All Things Ellie

It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

For some reason I just get along better with men. Perhaps it’s that we share much in the way of similar interests, or perhaps its that women are just too competitive for me. Maybe they just like hanging out with someone who looks fabulous in short and tight black dresses. Whatever the actual reason, men and I just seem to meld better. Our conversations tend to be of more substance. Going out on the town is less stressful, and usually I have a dance partner, which is supremely important when painting things red. I have many friends of the male species, and we are the sociable type, so often we go out to do things together. In a strictly platonic sense.

A few months ago, after dating a random guy, I went to karaoke at Side Door Cafe with one of my closest friends, who is a man and a local sex symbol. Immediately I received hushed inquiries as to whether or not I was dating my friend. It’s true we car pooled; we live maybe ten blocks away from each other. At first I was content to brush it off, except that inquiries kept coming. People at a gathering thought that because we were so close and often got a cup of coffee or arrived at a group function together that we were of course dating. Which we absolutely were not. People were shocked, especially when they found out we had no interest in each other romantically speaking.

It’s no secret that I’m usually found on a Thursday night at Elda’s on Lark for karaoke. One of my good friends is usually on the couch right beside me as we wait to sing duets. He doesn’t dance during karaoke, but we often shake it on the dance floor at the Troy Night Out after party. At least once a week we either get coffee or watch a movie. Sometimes we explore swimming holes. But we’re not dating; he’s expressed that quite firmly when asked. Many, despite denials, still think we’re a couple. In fact more than once, a gentleman has said that he didn’t want to flirt with me because he didn’t want to upset my boyfriend. At which point, I laugh and announce my single status. Ask him and you get a hilariously indigent denial.

I was ready to assume that perhaps people misread my interactions with these two friends because of how close we are. I consider them to be two of my closest and best friends. And then I ran into an old high school flame, and he assumed I was dating one of the guys I was with at Fuze Box one wild Friday night.

My father used to say, back in high school, that men and women can’t be just friends. He was trying to protect me from boys, and the broken hearts that girls get when interacting with them. The thing of it was that most of the time, I wasn’t interested in the boy and he certainly wasn’t interested in me. At least not in any sexual or romantic sense. What we were interested in was fixing up broken computers, watching Monty Python and maybe playing several hours of Dungeons and Dragons. (I got this cool by accident, I swear.) Because I could troubleshoot hardware, get why a comfy chair was funny and play a good mage, I was able to befriend many an awkward teenage boy.

The same applies to this very day. People tend to make friendships based less on gender and more on common interests. Women and men can have interests that overlap without deciding to date, or even just casual fuck. So why do people assume men who aren’t just friends with women are something more? Is it a Harry Met Sally cliche or are they onto something else? When you figure it out, let me know. I know of at least three guys who would love to hear how they can avoid being associated with dating me. I am pretty sure their love life will thank you.

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6 comments on “Why Can’t We Be Friends?

  1. Erin Morelli
    June 29, 2010

    I have had almost the exact same thing happen to me. I also tend to get along better with guys (and for very similar reasons actually). Most of my middle school friends were guys. We’d play computer games or a viscous game of soccer. I probably would’ve had a ton more guy friends in high school, but I went to an all-girls school so that didn’t happen. In college though, I find myself with a largely-male friend group. Partially due to being at RPI, but mostly due to me. A number of them, have tried to take the friendship to the dating level, but it never worked out and I stayed friends with most of them. Most of them are just friends, and are content to stay that way (which is nice, and makes things less complicated). I had one instance where it was the reverse. I was friends with a guy that I really liked, but he just wanted to stay friends with me and nothing more. I guess what I’m trying to say through my ramblings here is that girls and guys CAN be friends. There are just occasional obstacles.

    • Ellsbells
      June 29, 2010

      I agree – sometimes good friendships come from failed attempts at dating. Plenty of guys and girls end up as life long friends that way and there ain’t nothing wrong with it.

  2. Chris
    June 29, 2010

    I’m just going to go ahead and out myself as one of the aforementioned guys. Maybe I should just announce loudly when we enter an establishment that we’re not dating.

    • Ellsbells
      June 29, 2010

      We can wear signs. “Not dating Ellie” and “Not dating Chris”. Actually, these would be hilarious t-shirts.

  3. liz
    June 29, 2010

    Hey ellie! I don’t think I’ve commented before, but your blog is fantastic.

    I too grew up being friends with a lot more guys then girls due to being able to hang with the dudes; play skateboarding video games, listen to death metal, talk enthusiastically about obscure cult horror movies.

    You should bring all three guys out at once and let everyone wonder what kind of three-way polyamorous thing you guys have going on.

    • Ellsbells
      June 29, 2010

      Thank you so much! Well, I often consider Albany to be the polyamorous capital of NY, so it wouldn’t be all that outlandish.

      I think lots of girls these days are able to have rewarding relationships with boys because there’s less gender stereotyping. Little girls can tear apart their computers right along side their brothers. It’s okay to like zombies. I’m glad that other people are saying “Hey, he’s just my friend!” and not saying that he’s like a brother.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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