In the world of theater there is a saying: “Dying is easy – comedy is hard.”
Simply put, it means that it is much easier to play a death scene than it is to make people laugh. Comedy is a broad spectrum and what seems funny to one person, may not even be the slightest bit amusing to the next.
Well, I’m going to paraphrase that old saying and state an equally varied comparison: Getting laid is easy – making friends is hard.
We can all go out on any given night and hook up with a random person. But to develop a relationship that transcends not only sexual but romantic feelings is difficult. And just like the scope of comedy, friendship exists and thrives in various planes and we all develop and perceive friendships differently.
In the gay community we socialize in divergent areas: clubs and bars, gyms and restaurants, or even on softball fields and basketball courts. There are friends that you make from the structured socialization of work or school, and friends you make through other friends. There are also common interests that breed friendship, like football, comic books or theater. There are even friends you make through happenstance, like that hilarious bartender who always makes your drinks.
You can also take the modern approach and meet people on the Internet, through Facebook and the like. So, how do you meet people online with the sole purpose of friendship? Well, I can tell you what not to do.
If you have a profile somewhere that says you’re just looking for friendship, you should probably take the pictures of your dick off of it. It lends itself to a different kind of relationship when there are photos of you sprawled in a chair fully erect in front of your computer – am I right? I have some extremely good-looking friends, but trust me – I don’t need to see that.
As you get to know someone, you learn about them, laugh with them and confide in them, talking about everything from soup to nuts. Literally. But while we spend time with our friends, we scan the surroundings for the next love of our life – or our next conquest. When someone new enters the fold, we wait for our Spidey-sense to tell us how we’re supposed to feel. Is this a new friend? Or something else?
Most of the time, we try to piece the story together through questions asked not only of the person, but from the people who know him. If someone new is in a relationship, the gears can shift once you know that person is already taken. If someone is single and you are attracted to them, that is when the approach becomes delicate, especially if you’re not sure if this someone is the one that is only interested in friendship.
You would think that the easy solution would be to say this stuff out loud, but that’s not necessarily the case. How would you feel, if you were introduced to someone and they said: “I’m Gaybraham and I just want to be friends.”
First of all, it’s not very subtle, and it also infers that they not only assumed you wanted to get into their pants, but they have already rejected the notion. Nice, right?
Then there’s the other side of the coin: “I’m Gaybraham and I’m looking to hook up or maybe get involved in a long-term relationship.”
Can you imagine? Granted, there are ways to allude to both of these things in a natural conversation, but things can get sticky if one side is looking for love or sex and the other is looking for friendship, especially if the two parties run in the same pack.
The budding relationship is like a soap bubble – colorful and fragile with the threat of popping and disappearing at any moment.
Sometimes ties develop when one of these one-sided crushes burns out and an amazing friendship rises from the ashes. This has happened to me a few times, and looking back, it seems it drew me closer because of it.
The desire to be close to someone is distilled into a bond even if it doesn’t pan out the way you wanted. It just means you have to climb through your hurt feelings and realize that being attracted to someone on a friendship level can be even more rewarding. There was a reason that you were attracted to this person in the first place, and if it’s not the blazing heat of sexual attraction, than it must be because you sensed something else below the surface.
After you pair up with someone and become BFFs, inevitably people will think you’re having sex anyway. Two gay guys being friends is the same as a straight guy and a girl being friends. The relationships become so tight-knit that they take on characteristics of romance and sexual chemistry. People always assume there’s more going on.
Can’t you hear it? “Mm-hmm… I bet they’re ‘just friends’…”
My best friends and I are so close that we have unspoken communication and know exactly what the other is thinking or how each of us will react to any given situation. Friends know you better than any boyfriend ever could. Maybe even better than you know yourself.
When it comes down to it, your friends are your family, and for some people their only family.
Think about your closest friends: How did you meet? What bonded you together? Did someone initially want to get in the other’s pants?
During the month of June, part of the Gay Pride experience is not only how we come together as a community or meeting someone we can’t wait to kiss, but it’s also about friendship and the power it has to help us survive.
Your true friends – not acquaintances, not pals, not someone you talk to in the club for twenty minutes – can save your life.
They will be the ones who break down the walls that you put up to keep other people out. They will be there, not when it’s convenient, but when it’s difficult. And they will be the ones who understand your past, believe in your future, and accept you. Just the way you are.