Letter 42: Boy/Friends, Unicorns and Loch Ness Monsters

14 Mar

Dear me at 19:

You’ve just come home from a really tasty sushi dinner and a rockin’ concert by a Swedish Girl Band . You’re standing in your bathroom, staring in the mirror as you wipe away your mascara. You’re completely puzzled by the night’s events. You’re rehashing the evening, moment by moment in your mind, trying to figure out what the heck went so terribly wrong.

Allow me to clear something up for you: He likes you.

He doesn’t want to be your friend. He doesn’t want to be your “big brother”, even though that’s his self-proclaimed nickname and how he has positioned himself in your life thus far. He is into you. Big time. And, here’s a really big newsflash: To him, tonight was a capital D-A-T-E.

Looking back on the evening, I’m sure you must be piecing it together. He was wearing a dress shirt. His hair was different. He’d offered to pay the bill at the restaurant (though you declined). He made up a weird excuse for the two of you to go back to his apartment and asked to show you something in his bedroom (which you thought was super weird). And he lingered. Most importantly, he did a big time pout at the concert after you made a joke about your boyfriend (the one whom he knew you were dating). He’d stopped bopping his head. He was practically monosyllabic.

“What the heck is going on?” you might ask. “I thought we were friends.”

Let me fill you in on something here: The concept of the Boy/Friend is equally as fictional as the Unicorn, Loch Ness Monster and Santa. (Straight) Men and women simply cannot be friends. Sure, it might start out with the best of intentions, but sooner or later, someone decides to change the rules.

Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, there is always an unspoken sexual tension between (straight) men and women. Sure, we might try to act like high functioning, important and intelligent beings but ultimately humans are essentially a few chromosomes away from Chimpanzees. We are hardwired to procreate. The survival of our species depends on it. This makes it very difficult to forge meaningful friendships between members of the opposite sex. Because, no matter how hard we try to think of the opposite, we always just wind up thinking about sex.

Countless films, books and pieces of music have been written about exactly this narrative. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl become friends. Boy or girl falls in love. Tension ensues. Now, in the movies, this is almost always an excellent thing. Harry realizes that he loves Sally and they live happily ever after. What could be better than two friends falling in love?

Unfortunately, the real world is a lot messier. A lot of the time, the feeling isn’t mutual. And that’s the situation you are now in. You like your friend. You think he’s a great guy. You think he’d be a great boyfriend. But there just isn’t that indescribable spark on your end. That certain something special that makes you need him. And the fact that he feels that for you unfortunately doesn’t change anything.

Most unfortunately, this is where the road must end for you and your Boy/Friend. He is hurt. You are confused. And things are just going to get even more complicated. The best thing you can do is to tell him how you feel and allow him the space to quietly walk away, should he so choose.

Is it possible for a Man and a Woman to forge a meaningful friendship and keep it at just that? Maybe. Possibly. I mean, I’m sure that in the span of history, at some point, it might have happened. It could also theoretically be possible in the future. But in the meantime, I would suggest switching your hunt for the Boy/Friend to a mystical creature that’s a little less complicated.

At least at Loch Ness you might get a tan.


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10 Responses to “Letter 42: Boy/Friends, Unicorns and Loch Ness Monsters”

  1. eternallyemo March 14, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Duckie!!! My hero! 🙂

    Sigh…. I know how this guy feels. I’ve ruined many friendships by falling for the girl, and most recently prevented myself from making the same mistake with a girl who would have been an awesome friend… if I wasn’t so madly in love with her.

    Damn females. Why must you be so attractive? 😛

    • thehindsightletters March 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

      Well, I guess we just can’t help it. It’s not easy being this wonderful, you know 😉 Ha ha. And I love Duckie too by the way! So not a troll, regardless of what Charlie Sheen thinks.

  2. magnolia March 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    story. of. my. life. literally. i was wickedly, foolishly in love with my best friend for years and years, and he never reciprocated. he loved me like family, he said, but not like that.

    then he kissed me. then we spent nearly two years hooking up, insisting to friends, strangers and ourselves that this was just recreation… until we finally woke up and realized what we were doing. he finally saw me for what i had become: a girlfriend. we had a future, he said. it only took fifteen years to evolve from awkward and painful to deep and fulfilling…

    • thehindsightletters March 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      …And now it’s an awesome love story! Like I said, there’s nothing better than two friends falling in love. It’s just the getting there that can be complicated 🙂

  3. Nikole Hahn March 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Excellent! I enjoyed this one. Humorous and so very true. Men and women can’t be “just” friends. I married my best friend. He was the only guy I considered to be “just” my friend and look where we are now! Married for eight years…rofl…and having the time of our life!

    • thehindsightletters March 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

      That’s hilarious! Yep, the male/female friendship is really just a ticking time bomb. Recipe for either complete disaster or lasting marriage- and rarely anything in between!

  4. perversecowgirl March 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Guy/girl friendships work fine, provided you each have a really specific physical or emotional type that does it for you and the other person isn’t it.

    And let’s not forget that a lot of the time, sleeping with a friend ends up killing that bit of sexual tension between you (after all, you were probably “just friends” because you weren’t compatible in the first place) and after that you can be 100% brother/sister platonic.

    • thehindsightletters March 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

      Very interesting perspective- you’re our first pro Boy/Friend commenter 🙂 It’s good to hear that it can be done!


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