There is a man in my life who does not love me.
Romantically, I mean. He does love me, however, like Samwise loves Frodo or John Watson loves Sherlock Holmes. Or, if you would like a real-life example: the love that exists between comedians Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. Our friendship is deep but platonic. It does not require the need for physical intimacy beyond a hug or the need to be anything beyond a good friend. It is a love that has no issue being “friend-zoned” because the friend zone is where it excels. It has been a love that has allowed me to flourish, to be unapologetic in my opinions and emotions; a love that has made it easy to be selfless in return.
It has taught me what any kind of love should look like.
You may think I am confused about my feelings. “Are you sure there’s nothing going on?” I have heard too many times to count. Or, that it is odd that such a love exists between a man and a woman. One that involves no need for romance. I believe it is a notion that needs to be changed and in reality, is changing.
Being best friends with a man allowed me to notice a shortcoming of the media. Specifically, when it comes to expressing the comradery that can occur between the members of the opposite sex. Love triangles, soul sisters, or bromances are numerous in books, TV shows, and film but very few examples of strong friendships that take place between men and women. It can give an unrealistic and redundant picture of what female-male relationships should look like.
For example, we often see this: Boy meets girl. They become inseparable and all the while have feelings for each other, unbeknownst to themselves and their loved ones. Until one day, whether it be on their wedding day or the day the other person starts dating a total catch, they finally realize their feelings for one another. They denounce their other lover for the one that’s been there all along. This is not to discount anyone’s actual romantic experience but to emphasize the fact that this should not be the only option for male-female interactions.
You see, we are more than our physical appearance or our sexual performance. And our ability to make the commitment to stay faithful, even in friendship, can be just as meaningful as it would be with a romantic partner. I can choose to say, “yes,” every day; to be loyal and assure my friends that their presence is a never-ending gift. I can make a tireless effort to express that there will never be a day in their lives where they will feel unloved by me, even when I (or they) mess up.
I can choose to cherish them in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part, no matter what gender they are. I may eventually find a man whom I love and will love me, romantically, but until then I will be satisfied with the man who does not.