Recently during a conversation with a work colleague she mentioned how much she missed one of her friends since they had not spoken in a long time, when I asked her why they lost touch I was a bit surprised to hear that it was because her husband did not approve of her having male friends. I can put up with a lot in a relationship but have to say jealousy is a manipulative trait disguised as childish insecurity and I cannot tolerate it. I am not a jealous person, though will admit like almost every person I can get a small pang here and there if I feel the one I care for is giving away their affections. I do not buy the whole "Harry Met Sally" logic that men and women cannot be friends because the men always want to sleep with their female friends, boy would I be flattered if that was true but my many platonic friendships with men say "ahh...ahhhh...yes....yes...oh God.." (sorry hard to mention that movie without that scene) nonsense. Besides even if it was true some of the time it does not mean it will lead to anything...it is friendship people that is all and if both people treasure that friendship it will remain so. Friends with benefits is a whole blog that am not writing today.
The other thing I thought of is how much I need and flourish from my female friendships but that they are not any different than my male friendships. As far as I can remember, and I mean to when I was a little girl, I have always been friends with boys. This is on top of the fact that I remember having a major crush on boys since I can remember ....even then I liked them differently. I remember in Romania my neighbors who I befriended while living with my great aunt while my parents were in the States had 2 boys and 2 girls in their family and I know I really liked playing with all 4 of them equally, though the sisters sometimes wanted to get rid of their brothers and vice versa I was pretty content playing with all of them. My first friends in the States were a boy named Fernando (who walked me to and from school and spoke to me before and after I actually understood English for the whole walk) and Anthony (who was the son of the super in the building we lived in...he tried unsuccessfully to teach me baseball via Yankee games on channel 11). In middle school the boy - girl thing could get weird but I was not the class knockout which in turn allowed me to be friends with most of the boys in my class, though since I developed fairly early there were some odd moments of silence when I realized my friend was talking to my boobs (sorry boys they do not respond even now). I seem to also be able to be friends with all the boys that I hung out with outside of school... sometimes the ones I wanted to be more than friends with never saw past that but the friendship still is full of great memories. By college men were study, travel, drinking, dancing, wedding invite + 1s, concert dates always there for a good laugh, a hug, when the boyfriends came and even more when the boyfriends left.
I think it is really a shame when men and women cannot be friends whether for a personal issue or even more so from a societal/religious reason. To me this genuinely stifles societies because banning friendships cannot but lead to oppression, hate, distrust and lack of understanding of anyone who is not you. There is something so good about learning about each other and trusting one another as friends...it makes us better people. It is easy to make jokes about men and their annoying habits, am sure there are jokes about women and their nagging, or whatever stereotypes are out there but in the end I cannot imagine my life with the men in my life. I have learned from them, mostly how to be more self confident, not to hold on to things for as long as we women seem to like to hold on to, that usually there is no meaning to a look/a call or lack thereof, to understand that they are not always as brave as they "appear", to rely on these friendships for the advice that sometimes does not come with the emotions that my female friends attach to it. I cannot imagine my life without the times I have spent listening to music, crying over another man, trusting them to get me home safely when I was not in the position to make good choices, discussing with them everything from politics to books to sports to food. I love men...there it is...because they are not like women, they add another dimension to my life. My husband knows that in my life there are men I turn to, sometimes to get a perspective on him, sometimes to give a perspective on their partners, but mostly to just enjoy their friendships with the same passion that I put into my female friendships. I am all Team Boy since having my sons as I hope they become like the men who I call friends. I think about my colleague and her sadness at losing the male friend she was talking about and I cannot imagine having to live without the other men in life.
“Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.”
– Elbert Hubbard