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Sex and Luther College: "Why sex always gets in the way"

Sex and Luther College: "Why sex always gets in the way" Date 2/26/2004 12:00 AM | Topic: OpinionHarry and Sally have just met and are driving to New York City.

"You realize of course that we can never be friends. Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." "That's not true," Sally insists, "I have lots of male friends." Harry corrects her.

"They all want to have sex with you ... The sex thing is already out there and the friendship is already ruined.

" I don't usually find vestiges of truth hidden in Meg Ryan movies. I don't know anyone who does. But, as I was watching When Harry Met Sally over Valentine's Day weekend with fellow singletons, I thought about Harry's assertion. Can women and men actually be friends? Or does the sex part always get in the way?Unlike some questions that occupy my mind, like "Should we have gone to war with Iraq?" or "What am I going to do after graduation?" or "Why doesn't someone just burn Main down?" I came to a conclusion about this one.

It's true. Men and women can never really be friends. The sex part always gets in the way. And before you protest with your own examples ("Annie and I have been friends since we were both in diapers.

I would never think about her that way."), let me explain why. I am asking you to delve into the murky abyss of your subconscious and really think about motivation. Motivations are often so subtle, I'm sure we rarely recognize them.

Immanuel Kant claimed that humans are creatures of reason. At the risk of again sounding Freudian, I'd say that humans are creatures of reproduction. Place 2,600 barely-twenty-somethings in a few acres of old corn field and the sex is there-always. I would also argue that one reason male/female friendships are so exciting is the potential sex lingering in the atmosphere of the relationship.

The effects of this charge on an unsuspecting twosome are explosive. Inter-sex friendships, like all friendships and something else I know, come in all shapes and sizes. There's the more casual "hey how are you" types. You and John talk while being shoved by the first-year frantically seeking keg beer.

You sit by each other in marketing and study for tests together. Let's be honest about this. Odds are, if both are single, either 1) you want him, 2) he wants you, or 3) he wants your roommate. Then there are the more intimate inter-sex friendships.

This is where I always get myself into trouble. Things begin casually, but a connection is made. You both love Ben Folds, Kafka and California burger night. She makes you laugh like no one else can.

That is how she captures your heart. As a host of tragic plot structures have shown us, from such a harmony of personality, it can only follow that Miss Piggy falls desperately for Kermit. The decision to date when such a deep friendship hangs in the balance is tricky; if things don't work out, the ruins are bitter and what's left is the shaky and elusive "ex-friendship." But quite frankly, if two people have an intense connection and don't end up together, in my opinion it means only one thing-one of you is simply not physically attracted to the other.

Even firm believers in the ability of men and women to maintain platonic relationships have one more battle to fight-the new partner. All friendships inevitably change. The inter-gender friendship struggles with an inevitability that the intra-gender friendship does not. Given that humans also try to be monogamous, in the end, a person can really only have one "best friend" of the opposite sex.

You were tight before, but now that he is dating that blonde he adored forever you never see him. The sex part has gotten in the way, maybe it's not sex between the two of you, but it is there, in the form of a bright orange roadblock with breasts. And so, when Billy and I had been flirting nonstop for months over the medium of instant messenger, I should have known. Well, I did know, and I warned him.

"Billy, I always end up dating my guy friends," I typed in mauve font. "So watch out!" Winky-smiley face. "Lol" was his response. "I just don't want this to affect our friendship," he said later-right before he kissed me.

Oops, I did it again. --"Jasmine Jennings"


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