Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Friends

Keep your eyes on the road, Sally!

Today's Blogust topic is friendship and what it means to us. But I've been thinking about romantic comedies lately and would like to take the question in another direction--do you think men and women can be friends?

One of the most popular romantic comedies of all time is When Harry Met Sally, where Harry posits that men and women can't be friends. Then he and Sally become friends (after several missteps), and then they sleep together, and worry that their friendship is ruined.

when harry met sally screen shot

I first saw When Harry Met Sally when I was about twelve. A few days later, my Sunday School teacher was giving me a ride somewhere--I forget where, or why--and we stopped at her friend's house on the way to pick something up. As we were driving away she felt the need to tell me about this guy and that he was her best friend.

"Men and women can't be friends," I quoted automatically, since I had just seen When Harry Met Sally.

"That is NOT true. That can't be true," she said, and went into a rant about how men and women could, in fact, be just friends. I thought her response was a bit overly vehement, considering it's just a stupid movie quote (and who hasn't seen that movie?) and what the heck would a twelve-year-old know about men and women anyway; but I let her go on. When she dropped me off, she drove away with a severe frowny face.

Three months later, they were getting married.

I tell this story not to illustrate the fact that men and women can't be friends--and I don't think that's the point of When Harry Met Sally, either--but because to my impressionable tween self it underscored the idea that one should be friends with the person they marry.

At the same time, though, it definitely doesn't disprove what Harry was saying, either. If a man and woman are friends, there's always the possibility, even if it's only perceived by society, that The Sex Issue might pop up. I always thought it was a bit unrealistic in Harry Potter that Hermione and Harry were friends and the thought of getting together never once crossed their hormonal teenage minds.

Another part of me thinks the whole "men and women can't be friends," thing has more to do with power than sex, an attitude that women are meant to be claimed rather than treated with respect or as equals (especially when it comes to the character of Harry from When Harry Met Sally).

So let me ask you: do you think men and women can be friends?

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.