You’ve got friends, right? I’m assuming you have some friends. Okay, phew. Now, what do those friends look like? Are they all you-shaped? That is to say, dudes, you’ve got some chick friends, yeah? Chicks, you’ve got some dude friends, right? OF COURSE YOU DO. I may have been a bit of a tomboy growing up. I may enjoy rolling with the homies more than your average female, but I can’t be the only one. I mean, people have friends of the opposite sex. Friends they are not trying to bone. Friends they just enjoy because, as much as men and women are disimilar, they’re not two different species. So what gives, Hollywood? What’s with the dearth of non-romantic friendships between the opposite sexes? You haven’t been listening to Harry Burns again, have you Hollywood? I love Harry Burns, I do, but Harry Burns is full of sh*t.
Men and women can’t be friends, my *ss. Don’t get me wrong. I love When Harry Met Sally. It is one of my favorite films of all time. But it’s not the love plot that makes that film an enduring classic. It’s the friendship. The beautiful, hilarious, contentious friendship. Friendship, as we all know, is the most enduring basis for a love relationship there is. Friends can make the very best of lovers. BUT THEY DON’T HAVE TO, HOLLYWOOD.
Sorry for shouting, Hollywood. Sometimes it feels like you’re not listening. What I’m saying is that men and women most certainly CAN be friends without
A) Sad, unrequited feelings (Four Weddings And A Funeral)
B) One of them being gay (My Best Friends Wedding)
C) Being related (500 Days of Summer)
D) Being gay and related (Home For The Holidays)
E) Being OMG Soulmates All Along And I Never Knew Even Though We Kissed That One Time And It Was Totally Bitchin’! (Some Kind Of Wonderful)
Television, as a medium, is much better suited for the male/female platonic relationships. Because it’s more leisurely and doesn’t have to get to the “point” (a.k.a. love match) right away, television has more time to “waste” on “non-essential” relationships. As such you get the lovely interplay between Veronica and Wallace on “Veronica Mars” or the non-sexual tease and banter of The Doctor and my favorite companion Donna Noble. (She’s my favorite because she’s the only woman in the TARDIS not trying to shag him.) Similarly, television has given us some wonderful male-female workplace/mentor/boss friendships (eg Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope of “Parks and Recreation,” Jack Donagy and Liz Lemon of “30 Rock,” and Mary Richards and Lou Grant of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”). See, Hollywood, television knows what’s up. What’s your excuse. You get it right sometimes, I grant you that. But more often you get it wrong and, frankly, in this day and age, it’s preposterous. Your bromances and womances are all well and good, but I’d like to see a little bit more of the following:
Can’t Hardly Wait Denise and Preston: Sure they dated for that whole week in eighth grade, but that doesn’t really count.
Say Anything Corey and Lloyd
Serenity Zoe and Mal : Yes, yes, this was fleshed out in the television series, so it’s a bit of a cheat. But I love their relationship. So I cheated.
Love Actually Karen and Daniel: That’s the back of Liam Neeson’s head as Daniel not the back of High Grant’s head as David (Karen’s brother) for those of you who are confused.
Harry Potter Harry and Hermione: Folks are rather divided, I think, as to whether or not the dancing scene in the penultimate film added unnecessary sexual tension to one of our more famous friendships. On the contrary, I think it showed Harry being a true friend to Hermione, but I can see the other side.
So, what do you think? Can men and women be friends? Or does sex always get in the way?
Joanna Robinson dedicates this particular post to Jeff Mellen. Co-founder of Sex Carrot, squirrel fighter and the salsa to my verde.