She’s not my girlfriend

KinshipFor most of my life, my best friends have been females. This trend began early in childhood when my best buddy was the girl four doors up the street. I was three.

That trend continues to this day. I have spent a lifetime trying to figure it out. Some of the reasons are obvious. Most of my interests are things that the average dude shuns. And vice versa.

I am not a sports fan. I don’t like war or fighting. I have pathetic carpentry and mechanical skills. I am not a cutthroat businessman. I am not very competitive, especially for entertainment.

I am into emotions and feelings. I love sensuality. I have a passion for emotional intimacy and connection. I love wondering why we are here and how things could be better right here.

Generally speaking, and I wish this weren’t necessarily so, women get me more than men get me. Women look at me less strangely than men. I find myself shutting up less with women than with men.

GIRLFRIENDS

I have become aware ofย  the social assumption that if I am seen with a female, and especially if we are having a great time together, she must be my girlfriend. And girlfriend has a whole different connotation and level of expectation than friend and acquaintance do. Of course I know my truth within my soul, but sometimes the rest of the world wants to impose its social expectation on me.

This situation has different ramifications depending on my current relationship status — and hers.

When I am in a love relationship, my platonic girlfriends sometimes walk a fine line. They often feel they have to go out of their way to prove to my romantic partner that they are not threatening a hostile takeover or dealing in covert operations.

Other people who don’t know me well assume that if I have fun with a female not my romantic partner, I must — simply must — be plotting something naughty behind the barn.

Similarly, when my single platonic female friends enter love relationships, it often creates from them a very noticeable backing off from our friendship. Whoosh! Either they are worried about stressing out their new love’s feelings or their new love is clearly a jealous type.

When I am not seeing anyone romantically, I am still not free and clear. It seems it’s not common for a guy to have platonic female friends who are single. The biological potential of heterosexual mating attracts snarky remarks of the nudge, nudge, wink, wink variety. Like, “He says it’s platonic but just look at her. Yeah, right. Look at her!”

When I am not seeing someone romantically, my platonic friends sometimes back off, too. Perhaps they’re afraid I am not so platonic after all or they think they should signal to the world that I am truly available for dating. When they pull away I feel lonelier than ever.

SO WHAT?

I find this situation more than a personal inconvenience for me. I think it is a sad reflection on how fear of intimacy keeps us isolated and in-the-box. Somewhere along the line it may have been well-intentioned to keep the genders separate so that a married or “committed” person of one gender did not develop meaningful friendship with the other gender. But in my view of the universe, the creation of suspicion, guilt, shame, and mistrust to keep the genders apart only makes us weaker human beings.

Much of this segregation, I believe, is due to our culturally immature attitudes, stereotypes, and mythologies about sex. We’ve dumbed it down into a caraciture to sell in every which way possible.

One myth here is that attractive heterosexual friends cannot resist without great effort the urge to get naked and let nature take its course. It’s as if the sex urge is just too powerful. Barbie needs Ken, and Ken is always horny.

Sigh.

6 thoughts on “She’s not my girlfriend

  1. ajbarlow02 says:

    Love this post! I’ve always had more male (platonic) friends than friends of my own gender. I’m in a serious relationship and one of the wonderful things about it is that my boyfriend is completely secure in our relationship and not jealous. Male friends I had before he came along are still close to me, and I’ve made new ones since then.

  2. KraftedKhaos says:

    In a monogamy-based society, this mind-set is to be expected. While unfortunate for those, like you, who truly have friendship at heart, there are too many “He/She said they were ‘just friends’, right up until the day he/she left their husband/wife” stories out there for people to be comfortable with just accepting it.

    Monogamy-based societies have a much smaller margin of error before you’ve don’t something WRONG, and so there is a heightened awareness of males and females in the same vicinity with one another. Add to that a repressed and prudish American culture, and you’ve got yourself a powder-keg just waiting for a spark.

    Unfortunately for you, you’re playing checkers while the rest of society is playing chess, and since you’re sharing the board, you’re having to play your game by their rules. Which really sucks.

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      It really does suck. This is why I often like to say, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and I am from Neptune.”

      I did come of age in the San Francisco Bay Area of the late 60s and 70s which then was a much more socially liberal and progressive place. My die was cast in an atmosphere of creativity and change. I am somewhat accustomed to thinking outside the box because that was part of my upbringing (not family but definitely with friends.)

      I had to chuckle at your “just friends” remark. Quite true. There used to be a joke going around about guy who tells a girl at a party that he is free to frolic because “my wife and I have an open marriage.” The girl asks, “Does your wife know you have an open marriage?”

      • KraftedKhaos says:

        *chuckles* I think it’d be better to say ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, I’m from the 70’s’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s way more catchy!

  3. Joshua Bagby says:

    Well, except that Neptune is delightful ๐Ÿ™‚ But maybe it’s an acquired taste. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yeah, the 70s were, in retrospect, wonderful. Too bad we didn’t grok that they would end.

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