Listen, guys, I know you don’t like to talk about your feelings, but have we told you how much we love you?
Twenty-five years after When Harry met Sally, people around the Internet are still asking whether or not “cross-sex friendships” are possible.
The topic can be tiresome; let’s assume we can, and move on to celebrate that valued figure in a woman’s pantheon of friends — the girl’s best guy friend.
The bro’som buddy.
To be clear, I’m not talking about male friendships. A December 2013 article in Salon suggested that there is a near crisis in contemporary society because men can’t foster friendships with each other. The allegation spawned indignation from the male sex, and legions of golf-shirted, cigar-smoking dudes vigourously tied flies in protest.
Rather, I’m honouring platonic friendships between women and men.
These friendships exist in and of themselves. Some women have many male friends, but many have few, making them unique and cherished friendships. Some are co-workers, some are former lovers, and yes, some are future lovers.
What do women appreciate about their XY comrades?
Here are just a few things:
A comment is not a judgment
Men can be relied upon to give you the straight goods. As my friend M says, “When [my male friend] was gaining weight, all his friends called him fat. He wasn’t all wounded by it. When I gained weight, he made fun of me for being fat and I decided to not be wounded by it and it was liberating.”
So go ahead, feel free to call your gal pal a fat chick.
A compliment is not a judgment
By the same token, if you receive a compliment from your guy friend, you can take it at face value. It isn’t burdened by meaning; it’s not a show of loyalty or support; it’s just a friendly observation.
Some days, you’re fat and your hair looks nice.
They fix things
It’s fair to say that many men like to fix things — that it makes them feel good to fix things. This is a useful trait in a friend, and not just with the kitchen faucet — men often expand their handy work into the realm of personal problems.
After a woman analyses a situation from five different angles, a good man friend can help her realize it’s time to cut through the chaff and act.
They like to do stuff
Many men claim they socialize with others by doing things together, not by talking. For women, with talking-based friendships, this can be a refreshing change.
We can socialize without even talking?
Okay, I’m game.
They give the other perspective
A good male friend can be valuable in helping you understand your romantic partner, or other men in your life such as bosses, co-workers, and seemingly irrational movie characters.
They make good training partners
Many men I know are unapologetically competitive, even with their obviously smaller, weaker female friends. When you’re the last one up the hill and all you want is a tiny rest and wee snack before everyone sets off again, this can be frustrating; but it’s good training. Also, if you’re a slightly competitive woman, you also know this is a trait that sometimes doesn’t appeal to your female friends, while your male friends probably don’t even notice you’re trying to keep up.
So, all you friend guys; mates from Mars; denizens of the friend zone — thanks for your friendship.
Don’t stop taking the world at face value, but maybe lay off the doughnuts, eh?