When I look back on my life, some of the best, closest, easiest fun I ever had was with people I didn't have sex with. Sex tends to make things: messy, mushy, sticky, it makes things serious, it forces people to talk about their feelings, when often it's better to keep it all inside. A lot of value is place on verbal communication:
"I feel that you're not listening to me."
"I feel like you're always accusing me of not listening to you."
Look, it's hard, almost impossible, especially for the British person (of which I am one), to articulate his or her feelings. But think of all those times you showed your feelings for your friends non verbally, not by sincere and embarassing heart on sleeve chat: "I value you as a friend," or even, "I love you." Something about being told I love you from friends really makes my skin crawl. I guess beneath all the loud mouthed Austrianness, I am an emotionally repressed British person who does not particularly enjoy declarations of love, or hugs. I admire people who can wear their hearts on their sleeves, but it's just not me.
Where was I? Yes, you can indicate to someone that you love them a lot more easily by just showing them. Think of all the friends you've cooked for, you've rolled spliffs for (not me personally, I'm crap at it, I mean you), the friends you've bought gifts, dinners, drinks and fags for, you've written letters to, you've held their hair back while they puked into the toilet after a bender, all the friends who've slept in your bed while you slept on the couch, who you've made breakfast for, who you've made those tape compilations for (do you remember doing that? Drawing pictures on the tape insert and hand writing 'Mix tape for Jane, Summer 86' on it in swirly pen). I wonder how the kids do that now, it's probably something to do with iPods or God, will someone under thirty please enlighten me?
I don't know what it is about me. Okay, a lot of people on first meeting me call me obnoxious, too direct, insensitive, a blabbermouth and deeply negative, but of those that do go on to like me, they usually end up being kind of in love with me, in a platonic sense.
The worst time this ever happened was when I went to University, and because I really fancied his friend (who I ended up dating), I befriended a guy called Brian. Brian was kind of unnatractive, tall and skinny, with broken veins on a protruberent nose, but he was actually a good laugh, so eventually we really did become pals. That's not to say he didn't have problems. When he first arrived at college, he told a load of stories about all the women he'd shagged in his past, and finally, after he realized everyone knew he was a virgin, he pulled that old chestnut out of the bag: I have just discovered I'm gay and I'm going to explore my sexuality.
Except that, in the two years I knew him, no one seemed to want to explore their sexuality with him. One thing I will always regret is that he took some nude photos of me and a friend drinking sherry in the garden. I'm sure he still has them. All perfectly innocent, but as you will see, Brian turned out to be nuts. I just hope I never become famous and they come to light!
Anyway, nothing tipped me off that Brian was a raving lunatic until one night, when I got back to the house I was sharing with him and two others, and found that he'd tossed my belongings and clothes all over my room, as well as smashing my perfume bottles! Lovely!
My first impulse was to ignore the whole incident and go to bed, so I walked past him to the toilet, wearing knickers and a t-shirt (he was in the sitting room with some friends), at which point he said:
"Oh, you think you're so sexy, don't you, always walking around in your knickers."
"Sexy?" I replied. "I don't think so. I'm just wearing this t-shirt because I'm going to sleep in it. In any case, why should you care, even if I chose to walk around in the nude? Aren't you meant to be gay?"
He started taunting me some more, until I snapped, "What exactly have you been doing to my bedroom?"
To which he replied, "I hate you. I've always hated you."
"O-kay," I said, glaring at him. "So that's why you've been following me around like a lap dog for the last two years is it?"
"I've been reading your diary for a year now."
"Interesting, was it?"
"I know all about your sexual fantasies."
"Good for you."
I still really wanted to ignore his pathetic attempts at being a psycho, but now he had got to me, and I'm afraid I lost it. I grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt and threw him onto a table, before getting on top of him, and started to punch him in the head, until someone pulled me off.
Admittedly, that was a case of platonic friendship gone disastrously wrong, but was it really platonic, I don't think it was on his part. Would you read the diary of someone you hated? I know I wouldn't.
Apart from that, most friendships I've had have been generally more positive than those of a sexual nature.
And what about you? Do you have any tales of friendships that went really, really bad?
The Lounge. Blogging Break.
12 hours ago