Let’s Be Friends: Online dating leads to . . . platonic relationships???

There’s a well known scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally where Billy Crystal’s character famously declares that men and women cannot be friends.

It appears that a number of folks have never seen that movie, and instead went out and created online “dating” websites that have the goal of friendship between men and women, no dirty bits involved.  From an article in Daily Mail Online titled No Sex Please–the new trend in online dating that specialises in platonic connections

In fact, in recent years a growing number of dating sites have sprung up aimed at bringing together both men and women looking for an affectionate, cerebral connection with a member of the opposite gender — without a sexual element.

Readers of this blog know that I have long been suspicious of these sort of “trend” articles one sees reported in newspapers (Remember when straight women going to strip clubs was a “trend” according to the Washington Post?)  This “trend” story is no different.  The “growing number” of dating sites the article cites two, yes, two websites that appear to be devoted to you-can-looky-but-no-touchy relationships, platonicpartners.co.uk and nosexdating.co.uk.  As a red blooded American, I’m happy to see that neither of those websites is located in the good ol’ US of A, where we still have sex with one another.  Anyway, my point is, I don’t think two websites constitute a trend, especially when one of the websites (nosexdating.co.uk) was originally developed to find partners for disabled folks incapable of having sex.

As I was reading the article and scratching my head wondering why anyone would actively seek out a platonic relationship with someone they could, you know, be having sex with instead, I was reminded of a couple of conversations I’d had with women about sex.  The first was during a bridal shower where in the middle of a boozy, giggly discussion of men and sex, the bride-to-be made this alarming (to me, and no doubt the groom-to-be, if he had been there to hear it) statement:

“If I never had sex again, I wouldn’t care.”

The second conversation happened way back when Star Jones (remember her?) was considered a celebrity and she was divorcing her husband, who was rumored to be gay.  At the time, I was working with an older female attorney, herself divorced, and this is what she had to say:

“Why not stay married to a gay man?  Sexual attraction fades.  In the end, all you are is companions anyway.  Does it even matter if he’s gay or not?”

Take another shot of courage

Helping nervous nerds get laid since antiquity

So I guess these dating sites would appeal to my two friends, and there are probably lots more women (and men) who would prefer relationships sans sexytimes and just won’t admit it.  I’m just not going to characterize these folks as “robustly heterosexual” (as the article in the Daily Mail bizarrely describes them).  I’d call them “obviously asexual” or even “nervously heterosexual” as the man, Michael, profiled in the article admits.  He doesn’t say he doesn’t want sex; rather, he confesses to being “awkward around women” which is quite a way from saying he’s only interested in platonic relationships.  It sounds more like he’s just a drink or two (or three) away from getting freaky.

Maybe I’m as deluded as Meg Ryan in that scene from When Harry Met Sally but I like to think that I

Most nights, the only reason why I make dinner for my husband is in hopes of getting sex.

If I make dinner for you, I’m going to expect sex afterward.

have been friends with men in my life, and those friendships were similar to the relationships I had with my female friends, only there was less talk about my period and we never braided each other’s hair.  I don’t think I would be satisfied with just taking long walks in the country with a guy, or fixing dinner with him, or cuddling (!) without it leading to something more, as one of the women in the article claims she desires.  Isn’t the whole point of being intimate with someone is that there’s always that potential for, you know, intimacy?

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Be Friends: Online dating leads to . . . platonic relationships???

  1. Dylan Hearn says:

    Of course men and women can have platonic relationships. I have many female friends that I have never thought of in a physical way. Not at all. Never. Not once. Honest.
    Oh, and you should always treat stories you read at the Daily Mail Online with caution. This is the website that decries the sexualisation of children whilst at the same time publishing photos of 15 year old semi-famous children stating how they look “all grown up.” All very sordid.

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    • Clever Girl says:

      Personally, I love sordid. Without sordid, we’d all have these awful platonic relationships and end up becoming men and women of the cloth! Oh, and then we’d become pedophiles and start a magazine called The Daily Mail.

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    • Karen says:

      Ok, I’m going to sound like a sex crazed pervert, but I’ve thought about having sex with practically every man I’ve ever encountered who wasn’t a first degree relative. I once worked with this enormous man, he must have weighed 400 lbs. Anyway, one day he came in and announced he was engaged to be married, and, for weeks after that, I could not stop thinking about what it would be like being married and having sex with him.

      So, yeah, even when I just stop you on the street and say hi, I’m thinking about what you’re like in bed.

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      • Clever Girl says:

        Wow, I admire your drive!

        But that’s exactly what men do (I think), so why label yourself as sounding like crazed pervert? Maybe it’s natural for a lot of women to do that.

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  2. Clever Girl says:

    Well, after a brief hiatus, you’ve managed to come back with a good one Karen.

    I vacillate between wanting a man to do dirty things to me (and me, to him) and not wanting the dirty bastard to touch me. Depends on the day.

    I love the idea of a gay husband though, but only part time. In fact, the idea of a straight husband part time is appealing too.

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    • Karen says:

      This post inspired a long conversation with a friend about what friendship means and what men and women get out of platonic relationships with one another. I don’t know. I think I’ve been friends with men, but I don’t think those relationships ever reached the level of intimacy I’ve had with female friends, unless the friendship turned romantic.

      I don’t know about a gay husband. I think the fact that my friend thought the idea of having a gay husband was just dandy might explain the reason why she was divorced.

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      • Clever Girl says:

        Interesting. Yeah, I’ve had many male friends and I enjoy men and their company, but I have to agree that none of those friendships reached the same intimacy I’ve had with women also. Because if they had, it probably would have turned romantic, just like Billy Crystal says! I can only speculate though because I never had a male friendship turn into a romantic one.
        If I was interested in him sexually, I didn’t want to be his friend, what’s the point?!

        The exception is the gay man. I’ve had many gay male friends and they offer something that straight men can’t, which is that intimacy and sensitivity. Plus, they have great taste in home decor.

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