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TBS Agony Aunt, Aunty Ashleigh, offers J some maternal wisdom on men, women and friendship…if only men, and sometimes women, could just resist some of their…ahem…urges…
My question to Aunty Ashleigh is this – can a woman ever just be friends with a guy without falling in love with him? I have been in love with my female friend who dated my brother in 2007 but now we are just friends but would like to take this friendship to the next level even if it’s just sex.
Hi, J. Thank you for sharing.
Now, I think you might be directing your question to the wrong person. I don’t quite understand how you young folk fraternise these days, but I’ll do my best to give you an answer.
I do admire the way you kids explore every possibility that life throws your way. In my day, “happiness” was a roof over our heads and food on the table, and “finding yourself” was what you did when you were looking through a photo album. I loved my husband dearly, but in a sensible way. We didn’t have time for the grand, sentimental love you kids seem to experience every five minutes.
(My sister Beryl was one of those wide-eyed romantic types, though. She seemed to find love at every turn. She would fall in love with her breakfast if the morning light came through the window in the right way. But that’s another story for another time.)
We’re not all like Beryl. Falling in love is not an uncontrollable female urge that can hit at any time, you know. Ever since that silly “Harry Sally” movie, men have thought that with a bit of false charm and a lot of persistence it’s only a matter of time before a woman will fall in love with them.
No. The better question, J, is whether men and women can have a friendship even after unrequited feelings and desires arise, and the answer to this question depends largely on the man.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, J. When I was going through a rough patch early on in my marriage, there was a certain handsome young family friend who would visit me at my mother’s house. His visits were a rather pleasant distraction and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t develop some feelings for him. One day he tried to kiss me and I sternly refused. You should have seen the tantrum he threw! He looked like a child who’d lost his lollipop! In my experience, it’s usually the men who overcomplicate a perfectly good friendship in these situations. Now, if this young man was able to behave sensibly, swallow his pride and control any further urges he may have had I’m sure we would have remained close friends to this day. In fairness to him, though, it was quite a big ask. I was quite irresistible in those days. I heard he sold all of his possessions and set sail on a boat called the “Ashleigh” never to be seen again.
So, to answer your question, J, if men were capable of realising that they’ve evolved beyond acting upon every impulse that arises and if they can find a way to leave their fragile egos out of it, there’s no reason why men and women can’t have a good friendship, even after a misdirected declaration of love.
(I’m sure there are women who behave the same way, I just haven’t met them yet – well, apart from Beryl).
Yours fraternally, or maternally…