The platonic relationship: it’s a beast as mythical as sasquatch or Loch Ness monster. Does it really exist? Well I can state unequivocally that, yes, non sexual relationships between men and women are indeed possible. At least one is, anyway.
Take me and my good friend, Thomas, for example. In the 10 or so years I’ve known the man, we have never had the slightest bit of sexual contact. No sex, no pseudo sex, no fondling, no kissing. Not even a soft lingering stare where the thought of a kiss was contemplated. And with all this non sex going on, you’d think there’d at least be some agonizing sexual tension floating around somewhere. Wrong.
Simply put, I am not attracted to him and he is not attracted to me. We are undeniable, documented proof that two respectably attractive heterosexual human beings of the opposite sex can have a legitimately platonic relationship.
But no one seems to believe that except for me and him. Even our mutual friends needed months of convincing. People on the outer realm of our inner circle, however, usually have an eyebrow raised. The lady friends that Thomas has had over the years have been particularly suspicious. And by suspicious, I mean, determined to claw my face off.
“Who the fuck is this bitch?” inquired one classy young lady he introduced me to. Then there was the woman who cyber stalked me on Myspace for having Thomas in my profile photo. And then there was his lovely long-time girlfriend. She was super sweet to me in person, but never got around to trusting me completely because she couldn’t fully buy into the “We’re just friends” thing.
Sad to say, my boyfriends have only been slightly less dubious.
“So you don’t think she’s attractive?” one asked.
Thomas rolled his eyes and folded his arms while biding his time to think of an appropriate response. If he answered with a flat-out “no,” it would seem like he was lying and therefore hiding something. But if he answered “yes,” then he’d be guilty of giving me a compliment, and that’s just not what we do. So he navigated that dangerous gray area and emerged with his version of the truth.
“She’s not ugly,” he said.
And what do Thomas and I do to handle the feelings of our respective romantic partners? We lie, of course.
Because we’ve found that trying to explain a platonic relationship to a jealous lover is like trying to explain calculus to a drunk monkey: it’s pointless and potentially dangerous.
So sometimes the truth about our whereabouts get exchanged for more less worrisome excuses.
“I’m going to the bar with Thomas” becomes “I’m going to the movies with the girls.” Or “I’m drunk and crashing at Shay’s” becomes “I’ve been kidnapped by Somali pirates and probably won’t be home until the morning.” Yes, yes I know, lying is bad and it’s even worse when you don’t really have anything to hide.
Seriously. JUST friends.
We can’t even introduce each other to strangers as friends because that word leaves too much to interpretation. Instead he calls me his cousin, or his sister, or sometimes his little brother depending on how ladylike I look at the time. We’re not in any way biologically related, but telling people that completely negates the possibility that we may be having sex. I think.
So what do a man and a woman who are not trying to jump each other’s bones actually do together? Well, Thomas and I have spent a tremendous portion of our time either getting drunk and eating food or talking about getting drunk and eating food. But that’s just us.
The rest of our relationship has consisted of trying to get the other laid. At the bar, I’m his wingman, because what marginally attractive woman can resist a “caring sister” trying to set up her “shy brother”?
Thomas, however, has a more qualitative approach to his match-making and chooses men exclusively from his good guy database. He’s even saved in my phone as “Hitch” because he’s spent years trying to hook me up with people who are totally not him. In fact, my current two-year relationship is a direct result of Thomas’ meddling.
He listens to me talk about the issues in my relationship and doesn’t hesitate to point out when I’m being a sucky girlfriend. When he’s in a relationship, I gladly reciprocate the criticism.
Because despite all the jabs, insults and constant bickering, I really do love the guy. That and that alone is what explains the coziness in our photos. And should any of his girlfriends have a problem with those photos, then they’re just going to have to deal with it. Right after I run home to delete them, of course.
Because hey, what the hell are friends for?