Monday, December 15, 2003

Celebration of friendship

Hello Kari:

Thought I'd take a crack at a "fluff" post. With our female-male duo blog approach, we have mentioned in passing those gender differences in your post entitled, "Well, at least I didn't Scream" (October 16, 2003) and in my post entitled, "Matrix or LOTR? Eowyn or Arwen?" (November 16, 2003).

While web surfing I came across this article by Camerin Courtney. She tackled that age old question of can men and women be friends? In her characteristic honest and humorous style, she shared stories and said, yes, under the right circumstances.

I've decided to go ahead and tackle the topic from the guy's side and I would say her categories more or less have analogs in the Martian perspective.

Men and women can be friends when the guy sees his woman friend as "The Kid Sister." She may or may not be actually younger but most of the time she is. This type of friendship usually involves a good amount of good natured kidding around and giving of grief. After all that is what big brothers tend to do to their kid sisters. But when she needs help or is hurt, she has the guy's undivided attention. There are women friends in my life who I periodically call or email just to check in on them and see how they are progressing on whatever it was they were last working on or concerned about. Often it will be accompanied by some teasing remarks going in both directions. But indeed, if something is amiss, I'll more or less drop everything and make some time to listen to her issues. This type of friendship draws upon the part of male nature that seeks to protect those he cares about.

Men and women can be friends when the guy sees his woman friend as "The Off the Wall Woman From Far Left Field." One of the wonders and joys of friendships is that you can enjoy friends who can complete your sentences and you can also enjoy friends who leave you shaking your head in bewilderment. In DC, I got to know a woman who worked as a clerk to an administrative law judge. Being an attorney she had an opinion (I disagreed probably more often than not) about almost everything and let me know it. She also had an off beat irreverent sense of humor. She was both puzzling and delightful. As two workaholics in DC, we managed to find a little time here and there to enjoy each other's company. Now, I live in Los Angeles and I've been blessed with some women friends who have acting aspirations or musical talents. As you might guess as a molecular biologist, I'm not cut from the same cloth. Yet, they are a joy to have around and they bring a perspective to life I would otherwise never get. This type of friendship draws upon the part of male nature that enjoys an adventure.

Men and women can be friends when the guy sees his woman friend as "The Gal Pal." As I just mentioned there are some friends who can complete your sentences. You simply share a lot in common and the two are equals in most ways. It is this kind of woman friend a guy can go to for help or confide in and because of shared history he knows she won't think less of him. Likewise, the woman can count on the male friend to do the same for her. In this type of friendship, the friends do things of mutual interest; yet, she is still a women and will bring a different take to the enjoyment of that shared activity. This type of friendship draws upon the part of male nature that desires to grow and give as a human being. He knows some aspect of personal growth comes from hanging out with the guys and some by being with women he respects.

God has indeed made men and women different and thus uniquely able to delight and help each other in life. Of course, in life, people don't fall into these neat categories I've described. There will be elements of all three in most friendships, but I think one aspect tends to be more prevalent.

What do you think?

Thus, from the left coast, male and molecular biology trained side of this blog, let me lift up my glass to toast the wonders, confusions, and joys of female friends, including one blogger from the mid-western, female and social science trained side of the world.

Be well,

UPDATE: Saw this interesting article mentioned on Hewitt's site about the decline of manliness in American society.


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