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Can We Still Be Friends?
So maybe you’ve read the Scientific American article that came out yesterday that basically told you that although you think we’re just platonic friends I secretly entertain the possibility that someday we’ll be more than that. Yeah, sorry about that. What can I tell you? I think you’re amazing and I like you a lot.
And I hope we can still be friends. Even if Science says we can’t be. When has Science ever been wrong? The Atkins Diet, for one. This is just one study. They can get one study to tell you that you should eat bacon in the shower every day and live until you’re 150. That’s why I do that. And I’m sure that in a few years they will have a study that will prove the absolute opposite of this one. Until then, where does that leave us?
It’s obviously not a huge shock to you that I find you attractive and sometimes wonder about what it would be like to date you. I’m a single guy. Who wouldn’t be attracted to someone like you? You’re smart, you dress cool, you are funny. The skill set for girlfriend isn’t so different than the skill set for being a good platonic friend. Maybe you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a wife or whatever. I’m not necessarily trying to break up your serious relationship. I get to hear about all the great and lousy things this other person does to you in your relationship, and maybe I sometimes wonder if I could do a better job as your sexual and life partner. I wonder this about 99% of the population, too. I’m free to entertain the possibility that anyone could be the next person I will be with. Maybe for women, sending men to the Friend Zone is like Superman sending Zod to the Phantom Dimension. You put us in a box that can never be opened. But then, sometimes, you do open that box.
I’d much prefer to date someone who had been my friend first. Much like I’d like to drive a car for a few years before I ever have to start to pay for it. I obviously still enjoy thinking that I can do almost anything with my life. I still sometimes believe I could be a knuckleballer for the Mets. I wouldn’t want to pitch for the Red Sox because if I stunk up the joint I’d never be invited home for holidays again. And when you date someone who’s been your friend, you’re already well-aware that you like this person, are attracted to them, can deal with it when they cry, are interested in them as people beyond the whole sex thing. I don’t fear falling out of attraction with people, but I do fear that point in any relationship where you literally cannot think of a damned thing to say to someone else. You start mentioning redoing the kitchen because that is literally the only thing you can think to say. “Should we become vegetarians?” “Really?” “No, I just have completely run out of other things to say to you.” I’m pretty sure this is the only reason people have children, because then you ALWAYS have something to talk about because the kid took a poo in the piano or whatever.
I’m not always subtle about being attracted to you. But I’m pretty sure you don’t mind it that much, even if you’re not attracted to me. I always make time for you, I don’t blow you off for hours, I never leave you hanging for very long. And it’s not like I’m ever going to do anything about being attracted to you. Maybe some night you’ll get drunk and call me up because a pigeon flew in a window of your apartment and you can’t get it out and we are chasing it around your bed with a blanket and we both jump on the bed at the same time and the pigeon just kind of flies out the window and we’re laughing and maybe you reach over and kiss me. Or maybe you never do. No big deal. My crushes on women might keep me warm at night, but it’s not exactly like I find it debilitating or anything. I’ll get over it if nothing ever happens between us. And I can be a pretty good friend. I don’t mind helping people move or painting things or lifting up heavy stuff or possibly making your very bad boyfriend disappear into the Pine Barrens to never again emerge. I never had a sister and I always wanted one, and I’m pretty sure I can be a very good platonic friend even if I sometimes want to make out with you. If it doesn’t sketch you out too much.
I do think sometimes my friends use me as a Junior Woodchuck Boyfriend — I’m good at flirting and sometimes I write funny little poems about adorable things you do. And I am kinda funny. I usually have a Mystery Science Theatre Worthy smartass comment on the tip of my tongue. I’m a particularly delightful travel companion, I like going to the mall. Shopping interests me. I am willing to get matching tattoos with you if you wanna. Maybe bears?
I don’t think ladies should read this Scientific American article and think Everyone Wants to Date ME! Even if they do. It’s just a terrible way to go through life. Yes, men in general want to be more than friends with you. I guess it’s just somehow we’re wired according to “Science” and “Scientists” and “People Who Deal With Inconvenient Facts That Fuck My Shit Up.” But you already know all this. There’s sometimes a weird moment when you’re taking the F train and I’m taking the J train when we try to figure out if we’re going to hug or shake hands or high five or run away to France together. There might be a little bit more than just a friendship between us, even if you are interested in more handsome men who might treat you badly. I am just never gonna do that, no matter what the doctors say. I’m never going to neg you. I’m not gonna pretend I didn’t get your texts. “Oh, my phone must have been off.” I’m not gonna do that. I don’t want to pretend I’m more self-confident than I am. I’m just never going to play that game.
When I like you I like you. Whether you want to be just friends or you want to fall madly in love with me. If you don’t want to be friends anymore, I’d understand. I don’t want that, but okay. If you were that bugged by me liking you all this time, you could have tried to hook me up with one of your friends or something. Unless you just think I’d make a terrible boyfriend or something? Is that what you’re saying? Oh yeah? Well maybe we shouldn’t be friends then! Okay! Fine!
I’m still here, I’m just kidding. I value our friendship way more than any dumb attraction. Let me know if you still wanna go pick pumpkins this weekend. I promise I won’t try to hold your hand. Unless you wanna.
Jim Behrle is the author of ‘SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND’ (Pressed Wafer).