Why can’t men have platonic friendships with women?
I always had a problem with hippies when I was young. Why? Because the ones I knew were all hypocrites. They espoused one philosophy but were always the first to break their own rules. All preachy about peace, love and happiness, these ones were the first to unmoor their moral compasses—personal betrayal first among them. Yes, they would espouse the morality at a macro level, but at a micro level, in their own lives, often broke the precepts they supposedly stood for.
I feel kinda the same way about men who declare themselves as feminists. I say this as an outwardly-presenting male. I have never understood male banter about women, how crude or vulgar it can be, how overtly sexual. How men behave towards women.
Some of the most “feminist” men I have known are actual rats when it comes to women. I see them espouse feminist memes but suspect the real reason they do it is to ingratiate themselves with a particular woman. An elaborate ploy to get into her pants.
I just don’t believe them. Instead, I believe that most men are wired for penetrative sex, that they have an instinctual need to get it in and will do just about anything to make it so. Marriage is an elaborate structure to sanctify this. I have been shocked too many times by my closest male friends, when the talk turns to women, to find out in unguarded moments what they really think.
If you ask me if I am a feminist, the answer is yes. It isn’t so much that I deny my male self, it is that I know that I don’t think the same way as men. For most men, a deep female friendship is an impossibility. And that is tragic. I am blessed in having a very small number of deep male friendships, but also equally deep female friendships. And they are totally different from one another.
One of the curious aspects is illustrated by two of my closest friends, one male, one female, who also happen to be friends. When we three are together, there is a deep, warm, social bond between us. It is convivial. When I am alone with my male friend, there is plenty that is personal, plenty of advice and deep discussion, and also a lot of laughs and fun. When I am alone with my female friend, there are depths of sharing and emotion that are greater than I have with my S.O. We both cry together, talk about feelings, and get to explore difficult things together from one another’s gendered perspective. These relationships fulfil on a totally different level.
This relationship between me and this woman would never be possible if she or I were thinking about getting into each other’s pants. That doesn’t stop us from noting how attractive each other is…or from noting how romantically incompatible we are—she would eat me alive! But this freedom also allows us to talk about our own loves without fear and with total openness. I can’t imagine two guys doing that together.
I know my life is richer because I have several deep female friendships. All three of them know I am non-binary and about my predilections. Is that why it is safe? For me? For her? Or is it just something readable in my attitude?
Generally, I think that many men might attempt a friendship with a woman, but as stated above, it seems founded on a falsehood and ulterior motives. How do or did these women friends of mine know that when I stand before them, I do so without guile?
My male friends always wonder if I am having sex with these women, or if I ever did, and can’t believe it when I say “no, never, it would spoil everything.” They look at me like I’m crazy. Why don’t they get it? They’re missing out on a whole world of beauty.