Do you know the story of Harry Burns and Sally Albright? If not you should, if you think you do but can’t remember where from let me jog your memory with an excerpt from their story.
Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her. Sally: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive? Harry: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
In Rob Reiner’s Classic 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play the title characters as they ride share from college to New York engaging in several personality clashing discussions and proceed to run into each other years later eventually forming a close plutonic friendship, until one night when an emotional Sally cries on Harry’s shoulder and Harry ends up proving his point. To be fair it was neither planned nor calloused but Harry had fallen in love with Sally he just wasn’t seeing it that way yet.
I love that movie, it is in my top 5 of all time, however Harry is a giant tool at the start. Over the course of 96 minutes of Seinfeld (also debuting in 1989) like dialogue Harry grows far more as a person than Sally does, he literally matures to an acceptable level of adulthood. The depth of that movie slowly dawned on me as I went through the stages of life Harry did, granted our early to mid twenties seemed different but my understanding and empathy grew over the years as did his . Now I see that he was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I have many platonic female friends, in fact my best friend is a female and I wouldn’t touch her with stolen junk. I’m so sure that she feels the same I’m going to ask her to share this and simply state “true story” in the post. Now then, that being said there are many women I consider close friends that I do not think about sexually. My friend that encouraged this writing career and I have publicly said “I love you….non-sexually.” at which point we then ‘boop’ each other on the nose. I will confess there was a lot of alcohol involved in that particular ritual’s origin. A few years ago I partnered with a great lady to host some karaoke shows, the problem there was guys like to hit on women and since her fiancé was already running another show I became ‘the fiancé’ once a week, which did cause some confusion for regulars, however it kept random wolves from the door and caused no problems because her (now) husband already knew that she was completely loyal and I was not a douche bag. I can legitimately be just friends.
Here is a story to prove it. Like Harry, one day my best friend showed up at my door, emotional, upset, distraut. Things weren’t going as she wanted with the man she was dating. She came in, lay down on my bed and let it out. No, not that ‘it’. I had known for a while she had fallen in love with this man, I knew him, it was a good fit but life isn’t that easy all the time. So for about an hour I lay in bed with her and let her get herself strait. During this I was talking to a girl, on the phone, that I had just started seeing. Here’s a challenge boys; tell your new girl your best friend is laying on your bed crying over a love life not going to desire, then tell her your best friend is a girl. I am happy to report that not only did my new girl not hang up but we are engaged today AND not only did my friend figure her situation out those two are married.
Unlike Harry and Sally we didn’t fall in love or lust, sweet baby Jesus we were and are JUST FRIENDS. Recently we discussed that our dynamic could have easily ended both of those fledgling romances had we not truly be just friends, if either of us harboured secret desires it would have derailed everything. Our current partners could have called every thing off, understandably, but our attitudes towards each other were quite clear, so clear that because we behave as an old married couple or siblings. I once joked that we may as well be married since there is all the bickering and respect AND no sexual desire. Since then we call each other ‘Not-Wife’ and ‘Not-Husband’. I told this story at her wedding on a live mic to a full house.
I won’t say that it is easy to understand a purely platonic friendship between your spouse and the opposite gender, I myself had issues with an ex-girlfriend and a friend I would have coffee and watch Game of Thrones with, one got it the other did not (yep sticking with that joke). I am saying that despite the philosophy of Harry Burns and far too many other guys, they exist, they are common, they are in your life too. We all have those people that we find attractive that because we are friends and not douche bags we have no desire to mess around with. If you find yourself in a position to act on the opportunity either by design or by opportunity you are either a douche bag or in denial, either way you should take a good hard look at your situation, it may not be your true desire. For me I can look at a dozen gorgeous women and say “Oh gross, not even with a stolen dick.” There is a fine line between friendship and love but it should also be a solid wall. I have my walls, I am at peace with them and with all due respect to you lovely ladies I’m not climbing them because….ew gross, still love you though. BOOP!