On Friendship with Women: Some Cautionary Tales From One Chinese Man

I was thinking about the issue of friendship this past Sunday Sept 13, 2015 when I was watching “The Transporter: Refueled” at the Edwards Renaissance Theater in Alhambra with my older brother. We had a discussion about friendship with women. Dun dun dun….Yes, yes, I know I wrote an entry explaining in great detail why men and women can’t be friends and I still do stand by that position. But our discussion revolved around the female friends that he had when he was still in middle school and high school. Me? Not so much. I didn’t really consider any of my female classmates as friends if the only reason we hung out was to help each other learn the class material better. With that said, my older brother still maintained, at least at the time, that males and females can be friends–as in platonic friends. And he went through great lengths to maintain these friendships with the opposite sex. Incidentally, in hindsight, he put in more energy, time, and money into these friendships than the females did for him. *Surprise, surprise*. Granted, middle school doesn’t really count, I suppose since we were all pre-pubescent young adults. Boys and girls could still get away with being friends–as in, strictly platonic friends–with each other without any awkward sexual tension from the boy’s end or awkward emotional tensions from the girl’s end. But by high school, it’s a different story. By then, most of the boys and girls would have undergone the first stage of puberty already and adolescence setting in for the first time in one’s life. This was a period when all hell broke loose. Why? Because that’s when the boys realize that “Hey, why is my penis acting funny around the same gals I’ve known and hung out with since middle school?” Or, “Hey, why am I feeling these weird but strong, attractive feelings for this boy whereas before I never felt this way towards him–like ever?” Yes, those were awkward times indeed. I’m sure every man or woman who has gone through puberty and adolescence knows what I’m talking about.

Anyway, let’s get back on track. My brother had made a lot of female friends in middle school and high school and he had maintained a lot of these friendships that were just clearly one-sided for the most part. And I do not, for the life of me, understand how he could have maintained such a one-sided friendship with all of these girls for so many years and continuing onward into college. UCLA. The Bruins. His excuse at the time was that his “girl friends” (not to be mistaken for girlfriends) gave him something that he could not get from his male friends, which is essentially intimacy, but here’s the thing. Male friendships has a different type of intimacy. It is that of brotherhood. It is that of “I’ll do anything for this guy” type of bonding. That, to me, is intimacy with a male without getting too homo about it all. Not that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality but I’m just saying. There were very few girls that I’ve met in middle school and high school where I had achieved this level of intimacy. In fact, only two, which incidentally, happened to have been two of my past girlfriends of 5 years and 4 years respectively.

Now, the gal friends that my brother kept in touch with? I just happened to know one of them. She was a classmate of mine back in my freshman year in high school. Julie. She and I didn’t really hit it off. In fact, our personalities simply weren’t compatible. Looking back on it, I’m glad that we didn’t get along. There was something about her on our first meeting in English class that really rubbed me the wrong way. She was the classic “Princess” and I mean that quite literally. And to go off on a tangent briefly, I’ve always imagined that my future love interest would be this type of gal. But through sheer fate and a bit of random luck, I’ve subconsciously made a note in my head after meeting Julie for the first time that this “type” of person was someone I couldn’t deal with. Like ever. Anyway, my own personal observations of her throughout high school gave me the impression that she was someone who had no shame on asking for stuff and expecting people to bend over backwards for her. And, for the most part, if they were male, they did precisely that, which fed into her ego that she could get anything she want simply by using her feminine wiles. Except my buddy Eddie. My buddy was smarter than that. He was the classic “nice guy” but he knew instinctively who genuinely needed help and who was just using him for his caring nature. And she was the latter and he knew how to ‘handle’ her, which, unsurprisingly, she tried really hard to get with him but he wasn’t interested. I’m sure Eddie was the first guy who wouldn’t bend over backwards for her and that’s why he was the ‘challenge’ where as every other guy before him? Too easy. Like my older brother, sadly. And during this whole time, she was stringing along my older brother on the side. Of course, my brother insists that he knew all along what type of person she was and what she was doing. He insisted that he kept her around all these years until just fairly recent because he genuinely enjoyed her company. Now, me personally? I call bullshit. She had to have offered something pretty uniquely entertaining or provided the kind of emotional support that one can’t get from the same sex but it was neither, according to my brother. At this point, one must wonder what else could she provide as a friend that a guy can’t get from their guy friends, you know what I mean? I mean, maybe I’m just missing something here but if my friends aren’t uniquely entertaining and thus, “fun to be around,” or they weren’t the sort I would confide in when I need get something off of my chest, why the hell would I want to be around this person? Why the hell would I continue spending time, money, and energy into someone who doesn’t at least provide one of these two criteria? And if I had to take an educated guess, my older brother was secretly in love with Julie and he was just working towards his goals in hopes she’ll notice him for the great guy that he is. Ummm…no.  If this was the case, and I’m not saying that it is necessarily the case for my older brother, but if it was, I expected more. I expected that for someone as bright and hardworking as he was, and seemingly socially active from what I remembered him being in high school and college, that he would have saw through this muse. But ok. Maybe, he’s just trying to save face. Maybe he doesn’t want to appear incompetent in his romantic life because he’s so much more competent in every other aspect of his life. If these were the reasons, fine. I’ll take that.

