Can Men and Women be friends? Online?

A couple weeks ago I read a post from a fellow blogger, Ann St. Vincent.  She’d written a post about a new guy she was seeing (Giant #3).  There were a couple things that were said in the post that tweaked my antennae.  A couple statements about the guy weren’t adding up and I had some theories as to why.

Fighting my better instincts, I decided to inject myself into the situation.

Ha!  As if I have better instincts!  That would have been a good joke for April fools, too late now though.

So, I sent an unsolicited email to Ann.  It pointed out the inconsistencies that I saw in the guy’s behavior and possible explanations.  Honestly, I figured she’d read it, think I was some weird creep, and delete it without replying.

To my surprise, within a couple hours I had a very nice response from Ann.  She already had some sense of what was going on with him and some of the things I pointed out in the message resonated with her.  Recently, she wrote another post about him, My Giant Says Thank You, and quoted some of my email.  Pretty cool.

After that first email we spent the rest of the day emailing back and forth, talking about relationships, dating, and blogging.  It turns out that Ann is a very smart, attentive, funny, articulate and interesting woman.  She read all of my older posts on Id’s Redbook, I read all of her posts on Ann St. Vincent, and we went back and forth discussing posts.  As a talented writer and interested reader she had a lot of good feedback on posts I’d written.  We both blog, she’s got a kid, I’ve got a kid, we’re both divorced, so there was a lot to talk about.

It was really nice and totally unexpected.  I had no idea when I sent that email that I would meet this cool woman.  I’d read some of her posts, but that doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of the writer.  If anything, she is way, way cooler than I would have guessed.

Now, we exchange emails and chat fairly regularly.  I have a fellow blogger friend, how cool is that?

This brings me to one of those earth shattering, age old, eternal questions: Can men and women be just friends?

A few years ago I saw this video:



Now, the video was shot on a college campus, so that might skew the responses somewhat.  Guys are at the height of their sexual peak, but in general, I think the responses are pretty accurate.  People tend to hang out with people that interest them and they find attractive… so, naturally there will be some sexual tension (though it might be one-directional depending on the pair).

Ever since seeing the video, it’s been bouncing around the back of my head for a possible post.  Ann lives several thousand miles away from me, not really much chance of us hooking up over the weekend.  So, this is the perfect opportunity to see whether it is possible to be “just friends”.  Is it possible?  Dun Dun Dun…

Ann and I seem to mesh pretty well online, we have a lot of things to talk about, lots of things in common.  But we aren’t in physical contact, we don’t see each other in person, so that should alleviate the physical aspects, right?  It’s the perfect chance to see how friendship works without the possibility of sex.  Maybe we can prove that men and women can be friends?  Or maybe not.

After a few messages we sent some photos to each other so we could “see” who we were “talking” to.  They were pretty tame, just get-to-know-you, LinkedIn profile-ish photos.  It turns out that in addition to being smart, attentive, funny, articulate and interesting, Ann is also a very attractive woman.  She’s a total package.  Dangerous.  But, again, she’s thousands of miles away.

So, I’ve been puzzling over the friendship question for a few days now.  I really enjoy this budding friendship with Ann, we have really good conversations, and I value the interaction… but I also think she’s hot.  What does that mean to our friendship?  Does that prove or disprove the video?

That leads to the next question: if Ann were unattractive would we still be friends?  I like to think so, the discussions are valuable enough that it wouldn’t bother me if Ann were unattractive…  However, after thinking about it for a while I realized that a fun friendship involves a lot of playful repartee, back and forth pseudo-flirting.  Which means that if Ann were unattractive our friendship would be totally different, it wouldn’t have the teasing, the innuendo.  It would be totally platonic… and that wouldn’t be any fun.

That leads me to the conclusion that friendly flirting is the biggest reason we have friends of the opposite sex.  If you take away any and all sexual attraction the friendship becomes something else… it’s like having a coworker, or acquaintance, or a sibling rather than a friend.  Now, it might be different for women (I can only write from a male perspective), but I think it’s probably true for them as well.

Whether that reinforces or disputes the video, I leave up to you.  Personally, I think it’s possible for men and women to be “just friends”, but it would be a pretty boring friendship.

Thankfully Ann’s hot, so hopefully we have plenty of playful flirting and innuendo to look forward to.  It’s nice to have friends.

Hi, Ann.  😉

And Ann is a hell of a blogger, if you haven’t already you should check out her blog.

5 thoughts on “Can Men and Women be friends? Online?

  1. Pingback: The lazy person’s guide to Matthew & our story | ann st vincent

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