Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tell Me Again: Lovers or Friends?

Last week I was reading Pearl Cleage's I Wish I had a Red Dress. The main character, Joyce, asked her best friend, Sister (who's a minister, fyi) if she thought men and women could be just friends. Sister said she'd had this discussion before and decided that the answer YES but one of the following situations was going on within the friendship:

(1) acknowledged sexual attraction on both sides and it's only a matter of time before friends become lovers, unless there's an honorable reason why they shouldn't such as health or a serious prior commitment;

(2)there's sexual attraction on one side only which unless handled carefully, can result in complicated fantasies, unrequited longings, serious bouts of denial and ultimately a busted friendship & broken heart;

(3) there's no sexual attraction present on either side in which case the friendship will quickly run its course since in most cases the only reason people cross gender divide is if there are sexual opportunities present. If not, you'd be better hanging w/ same sex friends. And finally;

(4) sexual attraction on both sides but the parties for whatever reasons have been unwilling or unable to express it so they sublimate all the energy into shared work experiences that keep them in close contact til they figure out how to get together.

So I stopped and thought about this for a minute. HARD. I can name two men that I'm platonic with (minus some innocent flirting) that fit one or more of those scenarios. But for a lot of reasons, we just keep it moving. In one case, we've crossed the line in the past but we've come back to the safe side of the shore . Actually, I think that's just how the chips have fallen but if we shake them up again, things could be different. So are we really platonic?

Then, I have some very platonic male friends where lines have never, EVER been crossed. There are a couple of them that I believe have never had any sexual interest in me. There are others that I think, if given the opportunity, would sleep with me. I, on the other hand, have never had any interest in these men. Truth be told, I don't think that any of those guys fall into any of the aforementioned scenarios. But is that "the real" or is that just the girl in me who would like to believe that?

So what do you think? Is Sister right? Are her situations the only way heterosexual men and women can be friends?

I'm still pondering. Let's discuss.