Since my last post, I’ve suffered from the dilemma of too much choice of what to write about. Too many topical write about-worthy things have happened – Glee‘s two most prominent female stars Britney Spears-ed themselves up for creepy pervo photog Terry Richardson; Famous Women with talk shows Disapproved of said Glee stars; an EW.com feminist Disapproved of the Famous Women’s disapproval; Boundless had another post with comments full of Christian female projection about what men find attractive and shaming of the “number rating” system; Boundless also had a post on international/interethnic marriages, which of course prompted dozens of comments reeking of the superiority of Christians who marry outside of their nationality; a personal experience that added another notch to the “all the good ones are taken, gay, or taken and gay” column; various other experiences that made me wonder if most women overrate their looks/SMV; and a message board post from a girl who is living with her ex-boyfriend and is very upset that he is getting involved with another woman, a situation whose stupidity makes me want to bash heads against the wall, not the least of which is my own. Choosing from any of the above is tough, so I’m going to go with another Dating Thread scenario, one which is exceedingly common these days.
I think I’ve discussed male/female friendships before, but it’s a situation that tends to cause a lot of heartache and grief, so it’s worth discussing again. Here’s what happened:
Esmeralda is a graduate student who has a massive crush on a fellow student, Phoebus. Esme and Phoebs are inseparable and hang out together all the time. When they’re not together, Phoebs constantly texts Esme. They are so tight that Esme’s roommates mistakenly thought that Esme and Phoebs were dating.
Recently, Esme and Phoebs met up with some other students in their program and went to hang out at the house of Esme’s arch-nemesis, Morticia. They all ate, drank, and made merry. Then, needing more alcohol, Esme, Phoebs, Phoebs’ roommate, and Morticia headed out to the bars and met up with some other friends.
Now, if Phoebus had been looking for an opportunity to make a move on Esmeralda, this would have been it. Fueled with liquid courage, she was more than ready for the taking. Instead, this happened:
Phoebus danced with Morticia and made out with her. They left a couple minutes later. Ten minutes after that was last call, and Esmeralda felt incredibly awkward passing Phoebus and Morticia outside and exchanging hellos.
Esmeralda now feels devastated/angry/humiliated/still in love with Phoebus.
I hear about or read about scenarios like this all the time. The daughter of one of my mom’s good friends had something very similar happen to her a couple of years ago. (In her case, she met a nice Christian boy and hung out with him all summer; he told her he wanted to marry someone like her; they went their separate ways when school resumed in the fall; she flew down to Florida to surprise him; she then discovered that he was dating someone else.) Candice Watters’ own history with her now-husband, Steve, very much resembles Esmeralda’s plight. (In Candice’s case, she confronted Steve and told him she would cut him off if he didn’t want to date her. Months later he decided to give up his Southern belle ideal and date Candice after she lost some weight and grew out her hair.)
It’s almost useless to offer any advice to women in Esmeralda’s situation, because the woman will rationalize away all reason. This guy is different, not all guys are like that, you can’t make generalizations, I’d rather be his friend than not at all, etc. Pretty much all you can do as a friend is just tell that person you don’t want to hear about any more of their self-inflicted melodrama.
A more effective solution is just not to get into such a situation in the first place. This means not having a male friend as an emotional confidant. This also means not having a male friend with whom you spend a lot of free time, especially if it’s one-on-one. This includes non-stop texting. If a male friend wants to send you regular texts checking up on you or sharing details of his day or confiding his feelings in you, he’s crossing the friendship line and should not be surprised if his female friend starts falling in love with him. Most women, even the most strident feminists who think that abortion is a self-evident human right and that rich white men should pay for everything for everybody (unless they’re on a date), want to feel emotionally taken care of, and will start falling in love in a typical feminine fashion if they sense that the man is willing to care for them that way.
A good litmus test for whether or not you’ve crossed the line is the one that Esmeralda failed: do your friends/roommates think you are dating this guy or that for all practical intents and purposes, he is your boyfriend? If there is any ambiguity, you should take a step back.
As for Phoebus…I think men who act the way he has are selfish jerks. Yeah, yeah, it’s the woman’s fault, she let it happen, she should have known, blah blah blah. Her lack of knowledge or self-control doesn’t make his actions any less selfish. It’s the equivalent of a woman dressing slutty, letting men shower her with attention and gifts, going home with the man she likes best, getting naked, and then saying she’s saving herself for marriage and she never intended to have sex with him.
Basically, don’t get emotionally intimate with a friend of the opposite sex, and don’t spend too much time together, unless you’re pursuing a romantic relationship. Otherwise one person tends to develop unreciprocated feelings for the other person, and a lot of heartache can ensue.