to keep guessing whether she was interested in me in that way. Did I stop wanting to have sex with her? Nope. But the line were clearly drawn. To blur that line would have taken something very explicit. Nothing like that ever happened, and I wasn’t expecting it to. But if she’d ever given me fifteen minutes, well I wouldn’t [have said] no.

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