They say that there is no such thing as friendship between a man and a woman. I say that they are wrong.
Obviously, I understand the underlying concept behind that statement. A lot of folks have been hurt because they thought that their friend might eventually become more than that. Then this whole ‘friend zone’ business emerged, and it wasn’t very helpful either. But I just can’t agree that people of different sexes can’t be friends. It’s simply degrading to think like that.
Saying that it’s impossible means that we are so primitive that we can’t see the person within his or her body. It means that we are slaves of our own instincts and urges. It means that we are nothing more than animals.
It’s like blaming women for being raped. Terrifying and stupid. And I don’t think that this comparison is an overstatement. Both ideas (the one about friendship and the one about rape) are similar, and it’s high time we notice that. They are both equally hurtful and misleading; both suggest that one’s body is more important than his or her personality. Both say that the friendship between the sexes is impossible because we allow ourselves to be controlled by our desires, and that we are subordinate to them.
Is a woman less of a human than a man is? Is she more than that? I believe that we are all equal, and we can treat each other like equals.
But wait, there is more! Being in a happy, rewarding long-term relationship, I noticed that keeping in touch with my friends from Venus is an absolute must. I started encouraging my girlfriend to not be afraid of having male friends because it’s healthier to be inclusive in friendships. We are social creatures, and we can all agree that ‘social’ doesn’t mean ‘same-sex’. It’s unnatural to only talk and hang out with one female representative, pretending that the rest of them—over three billion—don’t exist. And this kind of repression is what often leads to cheating, both physically and emotionally.
I’ve had a couple of great female friends. It’s possible. I never tried anything with them, they never gave me a reason to think that we have different expectations regarding our friendships. And seriously, who’s gonna give you better relationship or fashion advice, and better gift ideas? Friendship between the sexes is awesome; we all just need to give it a chance to grow instead of sexualizing everything and everyone around us.
Sketch: Vishnu Nair