Sunday, 19 February 2012

Why Harry met Sally...

..and it wasn't to be friends now was it? This question has been kicking around for decades quite possibly for centuries.  Can men and women ever be friends in the true platonic sense of the word? No sex allowed.

I found this definition of platonic:-

a pure, spiritual affection, subsisting between persons of opposite sex, unmixed with carnal desires, and regarding the mind only and its excellences; - a species of love for which Plato was a warm advocate

Now I'm not that well versed on Greek philosophers.  If truth be told I am not well read at all but I have it on good authority that many were homosexual. So lets assume that Plato (not Pluto - Mickey's best friend as I originally read it) was gay.  So the notion of a gay man having a platonic friendship with a woman is relatively easy isn't it?

However if you apply this to a heterosexual  man, in my opinion, this relationship can never be platonic as the sex part always gets in the way.  You only have to watch practically any Woody Allen film to see that a platonic friendship is the oldest cliche in Tinsel Town.  At some point a man will (or woman) want to take it further. I'm not talking about having a full on relationship - just sex.  Besides how often have you heard the phrase "we were friends for ages before we got it together"?

Asides from the classic faking of an orgasm scene performed by Meg Ryan - there's also the scene where Harry (Billy Crystal) says, most definitely, that men cannot have a platonic friendship with a women. He will always want to have sex with them if he finds them physically attractive. Even if they don't find them attractive they will still want to have sex with them.

Now this subject came about when a friend of mine came for lunch this week.  She was having 3 male friends around for dinner (her husband was away - aware of the long lasting friendships) and another female friend, who just so happened to have slept with one of the 'friends', whilst he was separated from his wife.  My friend, therefore, was already on decidedly dodgy ground with regard to her argument that you could have a platonic friendship.  My eyebrows were well and truly raised at this point.

These male friends were all married/with long term partners.  The female friends didn't like the partners so they were excluded from this rather bizarre set-up.  I suggested that perhaps, just perhaps, the female friends in this click were the problem.  Surely for the sake of the 'friendship' with these men folk that their chosen partners should be tolerated within the inner circle of trust.

I mentioned the Harry met Sally film to which she cried "but that's just a film!" just because it was in a film (a LOT of films by the way) doesn't mean to say its true. Its true alright and that's why it features in films so heavily. I do think women are, like a lot of things, naive about such matters.  They think because they wouldn't contemplate having sexual feelings for their friend that the same most be true of the bloke.

Then she proclaimed "well if a man is thinking that there's nothing I can do and I'd still want to be friends with them". Fair point but it is not a platonic friendship then is it.

I don't have any male friends. She really was staggered at this rather foreign concept.  To me its very clear. Why would I want to spend time alone with another man other than my husband? Would I want my husband to be having dinner with a female 'friend'? No. Mixed groups fine. On your own, no.

My oldest friend was also of the same opinion - surely your husband is the male friend you should be closest too she said. Furthermore she would not want her husband having an intimate friendship with a woman. There's only one place that can lead to and that's the bedroom.

Finally, the hubster remarked, "why an earth would a man want a platonic friendship with a woman"?

Over to you people all comments welcome!


  1. Interesting post! It's difficult for me to say really but I think I'm with you. If my husband was regularly entertaining female friends I would be filing for divorce, so why would I do the same? I don't think male female friendships can be like that once you're married, meeting up as couples would definitely be more 'usual'.

  2. I laughed at the filing for divorce! Very true though - I think that's 1 nil to me at the moment! x

  3. Seriously?
    I have mostly had male friends throughout my life, and my best friend is a guy 20 years younger than me.
    I have a partner of 25 years standing who could not imagine me not having male friends.

  4. Yes seriously! Thank you for commenting. I would have to question why you would want to spend intimate time with another male that wasn't your partner. I am assuming if he's your best friend you discuss your partner, any issues, dine out together, drink together? Has the sexual element ever crossed your mind - have you asked him if it has? If you are best friends I'm sure you could discuss this. Does he have partner/wife - do you mix as a couple? Maybe your partner either tolerates it or maybe he doesn't care which is probably worse isn't it? Does your partner have best female friends? Who would you prefer to spend your time with?

