Tonight I am going to hang out with a friend while her husband is in class. Her own class gets out at 715 and his doesn’t end until 915. I can only promise her an hour, because in the first two weeks of the semester I have a 12 page paper due. But, after several hours of researching in various locales, I plan to take an hour long break and get to know this girl.
When I have so much research to do? When my time was already devoted to school work, which was already interrupted by several friends on campus who wanted to catch up and forced my work ethic to come to a shuddering halt?
Because Laura is a girl.
And yes, that gender difference is a big deal.
Today, I had a study group over for breakfast. We had done this several times last semester and decided that though we weren’t in the same classes, we’d like to keep the tradition alive. So, with ingredients for a delicious fritatta, five men traipsed into my apartment today, wiped their muddy shoes off and did such things as cook, pray, laugh and fix my kitchen sink.
I love my guy friends, don’t get me wrong.
I’ve also been swindled into a few unexpected dates by being “friends” with a guy.
I realized, that even though I have been (and always will be) a tomboy, at 23 things are changing. It’s hard to be just friends with a guy. Not impossible, but harder. Sometimes, there are bizarre lines to navigate–like when a really good friend starts dating a girl, or he’s actually married and you don’t yet know the wife (even when you do know the wife!). These things can be confusing. The waters are often muddied. Feelings are hurt. I may not know how to put makeup on very well, but at some point between college and grad school, the boys stopped caring about that. Instead, they wanted someone who was real, natural, comfortable in her own skin and able to hold a steady conversation.
And thus, I, the undate-able girl suddenly became quite date-able. In fact, I’ve found myself quite surrounded by men (and women) who want to be my friend and who sometimes seek for something more (women don’t want something more, but I have found myself friends with more and more people). Thus, I have found myself on dates that weren’t dates when I agreed to them. That’s not to say that every guy I know is interested. I went to the stock show with two friends over the weekend, and certainly neither of them are interested.
It is to say, however, that I’ve found myself an object of interest and that maintaining a platonic friendship isn’t as easy as it once was–when I was the frumpy tomboy in sports bras, tshirts and jeans that didn’t fit.
So I realized that I wanted to be friends with more women. I’m trying to be careful what that looks like. I don’t appreciate our tendency to gossip. Since women are more verbal about almost everything, I think that sometimes verbal “processing” can easily turn into something else. I don’t like when some single women are “on the hunt” and can’t talk about much more than men and clothes and showing themselves off. There are a million other things I don’t like about the stereotypes in my gender.
But I’m going to make an effort.
Laura is married to my friend Noe. They are a wonderful, humble couple who really have a heart to know God better and to serve him. Laura is an incredible wife, in my opinion, and she is a great match to Noe. I admire them. I admire her.
So, tonight, I’m going to cut 45 minutes out of researching the Energies and Essence distinction given by Gregory Palamas in the 14th cent and talk about the date I had a few weeks ago, her excitement to be in her first seminary class, how her food budget tripled when she married Noe….
Because, there is a good deal of freedom in being friends with a strong woman who desires nothing more than the betterment of others. There is freedom and confidence in the fact that she is a woman and we can be friends without funky lines, awkward moments and muddy, incomprehensible questions of attraction versus platonicity.
and yes, I did just make up the word platonicity. but I think you know what I mean.