There is nothing more valuable than having a guy in your life whom you don’t want to sleep with. I’m so busy wanting everyone to fall in love that I forget that there are more stable options. Without the complications of romantic feelings your guy friend can be your greatest asset and this type of connection can always remain. Well, as long as you don’t make-out at a party and things become awkward. I’m not saying that lines cannot be blurred (yuck, Robin Thicke). I can hear the naysayers now, guy and girls can never be just friends. I see it more like a colour gradient. There are some that you could cross the boundary for and others that you just do not see in that way and never will. For example, my friend S once asked me in undergrad, a couple of beers into the evening, if I would ever sleep with a certain mutual friend. I replied, yes, if I was drugged. I honestly don’t mean to be rude or unkind, nor am I making light of the date-rape drug. These are just the kind of flippant things you say in the your twenties. But the material point is that I just am not attracted to him in the slightest. And that’s great, he will always be in my life as a buddy.
I’m all for having girlfriends, the bond you have together is limitless and unconditional. You can engage with them in a way that you can never with your partner and they will be there far longer than any boy. These are the individuals who were witness to all of your lapses in judgement and still spoke to you the next day. They have your back. But a guy friend can educate you in a different way. They can shoot the shit.
I often feel that my view of romantic relationships will forever be stuck in 1998, frozen at the age of sixteen. It’s not that this idealistic naiveté has not been stomped on in several slightly mortifying instances, just that it seemingly cannot die and therefore is probably here to stay. But along the way I’ve become smarter and I mostly credit the men in my life for this knowledge. So here are three integral things that I’ve learnt from my platonic man friends. Dudes, I’m grateful.
One, guys play the game just as much as we do. Jesus Christ, how many different types of “hanging out” can there be? It hurts my head how many definitions there are to sleeping together. Sorry for my simplicity but I much preferred the clarity of high school when you were with someone or you weren’t. You like them or you don’t. What is there to figure out?
Two, in spite of the nuances of their intentions, men act in fairly straightforward ways. If they want to be with you, they will be with you. So often we believe that difficulty signifies a deeper relationship. But the more of I’ve seen of this dance, the more I see the choreographed steps. It really should not be that hard, and if it is well, there might be a reason.
Three, it’s all about timing. Who you were a couple of years ago might not have made this match a compatible one. Many a pair are formed later, when conditions are right. Finally you are both at a similar place and phase of life. When you’ve both seen enough. The sweet spot.
Although valuable, these lessons have just strengthened my resolve to be romantic. What’s better than feeling that while so many factors do go into making a partnership work, at the end of the day it’s just about being with someone. It doesn’t get more simple than that.