  5. Interesting. I have one old male mate (known for 20+ years!) - we've lived together in a shared house and in his house (separate rooms!)and have been single at the same time. I have never considered him anything other than a friend, and he has never 'made a move'/made me feel uncomfortable so I would say the same for him. He is straight and married, but one of those super nice guy non threatening males - when at uni we had a video(!!!) and choc sleepover with some of the girls he was allowed as an honoury girl! My number one friend male or female is my husband. I wouldn't seek to have a close friendship with any other male, and would find it strange if my husband did with another female. I think platonic friendships can exist but are more the exception rather than the rule.

    I agree it seems questionnable to have a dinner party with members of the opposite sex without your partner, and exclude their partners.

  6. make that 'honorary' - time for bed!x

  7. Are you sure he's not gay and the marriage is a smoke screen! Dare you to make a move lol! Interesting i'm sure if he's straight its crossed his mind. Do you see him on your own?? X

  8. I consider him as a female (am sure he would be delighted with that!) No I don't meet up with him on my own, we meet up with him as a couple/with the children. Before we were married I would meet up with him, with my (now) husband, not on my own too.

    I used to be in touch with an ex-boyfriend via e-mail/occasional phone when I first started seeing my husband. I had moved to another country, then one day he said he was going to visit, did I fancy meeting. Funnily enough he wasn't so keen when I said my boyf (now husband) and I could meet up with him. Then I thought, why I am actually in touch with him. He is a nice guy, but I wouldn't want to meet up with him on my own, he wouldn't want to meet up with me with my husband (I doubt my husband would be too excited either) so we gradually (well quite quickly actually!) lost contact!

  9. It's interesting that you think my partner could only either tolerate it or not care. And a little sad.

    Yes, my best friend and I behave just like any other best friends - we discuss partners, issues, dine out together, drink together. And we discuss sex, and no, we don't want to have sex with each other.

    Do you really want to have sex with every man?

    I don't. I only want to have sex with my partner. That's why he's my partner, and not just a friend.

    Someimes we go out all together (partner, friend and I), and we have a great time. Sometimes we socialise with each other's families - parents, children and grandchildren included.

    Neither my partner nor I has "couples" types of friendships, and we don't socialise with "couples". We socialise with people. People of any age and of any gender, generally in groups, and never ever groups divided by gender.

    I'm astonished that you would suggest that Mrs W's friend is gay because he hasn't "made a move" and suggest that she does so to 'test' him. She's said he's married - if he turns her down, is he faithful or gay or just a friend, in your opinion?

  10. I cannot come around to your way of thinking on this one I'm afraid. I think if a woman is having intimate chats about her sex life, discussing her partner etc with a male friend than there is something not quite right with the relationship she's in. Maybe she perceives it as a safe way of flirting and is flattered that another man wants to spend time with her. Especially if she prefers his company to that of her partner.

    Furthermore I think you are only viewing this from a woman's perspective. I don't doubt that you don't want to have sex with this man. And no I don't want to have sex with every man I encounter but then I wouldn't be choosing to have dinner dates with another man other than my husband.

    My husband said he would find it highly disrespectful if I was discussing intimate matters and confiding with another man - he feels he should be my confidant and I agree. This no doubt will astonish you even further!

    You don't say whether your partner has an intimate relationship with a female. How would you feel if he enjoyed dinner dates, discussed your sex life with her and the like? Its all well and good when one person has the upper hand but what if the boot was on the other foot? An attractive lady, 20 years younger than your partner, seeking weekly dinner dates to discuss your sex life and hers.

    As to my comments regarding Mrs W's who I have regular contact with on twitter and on this blog - these were in jest!

    Getting back to my original blog post it asked the question about platonic relationships and as proved by your comments I think a women will think this is possible. I think many men though would disagree.

    Thanks again for commenting I'm all up for debating - I'm a big girl I can take it!

    Stay tunned for my next posts on the baby boomers (mum and dad watch out)and feminists who aren't as high brow as they think, given that they have swallowed mass propaganda for decades. x

  11. The most exciting part is meeting someone, the honeymoon period. Humans mate, we are animals. Anyone free Friday lol? Joking aside, good blog, I'm with the blogger here and I'm a man, just. Lol. I want sex with all my friends wives. I'll let u know if I can pull it off lol. I do hve one of these 'close' friends, we've touched. Guilty. I will post anonymously lol....keep it up 70s good stuff

  12. Thank you Anon for your honesty! Could I ask how you would feel if your wife had a intimate friendship with a male and discussed your sex life etc over dinner dates and drinks