“Divorce Song” is the crown jewel of Exile in Guyville. Forget the oft-mentioned “Fuck and Run” (I’ll get to this song in my next entry). Sure, that’s the sexy song…a manifesto for post-feminist sexuality. It’s got a shocking title that is sure to lure in the crowd. But this track is filled with brilliant lines…the sort that make one nod one’s head while muttering “she is so right.”
“It’s harder to be friends than lovers
and you shouldn’t try to mix the two
because if you do it and you’re still unhappy
then you know that the problem is you.”
I have slept with two guys who were also my close friends. It is important to distinguish here between “actual true friends who are coincidentally male” (these fellows definitely fell into this category), and “guys I’m befriending in as a part of a not-to-complicated plan to eventually bed them.” And I can assure you, I have slept with quite a list of individuals from the second list.
On the surface, sleeping with you best guy friend seems like a win-win situation. They obviously respect you as a person. Awesome! They share similar interests, there might be common friends, and you probably appreciate one another’s sense of humor.
And even better, you already know a lot of the things that are bad about them. You know, their obsessive handwashing or fear of commitment or tendency to drink too much. If you still want to swap DNA with someone after knowing all of this, then it’s a sign that you belong together. Right? I mean, you can’t lose!
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Let’s face it…we’re all far more honest and straight-forward with our friends than we are with our lovers. When an individual shifts categories, interacting with them becomes confusing. My friends are there to ease my qualms about sharing my honest feelings with romantic interests. They are there to listen to me bitch about my boyfriend, menstrual nightmares, and office crushes. I can’t talk about things like that with an actual potential boyfriend.
Here’s a complicated example from real life: Back in ye olde Portland, I decided to randomly seduce my best guy friend. That might be an overstatement, because I never consciously planned to do it. It all started with a random “spooning incident” a few nights before. I drunkenly passed out in his bed and when I woke up, I discovered that we were snuggling one another. This was not a bad thing. For one, this was an individual I trusted implicitly. I knew he wasn’t trying to feel me up. And furthermore, after keeping everyone at emotional arm’s length for years on end (this was during the extended recovery period following Ryan’s death), it felt nice to be in a situation that seemed genuinely intimate. (Lest the reader is concerned that I was in the midst of years of celibacy, don’t worry. I found at this time that I was very good at sleeping with someone many, many times without feeling even the most remote twinge of sentimentality).
A few nights later, I found myself in his bed again, laughing about something. And then, quite surprisingly, I started kissing him. Within 30 seconds, we were moving into second base. Just as abruptly as it began, he stopped it. He thought it was weird. I guess I concurred, but I hate to admit when I am wrong. So instead I asked, “Remorseful or regretful? Which will be the best way to describe how you will be feeling about this tomorrow? You know, when you realize that you turned down a really amazing opportunity?” I admit it: I am a bully sometimes.
Maybe I am occasionally a master of manipulation, because he started to kiss me again. We were back in business! I went to work the next day with only 15 minutes of sleep. Literally! I am proud of this even today. Initially, I was too tired to consider the repercussions of bedding down my BFF. Around 3 in the afternoon, a feeling of anxiety began to creep over me. What had I done? Before I could really think about it, I received a phone call. “So are you my girlfriend now,” he said in the most hilarious voice. And I knew that everything would be okay.
This fellow had keys to my house (we really were best friends), so a routine began wherein he came over every other night. He wasn’t allowed to sleep over, because I didn’t want to confuse Dylan. In fact, there was one morning when she wandered in to my room, and found him asleep. Obviously a brilliant problemsolver, he acted as if he had come over to say “Hi” to her. Oh, heck…one more reason to love him!
So why didn’t this guy become my boyfriend? Well, for one, it’s easy to be good friends with someone who doesn’t share the same overall lifestyle/goals as you. I have a lot of friends that barely know one another; the only thing they have in common is me. As long as someone is honest and smart, I will be a devoted friend forever. But boyfriends? Forget it..we have to share at least a few beliefs, goals, interests. And as much as I completely loved this individual, I knew that it would never work. Maybe in a few years, after he grew up a little bit and I began to deal with all of my issues, but not at that moment.
And another thing…when I sleep with someone who already knows everything about me except for how I look naked, it’s all sort of anti-climactic. There will be no exciting, let’s-get-to-know-one-another while falling in l-o-v-e feeling…because we already know everything good about one another. I definitely admired this quasi-boyfriend, and I can honestly still label him as “One of My Favorite People in the World.” But I worried at that time that the only things left to discover about him were were going to be disappointing. This may not have been true and just a part of my finely honed inability to keep others at an emotional distance.
The worst thing about sleeping with one’s friends: you can never go back to being “just friends” ever again. There will always be something more lingering between the two of you, the elephant sitting in the corner of every room. I will admit: I fell in love with guy, despite all of my concerns. But I could never tell him this. I hate admitting defeat. And furthermore, I cannot be fully open with someone unless I know this no possiblity of rejection. I just didn’t feel that here. After we cut off the physical relationship (and it lasted a long time…the majority of a year), I couldn’t see him without feeling a sense of longing/rejection. Years passed before we could truly be friends again. And even still, I can’t trust myself to not try to undress him if we are in a room alone together. This scenario has not arisen, but you just never know…
“But you’ve never been a waste of my time
It’s never been a drag”
Sleeping with my best friend and then breaking my own heart? Still not a waste of time.
And the same goes for every other romantic relationship that has gone awry in my life…I found myself feeling sentimental a few nights while listening to this song and thinking of my most recent ex-boyfriend. You know, the one I may or may not still be in love with? During months of agonizing cohabitation (not his fault–more the result of trying to coexist in one tiny room while having opposite schedules), there were a lot of moments that could be best described as “a drag.” Picking up his clothes, dirty dishes, and candy wrappers falls into this category. Sometimes I just wanted to be alone, and my inability to do this was enough to make me pissy. But still, despite a multitude of frustrating moments, we also had the most fun ever! He could (and still can) make me laugh until I almost peeing myself. I can think of only a small handful of individuals who can do this to me, and almost all of them (except for JT) live in other cities. We had a lot of adventures. I didn’t need sleeping pills when I could instantly be lulled to sleep by reclining with my head on his chest. And obviously the physical aspect of our relationship was excellent (no need to divulge details here). The point is this: I can barely remember any of the annoying aspects of our time together, because they are eclipsed by all of the good/awesome/amazing times we shared. And even afterwards, when I was semi-relieved, mostly heartbroken, and without a doubt missing him, I still never felt as if I wasted my time.