I got together with a male friend of mine about a week ago. I hadn't seen him for awhile but we correspond pretty frequently by email. I've known him for at least six years now. I love him dearly, but I suppose we kind of have an odd friendship.
In any case, my friend – let's call him Mr. Charming, and I both tend to speak our minds pretty bluntly. Maybe it's a trait we admire in each other or maybe we just like to stand by and listen to the other one speak in case one of us causes a train wreck. In the six years I've known him, we've both had occasion to see each other do exactly that.
Who can say what really draws people together as friends?
Have I ever mentioned I sometimes cause train wrecks? Unintentionally, of course. It's a talent I have because I often lack a brain-mouth filter.
Mr. Charming tells me he reads Twenty Four At Heart every day. Mr. Charming greeted me with a handshake.
This is someone I nearly bolted across the room to hug and swing through the air. (Well, you know – if both my arms worked that's what I would have done.)
I didn't say it, but my immediate thought was, "Omigod, he reads 24 and he knows I have bionic nipples and he's afraid to hug me in case I …. In case I … self combust!"
Do ya think?
Maybe I'm wrong.
It's kind of a strange feeling when people in my every day life read my writing.
Now, there was a purpose to my get together with Mr. Charming, but I'm not going to discuss it. No, because what ended up being interesting to me about our visit were all the little things that came up in conversation which had nothing to do with the intention of our visit together.
It was like a case study in a male-female platonic friendship.
For instance, have I mentioned the handshake instead of a hug?
Then there was the moment in our conversation when he shook his head and told me he had thought (for years, apparently) that I was "uppity."
Now, he says, he realizes I'm actually very shy.
"Except not at all when you write," he added with a grin.
I am shy. It's something I've written about here many times, but I know many of you don't believe me. You wonder how I could possibly write about Losing My Clitoris, or my Bionic Boobs detonating in public places if I'm shy. But, you see – it's so easy when I can hide behind my laptop. Put me in a room crowded with people and watch me flee in a panic.
Wait a minute . . .
Did he say he thought I was UPPITY?
And if he thought that, why has he been my friend?
There were a few more interesting revelations from Mr. Charming also.
He informed me that, "Flirting is inappropriate."
He wasn't discussing flirting between the two of us; he was discussing flirting by married people in general.
This statement really bothered me.
Maybe it bothered me because I began flirting as an infant on the day I learned to smile. It's an innate part of who I am and I doubt if I'll stop flirting until I drop dead one day. My flirting means nothing. It's the way I communicate. I even flirt with women and I'm decidedly heterosexual.
The flirting comment bothered me so much I fretted over it for a few hours. Then I sent a quick email off to Mr. Charming stating, "You flirt too – admit it!"
It took me those few hours of stewing to think back on every occasion I'd seen Mr. Charming over the last six years and get my mental ammunition prepared regarding a time I'd seen him flirt.
I ended up not having to prove anything to him. He emailed back and said, "Ok, I do."
Just like that he admitted it.
Does anyone understand men?
I spent hours contemplating whether flirting in male/female friendships is good or bad, harmless or provocative, and he reversed himself in a millisecond with no hesitation.
While I was with Mr. Charming he also informed me that although he realizes I believe in male/female friendships … they really don't exist.
What the hell?
My male friend was telling me there are no male/female friendships?
He said there "has to be an attraction" existing between male/female friends and therefore they aren't simply friendships.
I disagreed, of course.
Then he asked me how many repulsive male friends I have.
I stared at him in silence.
He smiled, knowingly, as if he'd just scored against me in a game of chess.
"We're friends," he acknowledged, "But we both get something from our friendship."
Have I mentioned Mr. Charming is also Mr. Exasperating?
All people get "something" from all relationships. Platonic, sexual, business … whatever the precursor to a relationship is, both sides get something out of a relationship or the relationship ceases to exist.
Sometimes I think Mr. Charming just likes to make me think.
I would never admit to him it's one of the reasons I like being friends with him.
And by the way, I don't have any repulsive female friends either.
© Twenty Four At Heart