Looking back at my dating life, I don’t think I’ve ever committed what he committed. That is, pining for a gal that I really liked in hopes that she’ll recognize me for what a great guy that I am. And by pining, I mean like having an obsession over a gal that I barely knew and wanted to do everything in my power to be with her, come rain or snow. I’ve had crushes before, sure. I’ve even liked some girls a lot because of their fun and/or easygoing personality but I’ve never really been the sort that would “pine” for a girl. The only gals that I felt that strongly were those that were friends to start with and transitioned into a relationship after. Bear in mind now, my first girlfriend? That one happened by accident. I wasn’t really planning on liking her in the romantic sense until college and the way it transitioned into something more than mere friendship was also by accident. My second girlfriend, that one was more purposeful. I went in with the intent of getting with her but the chain of events that led up to it was also by accident. it just felt right to do what I did to change our friendship from one that was purely platonic to something more than platonic.

Interestingly enough, despite my buddy’s ability to detect Julie’s intentions, he fell for another gal’s feminine wiles instead–to which I might interject, that I had been fooled by her as well. Her name was Susanna. She was a gal that I ended up liking a lot (not in the romantic sense, mind you–I was a late bloomer) back in middle school and high school and one day, she just stopped talking to me–at which point, she started talking to my buddy Eddie. Yes, I admit. I was jealous at the time but then again, it wasn’t like we had anything. We just used to talk a lot and I had gotten attached to her emotionally over the course of time, which is totally normal. What was abnormal was her abrupt choice to end the ‘friendship’ out of the blue but looking back on it, (BTW, I’ve never seriously put this much thought into my high school years–no joke), we never really did have a friendship. I was just there to entertain her and give her attention until she was bored and moved on to her next target, which just happened to have been Eddie. She wasn’t a Julie, that’s for sure, but she was more sly in that respect. While I’ve never given her anything, as in material gifts, I’ve done favors for her and bought her food because I was under the impression that we were good friends. She was good, I’ll give her that much credit. She was just using my kindness for her own selfish gains, which sucks, but it happened. And for Eddie, I had warned him about Susanna but Eddie being of the same ilk as I, he got burned so much worse than me. Now, I’m generally a nice person but Eddie? He was selfless to a fault, which made it easy picking for Susanna. That whole experience ultimately strengthened the friendship between Eddie and I though. So despite all the hurt that we both experienced at the hands of the same gal with whom we both thought was a good friend of ours at different points in time, the upside was that I gained a very valuable friend at the end of it all.

Moving on. After Susanna, it wasn’t until my senior year when I had befriended another gal, Lita. She was, by high school standards, drop dead gorgeous. Her personality naturally repelled most guys and girls and strangely enough, I got along with her very well, given my personality at the time. I think she was probably the first girl I’ve ever felt like I really wanted to be with in the romantic sense. But, it never amounted to that because she ended up with another guy on my advice and encouragement based on a random dream that she had about the guy. That’s about when our friendship fizzled and I had stopped talking to her since she spent all her time with the guy. I didn’t see the point. I simply moved on. Well, not quite. That’s not the whole story but long story short, we had a fight and it was an especially bitter one and that’s when our friendship ended. Frankly though, I can’t remember the details but I do remember the feeling I had felt. It was a feeling of betrayal. Kind of like “I bore my soul to you and you to me” but despite the emotional connection, you dare betray me?–sort of feeling. It’s hard to describe. It’s not like she made fun of me in front of the entire class, no. Nor did she take all my secrets and made me the laughing stock in front of others. Nothing like that. It was more personal. It was more like…I’ve done all of this for you and you’ve done all of this for me and now you turn your back on this friendship–sort of feeling. Like, I no longer play a big role in her life, you know what I mean? Beyond that, I can’t remember much else.

On the whole though, I still think that despite all of my seemingly negative experiences (there were a lot of positives mixed in there too), I wouldn’t trade away any of my experiences. It’s made me who I am today. And that, I think, is something to be thankful for.

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