Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend. This was not just any friend; this was a male friend. I only have 3 or 4 male friends who I would consider “close” friends. This guy is one of them. All the rest are women. Ever since Scott, in high school, who probably considered me some sort of personality leech (using his was easier than inventing one of my own), all my closest friends have been women, girls, ladies. You know. Those who lack a Y chromosome.
But he and I went to have food. True to male form, he didn’t ask for directions and showed up at the identically-named restaurant at a totally different shopping center, and texted me “where are you? I’m at the restaurant!” Once he finally arrived at the prescribed destination, we had a perfectly agreeable lunch of hi-calorie cheeseburgers and enormous heaps of greasy fries. We talked about perfectly agreeable things like our favorite sci-fi characters on various sci-fi shows, and… that was all. Agreeable. Nothing deep.
But he looks a lot like me. Same size (although I’m taller) and same shape (although I’m fatter). He could be my brother. He talks louder than I do. He talks louder than anybody, really. It’s part of what makes him hilarious–infinite sarcasm, and no volume control.
He’s my closest male friend here in Virginia. Probably as close as I’ll ever get to having a “best friend” in Virginia. I just have trouble “letting go.” Agreeable is as close as I’ll get to “confidant”.
But I’ll never tell him how I’m feeling, unless I’m angry, which is one of those acceptable feelings that men share with one another.
In all this I have a longsuffering and patient wife, who knows I’m introverted and that I need to let out my feelings and hurts, to someone-not-her on occasion. She’s always accepted my female friends as part of who I am. This is a good thing, since female friends would have been something I would have been unwilling (and possibly unable) to give up from my life. I used to drive around in her Daihatsu with women occasionally, for errands or trips to UCSC, or even lunch or dinner runs. OTHER women. She would get the occasional snoop who went to her to report “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Brian and [insert female name here] took your car together, and I saw them at Denny’s tonight.” Judi would invariably reply, “That’s ok. Brian and I are just in it for the sex.” After the snoop picked her jaw up from the floor and left, she would make sure I’d get the full report of each hilarious incident.
I also have online friends. They are quite often female, and they are quite often people I have known for years and years. You don’t get to be friends with me that easily; I have to have known you for years and years. We have to have had a fight or two. You have to have pushed through my bubble of security. All these things are easier online. Some of them (Kiki) I have never met in person but we’ve become close as any person-to-person relationship, while some of them I’ve known since adolescence or college (Susan and Dawn) but haven’t seen in decades. They provide the outlet for my innermost feelings that I can’t express to Judi in one way or another.
I started writing this post as an answer to the question on my friend Sudebaker’s blog, “Can women and men really be friends without the ‘physical’ stuff getting in the way?” Physical stuff? I don’t care about that. Does sex get in the way? Nah. I’ve never had sex with any of them, or wanted to for that matter. I get the occasional twinge, but I chalk that to midlife crisis, and hormones and male stupidity. It’s something you choose to keep in check, if you really value the other-than-physical benefits you glean. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to function most days without these people. I’m blessed to have them all. Even the male one. And I’ve promised him that I’d never have naughty thoughts about him. Besides, I’d just lie there and sweat.