Yes, There can be Opposite Sex Friendships, without quotation marks
This is my response to a recent The Celtic Chameleon post titled Opposite Sex “Friendships”, Lying to Ourselves, and Tricia’s Ghastly Boyfriend. Like all of her posts it is funny, clever, and perceptive, full of good arguments and good stories. You will probably enjoy reading her post more than mine. She argues men and women cannot be “just” platonic friends, and backs up her argument with references to this article from Psychology Today.
This argument is not new, although the scientific gloss is. It was the primary reason for keeping women out of the workplace for centuries. In the Biopic On the Basis of Sex, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is told in a job interview that, despite her impressive school record and credentials, she can’t be hired because “ the men’s wives would never stand for it”. She eventually has to get a job teaching Law because she can’t get a job practicing Law. The Psychology Today article tries to get around this by objecting only to close one-on-one male/female relationships. But the line between one-on-one and group relationships is very blurry. Often two people will get assigned to work on a project together for an extended period of time. You don’t want to deny women these assignments just because the other person on the project is a man. This is especially true for projects involving mentoring. Right now, most positions of power and knowledge are held by men. To delegitimatize one-on-one mentor relationships between men and women is to block women from ever achieving those positions.
I’ve played in musical duos with women, in which both of us had other romantic partners. We’ve be constantly together, often traveling and occasionally even sharing a room to save money. Did we sometimes feel attracted to each other? Absolutely. Did we act on that attraction? Absolutely not. Why? Because although I liked and was attracted to them, I liked my romantic partner more. That’s why any hanky-panky would eventually lead to the group’s breaking up, and both of us having to go back to day jobs. I’m sure that was the same reasoning used by Peaches and Herb, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelley and Judy Garland, and numerous other business couples who never became romantic couples.
How do we manage to be good? By using the same faculty that keeps us from eating that fifth piece of chocolate cake: The…