I found myself in a rather uncomfortable position at a small
downtown soiree the other night.
We were well into the evening and enjoying the generous
quantity of drinks and canapés, when I found myself cornered by Irate Wife who
was two decibels away from causing an uncomfortable scene.
She was fuming because her husband was spending a
substantial portion of his evening with an old friend of his – a girl friend...
as in friend of the female persuasion.
Sure, they’d drunken shagged once, like, a million years
ago, but that was in the past and let’s face it, they’d been friends for a
Surely the ‘friend’ bit should’ve counted for something.
But Wife was having none it.
Wife was Pissed Off in big capital letters and her hubby was
perfectly unaware, engrossed as he was by the animated discussion of his friend
– or as Wife likes to refer to her, the Eastern Block Whore.
As I calmed Wife down with cooing and compassionate
rationale, it occurred to me that this wasn’t just jealousy talking. This was a
very fundamental sense of snubbery; his emotional connection to another women
was a far greater threat than any moonlight dance their genitals could’ve done.
Wife simply couldn’t understand why he needed to talk to EBW
when he’d chosen to marry her. Why, even after she’d discussed her feelings
about this with him in such depth over the years, he still insisted on speaking
to the hussy who was clearly only after one thing (what with her skinny jeans
and hooker heels and hair flicking).
It was like he was doing this on purpose. Or wasn’t giving
it (or her) a second thought at all. It’s like she could figure out which was
worse. Poor thing. I didn’t think he was giving it a second
thought. There was, after all, nothing to give a thought to – he was just
talking to a friend right? Men can have an emotional, sexually platonic
connection to more than one woman, right?
I’m firmly in the camp of thinkers that believe men and
women can actually be friends; that not every interaction is a veiled message
to get jiggy with it.
Hell we’ve built the Hadron Collider and will all be going
to Mars soon, surely we’re capable of bypassing our reptile brain every so
But then that study came out. The one revealing that, in
fact, men and women were not capable of being ‘just friends’.
Last year, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau
Claire, US, ran a test where pairs of opposite-sex friends answered questions
about each other.
Turns out that while the women were cool with seeing their
male friends in a purely platonic light, the guys in turn saw a wealth of
possibility for ‘romance’.
That given the opportunity, they’d jump at the chance of
jumping their girl friend.
Did it mean that Wife had reason to freak out? Does it
explain why I probably have more gay men as close friends than straight men?
Does it mean there is some basis for petty jealousies?
I went out on a few dates once with this guy who didn’t want
to be friends after I’d hooked up with someone else. Not because his heart was
broken, but because he ‘doesn’t do that’ (have girl friends) and the only
female in his life apart from his family would be his wife.
At the time I thought it pretty narrow-minded and sad,
actually. So we parted ways and that was that.
And now I wonder, was he right? I mean, the white coats are
suggesting that thousands of years of evolution still win out against this
crazy social notion of ‘just friends’.
And while I have many straight guy friends, I don’t have
many that are close. In fact, in my experience, the guys that get ‘close’ to
their female friends end up trying to hook up with them.
Maybe instead of placating Wife down to a more acceptable
volume I should’ve suggested going into full battle mode and tearing hubby away
from his so-called ‘friend’.
But then I remembered, we’re all adults here and men are
capable of polite interaction without the distraction of their romantic
notions. At least I’m pretty sure of it. For an honest answer I’ll go ask my
close guy friends, all two of them.
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