At 2 am on a Monday night, while trying to fall asleep on a friend’s couch, I realized just how immature I was. It felt like a personal defeat; like losing a middle school dozens battle. Here I was a 31-year-old man, tossing and turning on a couch because my mind refused to accept that the very attractive woman in the other room, with the door closed and probably locked, was sleep. Tonight I learned that my mind is way more irrational than my heart could ever hope to be. In my heart I knew she was sleep, not even thinking about me. But in my mind, she was contemplating coming in the living room with me, constantly battling herself back and forth, trying to conjure a reason to stir me from my slumber so she could ride my face. Every creek, noise, or bump in the night was her trying to come to me. Do you remember the scene from “Love Jones,” where Darius was on Nina’s couch rocking back and fourth, and Nina was upstairs in her bed, going through it trying to resist going down to be with him? Yea that, only it was just me, and my friend’s “burning desire” to give me her goodies was all made up in my head.
At 2 am, I sat up, confronted myself, and left. At that point, I’d wished that my maturity would have fallen on me earlier in the day. On the ride home, I realized that I’d never truly considered any female “Just a friend.” I mean…I’d say it out loud, but in my mind, my female friends were just women that I had yet to sleep with or women that I had slept with and still liked to be around. I felt, and still feel crushed because I tout myself as Mr. “Self-Aware/ Enlightened/ Evolved,” yet a concept as simple as just being friends with no hidden agenda was beyond my understanding.
I can’t readily identify at what point in life I missed this lesson. Analyzing my life up until now, I’d have to say that it’s something that’s not taught. Men are friends, and women are for dating. That seems to be what I picked up growing up in the bible belt, in a Christian home. I can’t think of any pastors or clergymen with female friends. That would like bad right? I can’t speak of any happily married male influences with female friends that I knew growing up. I know I can’t be the only one because I have heard and been a part of many discussions on the topic of “Can men and women truly be just friends?”. But what does that say about our society? That question would even be legitimate, “ask-able,” debatable question seems, in this moment at least, absurd. It should be absurd, right? Right? How did we come to a place in this society where gender has to be taken into consideration for friendship?
Ugh…I feel stupid.
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