Matthew Page

April 1999

I finally came up with something to write about last night, friendships between gay boys. This seems like and odd proposal to me. Let's think about this, two boys that like boys, who like each other. It just doesn't seem possible to me that there could be a friendship without at least some degree of attraction to the friend.

I have experienced this a couple of times. Becoming friends with another gay boy only to discover that either him or I wanted more. I have talked to some of my "friends" and a big group of them have said that they have messed around with their friends. So this leads me to believe that it is impossible to have just a plain ol' friendship and be gay.

Before you get on my case, I am not saying I like what I am thinking. I am not saying that I am not going to try and have just a friendship. All I am saying is that it seems unlikely to happen. I don't think that this is some gay phenomenon either. Look at relationships between a nongay boy and girl. How often do real working friendships get formed? At least in my experience they are rare. I mean, sure there are casual "friends," the kind you go shopping or something with, but not many true friends of the variety that will support you through thick and thin.

Even as I type I am realizing that this "queer issue" that I thought I had found is not a "queer issue" at all. This is all about being human. I wish all the homophobic people on my campus could see that we have the same problems as them.

So back to the friend thing. How do you deal with it? Is it possible to set your romantic feelings for someone aside for a deep interpersonal relationship with another human? Should you set those feelings aside?

Here is where I have a problem. At least for me I am looking for another guy that I can spend my life with. Really there are only a few things that I look for, a strong friendship being one of them. See my dilemma? I have had people tell me that I should disregard my friends; that it would only end up in disaster. How can I? I am looking for someone to be my best friend for life, so wouldn't it make sense to start with my current group of friends?

On the other hand, I can see what people are saying. If you fool around with your current friends, someone's heart might get broken, and then you lose a friend and a romantic relationship. I think this is a valid concern, after all friends don't grow on trees. Whenever two people share the most intimate details of themselves they are taking a great risk of emotional damage. It is this possible damage that leads me back to friends. It makes sense to start there, if you didn't already sort of trust them or they wouldn't be friends, right?

Here is another interesting problem, how do you separate friends and "romantic interests"? It seems that the boundaries get especially fuzzy when you start playing with your friends. To give you an example, two of my friends have been staying with me for a couple of weeks. We watch movies, play games, cuddle, give backrubs, and all sleep in the same bed. I have woken up a couple times spooning one of my friends. What message is that sending? What message is being received? Is there even a message? Or is it possible for two gay boys to be friends and partake in some physical pleasures with each other and not have a deeper meaning?

As you can tell I am really confused by all this and I don't have a clue what I am talking about. It seems to me this though:

If you are looking for a serious long-term relationship, starting with your current friend base might be a good idea. After all if you already hang out you know their likes and dislikes and you would be able to better gauge whether or not it would work out.

If you are looking for a fling, or just want to mess around with your friends, I would be careful. I am not saying that if you do the friendship will be destroyed. I just think that it might add extra strain a fragile relationship. (As a disclaimer I do know people that have fooled around with their friends and they are still the best of friends. The key is that they were close and both knew that they were just "excited" gay boys.)

I think that is worth saying again. If anyone wants my advice (I'm sure you don't but here it is) if you are going to fool around with your friends, make sure that everyone knows that there is no meaning behind it. Don't just say the words, really make sure all parties understand. If there is even a shadow of doubt that you or your friends are interested in more than just playing around then don't do it. I have made this mistake. I found myself growing fond of one of my friends. The more we flirted and cuddled the more I thought I had a chance. Now we are in separate rooms not speaking, I am typing this and he is playing video games. So take it from me...be careful what message you are sending or receiving.

PS: On an unrelated note. Sorry that I didn't write last month. I was swamped with personal probs!! I'm sure everyone knows how that number goes.

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