We take the words [“boyfriend” and “girlfriend”] for granted now, but think of what they imply, and what a new idea it was: that romantic partners share more than erotic passion, that companionship and equality are part of the relationship. A boyfriend is a friend, as well as a lover.
But, as a result of this (beneficial) conflation:
We have trouble, in our culture, with any love that isn’t based on sex or blood. We understand romantic relationships, and we understand family, and that’s about all we seem to understand.
We have trouble with mentorship, the asymmetric love of master and apprentice, professor and student, guide and guided; we have trouble with comradeship, the bond that comes from shared, intense work; and we have trouble with friendship, at least of the intimate kind. When we imagine those relationships, we seem to have to sexualize them.
Close friendships between members of the same sex, after all, are also suspect. Even Oprah has had to defend her relationship with Gayle King, and as for men and men, forget about it.
I cannot think of another area of our lives in which there is so great a gap between what we do and what our culture says we do.
“Friendship between the sexes may no longer be a political issue, but it is an issue of liberation: the freedom to love whom you want, in the way that you want. Maybe it’s time that we all took it out of the closet.” Yes please!
Really enjoyed this article! :)