Until that factor is removed from the equation it will always linger over the friendship with the possibility of either changing the dynamic of the friendship and igniting it or ruining the friendship all together.
And that factor is sex.
It is a simple equation man + woman = sex.
Now I know we could say man + man or woman + woman equals sex too but for now we are dealing with the man/woman friendship conundrum.
The only way men and women can truly be friends is if the sex has been taken out of the equation or off the table!
There are a two sure fire ways sex can be removed from the equation:
The First Way:
One of you is gay!
This is the easiest way to remove sex from the equation and wonderful friendships can be had.
I lived with my gay guy for 6 years. We were Will and Grace before the show Will and Grace came out!
My "Will" was a great friend. We had date night, produced plays together, pretend fought in the supermarket, acted out monologues, worked out, got drunk, cried, consoled, laughed, hugged, slept together...
Yes, we slept together but no sex...
My Will was afraid of thunder. So whenever there was a thunder storm I would get a knock on my bedroom door...
"Can I sleep with you?"
"Come on in!"
They will never let you leave the house not looking your best! Even if it's only to go to the Home Depot!
And they will never have secret thoughts and/or agendas of trying to get you into bed.
It is the truest and best form of the man/woman friendship.
The Second Way:
You can have sex and realize your are better off friends. You have gotten over the curiosity and/or tried the relationship and you realize friendship is the best relationship for the two of you. Sex is now off the table and you can move forward as friends. You will no longer wonder.
The first acting classes I ever took was with a woman named Barbara. She taught at the New School in NYC and gave private lessons in her home.
I was 20 years old and full of hopes and dreams.
I started taking private acting classes with Barbara.
In the class was a handsome man... to me he looked like Sidney Poitier!
My Mr. Poitier! My Sidney was beautiful, talented, charming... and 10 years older than me.
He would say things like: "I have shirts older than you!"
Sidney became my friend and my protector. Taking care of me as I learned to brave this big city on my own.
But you see Sidney and I couldn't be "just" friends because we hadn't taken sex out of the equation yet.
Of course the moment came where the friendship moved forward and we had sex.
I can't remember exactly how long it took. I was somewhere between breaking up with my high school sweetheart and falling in love with my sailor.
I think Sidney and I only had sex once. Maybe twice but then we both went on to fall in love with other people. Me with my sailor and Sidney with a woman he worked with.
Both those relationships ended but our friendship blossomed.
Sidney was my safe place.
Sidney always "named" my boyfriends. Always with a "boy"...Sailor boy, Stockbroker boy, Bread boy (he wouldn't call him Breadman!)
He once told me the day he doesn't name him is the day I found the one.
I wonder what he would call Mr. Selleck??
Sidney and I remained friends for many, many years...until one day...until one day my dear friend moved all the way across the country to the west coast, fell in love and got married...
And I will be honest...even though we removed sex from the equation early on...I still think that there was something more than friendship there...we did have more...I loved him dearly...
In reality maybe our story is more of a tragic love story than an amazing friendship story...because when it comes to men and women being friends, not only is it hard to remove the sex from the equation...it's hard to separate the "what if" or the "what we could be" out of the equation!
Now there are other ways that sex can be removed from the equation but the ones listed above are sure fire ways.
Age could also have something to do with it.
I have a dear friend and ex-business partner who is like a little brother to me (younger than my nephew!) so the friendship never had sex in the equation.
But for the most part if you are thinking: "Hey I have this guy friend and we are "just" friends..."
Chances are at one time or another both of you or at least one of you thought about it.
And more than likely secretly wants it.
You know the "just friends" until both of you are single and sometimes even when you're not.
I had a very good male friend who one day, after years of friendship....made the moves on me...we haven't been friends since...I miss him...
And it's because we NEVER took sex out of the equation. So it festered over the years...until one day the "what ifs" and the "what we could be" took over.
This "confidant" friend thing is a load of bs too. If you are reaching out to a friend of the opposite sex to talk about your significant other you are "looking" for something outside the relationship. It might not (at first) be sex but it sure is a segue to it!
A good old hop, skip and a jump!
So when Mr. Selleck was in the middle of my living room at 11 o'clock at night texting someone with a smile and a laugh...I knew it wasn't his sister!
"Who are you texting?"
And after prodding he says: "My friend Lisa"
I can't really remember exactly what happened after that. My mind only plays back certain moments.
I think I threw a water bottle at him.
*Okay I know I threw a water bottle at him.
He didn't deny that it was a flirtatious text and he really didn't try too hard to smooth things over.
He actually said that he was taking things slow with us and didn't think things were that serious.
I called him out on him mentioning marriage and his response was more shocking than his texting.
He declared: "When did I mention marriage?"
I tried to jog his memory and said: "When you said my "big decision" would be having to decided whether I was going to say yes or no to your marriage proposal."
And he told me that didn't really count because he was mentioning it in reference to the psychic.
I was floored.
After he left and even after I received his text stating that he wasn't going to let me say goodbye...I couldn't sleep...all I could think about was that he was sending another woman a flirtatious text...
Is she really "just" a friend?
Or a segue to the "what if"?
A segue to the "what we could be"...
A hop, skip and a jump to....