Tuesday, June 5, 2007

where did all my straight guy friends go?

I’ve always considered myself a guy’s kind of girl. Thanks to my love of sports, I have almost always had something in common with every straight guy I meet. It is usually this love of sports that leads to a friendship—hanging out at baseball games, debating the size of an umpire’s strike zone over drinks at a sports bar, taking bets over who will win the NBA finals, etc. Occasionally, it led to drunken groping and make outs after said ‘friendly’ outings. But when the next day shone a sobering light onto the situation, we assumed our friendly positions and all was right with the world again.

I even managed to give one of my exes a shot at being a friend. Normally, when a relationship ends, I want nothing to do with that boy and am perfectly fine never seeing him again. But for whatever reason, my most recent ex Jeff thought that, because I had been such a good friend during our relationship, he didn’t really want to lose that. By some miracle of God, we managed to stay friends.

However, my friendships with straight boys took a nose dive over something that happened to me almost three years ago—my relationship with Jesse.

The changes were subtle at first. During the first few months of my relationship with Jesse, I would talk to my guy friends over the phone and eventually the topic would change to our respective love lives. The guys would tell me about whom they were dating this time and I would tell them about Jesse. I assume that they thought Jesse and I wouldn’t last long. I wasn’t known for my long-term relationships back then.

Despite their assumptions, my relationship with Jesse blossomed and became so much more than I ever could’ve expected. This apparently was not a good development for my friendships with the straight guys. Somehow, overnight, the changes became obvious. Instead of going through some small talk before asking me about Jesse, they would get straight to the point. Conversations would start like this: “Hi, how are ya? So are you still with that guy?” Before I would wax poetic on what a great boyfriend Jesse is, the guy friends would say they had to get off the phone suddenly for reason X, Y, or Z. Apparently they had never heard of subtlety.

I am now down to two straight guy friends, neither of which I speak to with great regularity but when I do, I don’t mention Jesse unless they specifically ask (we don’t speak often because one is busy with med school and the other is busy with work). I also don’t volunteer any details about our relationship. I satisfy their curiosity with, “Yeah, things with Jesse are awesome and we couldn’t be happier” and follow up with an unrelated question to turn the attention back on them. I’m not sure why I’d rather keep any Jesse stories to myself other than the fact that I suspect that telling them may spell the end of our friendship (actually, I only suspect that of one of them as the other one will be my friend no matter what).

So how did I lose all of my straight guy friends? I’m not quite sure.

My best friend Lisa dated this guy that she had been friends with. Our first indication that he might have a thing for her came when he gave Lisa his theory on friendships between girls and guys. Essentially, he claimed that girls and guys couldn’t be friends. If they happened to be friends it was only because one of them had unrequited feelings for the other and had no choice but to be friends as they couldn’t have a relationship. When Lisa told me this, I spit out the Coke I had been drinking. Why? Because I had always believed that guys and girls can be friends for reasons other than unrequited love/interest.

Despite what I’ve always believed, I can’t help but wonder if Lisa’s ex is right. I don't think of myself highly enough to assume that my guy friends had a crush on me. But it seems incredibly odd that they all bailed after Jesse entered my life. Is that just a coincidence?

At least I still have my gays...


reluctant dater said...

lisa's friend's theory is straight out of when harry met sally. i'm still not sure whether or not i believe it. i think more in terms of what i call "the reciprocal theory." this means that at one point or another, one or the other party has feelings for the other person. whether they are acted upon determines whether the relationship moves from "just friends" to "hubba hubba."

sunchaser said...

I think it probably depends on the person. Perhaps specifically the age and testosterone level of the person? ;)

smarticus said...

Could it be that the requirements of your relationship entail that you are less available (on the spur of the moment and otherwise) to go and hang out? That your priorities have been reordered, and hanging out with your straight male friends is sufficiently low on the list that it doesn't happen that often?

Friendships take effort and time, and much of your time and effort is devoted to your relationship -- as it should be. But something has to give. That's my guess.

lizzie said...

reluctant dater--'reciprocal theory'? i like that. i think it makes sense. still, i'm not sure if that is the case here. at least, i hope not. i still want to believe that guys and girls can easily be friends without someone having an underlying intention for something more than that.

sunchaser--i'm not sure. maybe.

smarticus--i really don't think that it would be appropriate to get into whatever issues you have with me in this forum. when i wrote this post, i didn't mention you and our friendship out of respect. however, if the requirements of my relationship entail that i am less available to my friends and therefore, they are all leaving me (as you imply), then by your logic i wouldn't have any friends. however, that is not the case.

if there is anything else you would like to address with me, i would appreciate it if you keep it out of this blog out of respect for our friendship.

Anonymous said...

weird --when I read the smarticus post I was thinking what is up with that person. Your post cleared that up.

Anyway my two cents--yes, men and women can be friends with no sexual tension between them. Exhibit A - me and my former boss with whom I also very very good friends. We worked together for eight years, he was slightly older than me, attractive --and happily married. I would have been shocked to learn if he ever had hidden feelings for me. The kicker is me though. I never developed any X-rated feelings for him, although I could have easily as much of the time I worked there I was either single or unhappily coupled. But I never even went there in my fantasies. --Erika

Catherine, the redhead said...

I have always had male friends. In the case of two of them (who I thought were attractive) I never wanted sex to destroy the relationships, so we always remained platonic. I am grateful, because those friendships have lasted 17 and 25 years... WAY longer than my marriage or other serious relationships.
I enjoyed your blog-
Catherine, the redhead

lizzie said...

erika--i really do want to believe that men and women can be friends. i'd hate to think that every straight guy i've been friends with secretly wanted to get into my pants.

your friendship with your ex boss is very similar to my sister's friendship with her first principal (she was an elementary school teacher, now a school administrator). i was a kid back when they worked together but i never thought their relationship was odd.

catherine--thanks for checking out the blog. love the feedback!

i had that kind of friendship with a boy once. except we actually gave a relationship a shot. turns out we were better as friends and he's one of the boys i mentioned in my post. don't know what i would do without his friendship.