Wednesday 7 July 2010


One of my best friends is a man (funny how this almost feels like a confessional). We’ve known each other for years, having met through one of my exes – and contrary to how it usually works, we both got him in the break-up. [I am secretly convinced of course that he likes me better; I mean what's not to like]. Over the years, he has become not only one of my closest friends whom I talk to weekly, if not daily (until of course he decided France was better than England and moved away for the summer! Traitor!) but he’s as close as I’ll ever get to having a brother. Which is something someone from a family of five girls always secretly covets. In fact, if I look back on things, I’ve always had this affinity for the male friend. My best friend at five was a boy, and throughout my life, I somehow felt like something was missing if I didn’t have at least one male friend thrown in to balance out all the hormones that my female friends would bring into the mix.

The thing I always find most amusing – and pathetic really – is that even after all these years, people still question how a woman can have a male best friend - I blame the ending of 'When Harry Met Sally' for this. They give you that look like ‘oh one of you must be attracted to the other.’ Seriously, I am the last woman alive he’d look at in that way, in fact there are some days mid-cycle I’m pretty sure I remind him that celibacy and solitude are the only ways forward. And more importantly, if you're still at the stage where you can't be around other men/women - other than your partner - without being attracted to them, I'm thinking it's time for some counseling. The other comment I always get is that our respective partners must be threatened by our friendship . My response is always quite simple really, if you give your partner something to be threatened over then he or she will be. If you don’t, he won’t (and my partner rocks in the confidence department, so there).

In my opinion, I think everyone woman should have a male friend – and vice versa. The thing is, it’s one of the easiest friendships I’ve ever had. There is no drama, no beating around the bush, no histrionics. When we fight – and of course we fight, we’re man and woman, we’re genetically designed to oppose one another – I tell him he’s being a moron, he lets me know I’m being a fiery wench, and then we get on with it. On the flip side, I get the male perspective without the B.S. that goes on with being intimate with someone, and that can be incredibly refreshing, not to mention enlightening – or downright scary when you realize what indeed goes on in the male brain at times. I’m of course woman enough to admit this works both ways.

The benefit that most people overlook is that one can discuss relationships and man/woman stuff (I have been known to ask a lot of questions, but hey why not, that's what he's there for), and often it is his perspective that makes me take pause as I haven’t thought of it from that point of view before. So in fact, my partner benefits from this arrangement cause when I’m being a cow, and my male friend politely points that out, I often think, hmmm, okay maybe there is something to that – then again, if I’m in one of my stubborn moods, I tell my friend he has no clue what he is talking about and what on earth do men know! lol. Those are the days I’m pretty sure he is glad he is a man.

The other great thing about our relationship is that we often look at he world in the same strange, curious way. We can waffle on for hours about the strangest things, from how a tree looks in the park, to human behavior, to describing a trip to the post office. He’s a writer like me, so the details are everything, and the stranger the better. Plus he's a great cook, which is great as I suck, so free dinners are a big benefit of this arrangement. I suppose my point is, and I think I can speak for him as well, is that our friendship, whilst it has its moments that play into the gender differences and even take advantage of them, it eventually moves beyond that. Like any friendship it is simply about two people who relate to one another. And to me that's a rare and treasured thing, no matter how you slice it.

So forget about going to get a dog (no JT, I'm not comparing you to a dog!), I’m telling you, a male friend is a much better companion. They don’t shed, they’re good protection late at night, and you just might learn something. 
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