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!