You know that dialogue in When Harry Met Sally about whether or not men and women can ever really be friends? Here it is, in case (unlike me) you don’t have the entire movie memorized…
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends. Sally: Why not? Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved. Harry: No you don’t. Sally: Yes I do. Harry: No you don’t. Sally: Yes I do. Harry: You only think you do. Sally: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge? Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all want to have sex with you. Sally: They do not. Harry: Do too. Sally: They do not. Harry: Do too. Sally: How do you know? Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her. Sally: So you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive? Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail ’em too. Sally: What if they don’t want to have sex with you? Harry: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story. Sally: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then. Harry: Guess not. Sally: That’s too bad. You were the only person that I knew in New York. .
God, I love that movie. But, back to my point…
I don’t believe this argument to be true. I think male/female relationships can exist without the least bit of sexual complication entering the picture. I really, truly do. Or, at least, based on the number of close female friends my husband has, I sure as hell hope so.
I do, however, wonder about another type of friendship: The mother and the non-mother.
It’s easy being friends with fellow moms. There are no hurt feelings when a phone call abruptly ends and you forget to re-dial for three days. There is no dry-heaving when you describe, in great detail, what your child just puked up and changing a diaper mid-conversation isn’t notable in the least. You aren’t offended by the chaos on the other end of the line, because it echos the chaos in your own household. It’s welcome, because for a change, it isn’t yours.
Non mommy friends, on the other hand, aren’t always so accepting. I find myself calling single girlfriends while in the car after school drop-off or hiding out in the bathroom, so we’re not interrupted with pleas for snacks or ass-wiping. I’ve been hung up on because I sounded “distracted” on the phone and wasn’t appearing to focus my full attention on the call. But, isn’t “distracted” a defining characteristic for a mother? Do we ever actually have the luxury of focusing 100% on a phone call?
Even if a non-mom doesn’t vocalize it, is she forever resentful not to be number one anymore? It’s not so easy to jet off for a visit anymore or meet for dinner and drinks when a sitter cancels at the last minute. As much as you love your friends, once you have kids, they take second fiddle. They just have to.
Of course a mother and a non-mother can be friends. Some of my dearest friends don’t have kids and I love them just as much as I did before. But, I wonder, if like Harry says about sex, the kid thing eventually gets in the way and messes things all up?
I’m not sure…
What about you?
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