Is It Okay For Your Partner To Have Friends Of The Opposite Sex?
“How many female friends do you have?” I asked my husband.
“What do you mean?” he said. “Is this some kind of test?”
“No, but you can have a pen and paper if you like … or a calculator …”
He thought for a moment, then said, “I have one female friend. You.”
I knew this would be his answer. And I’m pretty sure, if I randomly called 100 married men, or even 1000 married men, they’d all say the same thing. Because husbands are only allowed to have a handful of mates (the male kind) and one wife, and NO OTHER LADIES THANK YOU EXCEPT YOUR MOTHER AND OKAY YOUR SISTER IF YOU HAVE ONE. That’s the unsaid (or very loudly said) rule.
According to society, if a married man is friends with a woman, he must LOVE HER and WANT TO HAVE HER BABIES or at least THINK ABOUT BEING TRAPPED IN A LIFT WITH HER and other “romantic” situations.
This may be true in some cases. But mostly, a female friend can be an excellent thing for a man.
Here are the pros:
1. Man gets to discuss emotional and sensitive issues with someone he’s not married to.
This means he can talk about his wife if he needs to. Or about his in-laws. He could even have a little cry, and that would be all right. Female Friend will listen and try not to judge (i.e. will just judge internally, and then later when out with the girls). Female Friend won’t pat Man’s arm, but her facial expression will imply patting gesture. Man will feel better and go home to his wife, who will say, “Goodness, you’re relaxed tonight, darling -- did you have a Xanax for afternoon tea?”
2. Man can get advice about what to buy his wife for her birthday, or Christmas, or their wedding anniversary.
He’s not an idiot -- he knows she likes that gooey stuff she rubs on her eye skin -- but he isn’t quite sure where to get it. Female Friend will say, “No, never get a lady anti-aging cream! That’s like buying someone a membership to Jenny Craig.” Man will say, “What about some special undies?” and Female Friend will say, “That’s a present for you, though, isn’t it?” And then Man will say, “Massage voucher?” and Female Friend will grin and nod, hoping that her own husband is having an identical conversation somewhere else.
3. Man can have a bit of a flirt.
This sounds terrible, like CHEATING, but it’s completely not. Picture this:
Man: Hey. *wiggles eyebrows up and down*
Female Friend: Mwah, mwah.
Man: What was that?
Female Friend: The sound of a double air kiss.
Man: Am I that repulsive? Does the idea of our cheeks brushing together disgust you?
Female Friend: Yes. *wiggles eyebrows up and down*
This kind of slightly strange but definitely above-board flirting will fill Man with confidence and desire, and he will then go home and do some below-board flirting with his wife.
4. Man can develop a deeper understanding of the female psyche.
Maybe. I can’t guarantee this.
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See? So many reasons why men having female friends is a great idea.
I mean, just look at Elaine from Seinfeld. That was a perfect situation. She didn’t fancy any of those men, they didn’t fancy her (except probably just a bit, superficially). And then there’s … Okay, I can’t think of any other successful female/male friendship examples. But SHUT UP, everything I’ve said so far is almost certainly backed up by some scientific study funded by a massage voucher company.
So now all I have to do is get my husband some lady chums. He won’t be able to do this himself because he works in a man-dominated industry. He only gets to see women who aren’t me if he goes to Aldi on the weekend. (And, look, Bev is great and everything, but how deep can conversations at the checkout really get?)
I’d lend him my friends, but NO. They’re mine.
Maybe I’ll enter him in next season’s Bachelorette, only it will have to be a new version -- Bachelorette: Friend Zone. That could work. Just as long as none of his single dates have a “TRAPPED IN A LIFT” theme.