FRIENDS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX
By Bethany Ocansey
From as young as I can remember I’ve always been a guy’s girl, fascinated by how different the opposite sex was and attracted to the coolness and taboo of girl/boy friendships. I learnt from them as I grew into adulthood, and now relate to men in a unique way. Initially it is unexpected to them, but very often they grow to appreciate it and embrace all that I am. I always found it boring to do the girly thing, manicures/pedicures and gossip. Talking about what clothes are in fashion and the bag or shoes on a wish list. And don’t even get me started on the hair and makeup conversations. I would rather bang my head against the wall wearing sweatpants au natural! I craved more adventure, more depth and variety than what some girls could offer me.
Admittedly, I wasn’t instantly attracted to most of my guy friends, which made it easier for me to put them straight into the friend category, I guess I was a shallow ‘blow me away instantly’ kind of person. But I did grow intensely attracted to them, in such a different, unique way, and this felt so incredible in my relationships with each one of them. Was it often physical? Yes, but not sexual. I adored them, was intrigued by them and admire everything they are, the good and the bad.
The great thing about friendships is you build trust and respect, and that can develop in both sexes, this belief gave me a false sense of security, a feeling that every friendship I had was automatically protected.
One day I was out and was introduced to an amazing guy, we instantly formed a genuine connection, I loved his attitude and was in awe of his spirit, especially around his friends that were like family. He brought me into his world and treated me like a sister. We didn’t have to go through the awkward conversation about what this relationship was. Our energy sealed the friendship and the mutual understanding was valuable. We loved each other in a way that would last forever, so I thought.
He was someone I wanted to be around, had fun with and was growing with, I let him in on my secrets and he absorbed the pain I felt when I went through one of the worst times of my life. I couldn’t have done it without him, he taught me what friendship was. We knew we would always land on our feet, no matter what. I know people were jealous of the bond we had and the chemistry they just didn’t understand. That was fine with us, they didn’t need to.
One day he met a girl, and I was there to witness the spark. She made him happy, which made me happy. But the judgement and shunning begun, in my direction until the day he told me he could no longer be in my life. He chose her over me. A lame attempt at protecting me. I forgave them both, but I will never forget or talk to them again. I was never the woman she had to worry about! I mean come on, we’re a bit ahead of the curve as far as the animal world is concerned, men and women can just be friends.
I thought my heart had broken before, until I felt that devastating feeling creep up on me with such intensity, it was like nothing I had felt before. This was different. This hurt, and it really fucking sucked. Bitch! Insecure, jealous bitch!
I realized a lot that day, for one, women view their best friends as something in-between a sibling and soulmate, men see theirs purely in terms of convenience. If you don’t fight for a friendship even when its hard or inconvenient, it isn’t a friendship at all.
I voiced my devastation to another male friend and he promised he would never do the same thing. Now engaged, I am still hoping that is true.
What is important to me as a friend is that I get an honest perspective, the realness in someone’s opinion goes a long way. And with men, they rarely care about sugar coating their words, and I appreciate that on so many levels. I didn’t want to hear, ‘ah don’t worry he’s the one for you he just has some growing to do,’ I wanted to hear, ‘he’s never going to change believe me he’s already banged one of your friends so move on!’ Thank you, Gents. Thank you very much!
There are different issues though, while I am not sitting moping and eating ice-cream because of a breakup I do have to be the voice of reason for some of these crazy beautiful men. They don’t get a pass because they are friends. They get real honest treatment from me, and some of them can’t be bothered with it, I mean they wouldn’t get it from their male peers, so why me? While I would voice my opinion, I appreciated that my male friends didn’t judge my life as much as my female friends may have. This gave me a different level of freedom and growth.
It was a turn on to be one of the boys too, the fiery, cute girl of the crew. It was edgy, and I thrived off the attention and fun of it. Do I think if I offered myself on a platter they wouldn’t eat? Some, maybe, I am not naïve to the fact there is always that sense of ambiguity.
What I have learnt is, whether it’s nature or nurture, most men simply do not view friendships in the same way as women. I would have my male friends back in a way they simply don’t understand, I would never play them or put them in danger, just like my girlfriends, but the unfortunate thing is, nine times out of ten a man will always pick themselves or their boy over you and may never really truly understand what they have in a female friend, and how precious it can be.
I’m lucky, I have some of the best male friends who I adore. I have also lost some which I regret. But I appreciate them all. While I learnt compassion and forgiveness from my female friends, I did learn strength and resilience from my male friends. And for that I am blessed.
‘Best Friend’ by 50 Cent ft. Olivia
The friendship dynamic between male and female will always be questioned, but in my opinion it’s the fire that stays burning that makes any relationship thrive. Including friendships. So, do you! I love being around my male friends, and happy when they want to be around me. Do some men (or women) stay connected as friends in the hope that it will lead to something else. Absolutely! But hey, that’s commitment and you’ll be on the same page one day if the relationship means that much to you.