There’s two sides to the argument that has been shouted everywhere from Thanksgiving tables, where a cantankerous uncle has had a little too much wine, to locker rooms where people discuss matters of the heart while using provided blowdryers to suck the moisture out of places where sweat vacations after a jaunt on the elliptical machine: can a man and woman just be friends? You know, practically dating but without ever getting curious what the other person might look like in the morning with toulsed hair and breath that could open a can of soup? After all, a strong, platonic relationship between a man and woman is a lot like a healthy relationship where physicality is tossed in like it’s gumbo. Secrets are shared. Shoulders are available to be wept on in salty smatterings. The only thing that separates this relationship from one that demands thoughts about seating arrangements is the physical aspect. And I’ve got news for ya’ ladies, every single one of your heterosexual guy friends has thought, “Penny is so cool, we should press our lips against each other’s!”
I have many friends who are in serious relationships and that are married. What’s interesting to look at is whether these people would actually be friends if sex weren’t readily available. Of all these unions, the people who seem to be the happiest are the ones who genuinely enjoy being in each other’s company. Cue the world’s smallest violin, but they’re actually best friends. Awww, isn’t that so sweet that it now feels like your teeth are made out of peppermint candies and root beer barrels?
It’s not that guys are only interested in the physicality involved; it’s that we’re a species that continually says to ourselves, “This is so great, but you know what would make this even better?!” This is the same train of thought that has led to such revelations as deep dish pizza, the sun dress that every woman looks good in and beer at baseball games. We’re gluttons not for punishment, we’re hoarders of pleasure.
When a man and woman become friends here’s how a man’s thought process works:
Jane is pretty.
Jane is funny.
Jane is sweet.
Jane is caring.
Jane is pretty, why am I not kissing Pretty Jane?
The full-circle nature of a man and woman’s close friendship will always come back to wanting that next cross-section of the relationship that turns chums into couples. How do I know this? I’ve fallen in love with the idea of falling in love with all of my female friends.
Here are 10 tell-tale signs that your boy friend wants to become your boyfriend.
1. All of the activities he plans involve only you and him, and could easily be construed as dates. Dinner. The movies. Spooning while watching Katherine Heigl movies.
2. Hugs involve full frontal to frontal contact with two arms wrapped completely around you. That’s a love hug. A friend hug involves pushing the naughty bits to the side and just barely touching torsos.
3. He hates your boyfriend because it’s not him.
4. He tells you about his sexual exploits in hopes of making you jealous, while at the same time hoping it makes you curious what Mr. Johnson looks like when you stare him squarely in the eye.
5. He thinks the “F” in BFF stands for something completely different than you do.
6. He doesn’t tell you your butt looks fat in those jeans when clearly you know they do.
7. He’s given you something to use during a precarious weather situation. Sharing an umbrella is like sharing his heart.
8. He’s ever started a sentence with the phrase, “we’ve been friends for a really long time now…”
9. The gifts he gives you have more sentimental thought behind them than monetary value.
10. You’ve paid him a compliment on a piece of clothing and suddenly everything in his wardrobe revolves around it…or how the black denim industry has managed to survive all of these years.
What does this all mean? 2012 should mark the end of “friends with benefits” and the start of “friends in relationships”. Give that adoring bloke who stares at you like you never use the bathroom a shot at winning your heart.