Can men and women be friends? More than that, can men who are attracted to their female counterparts be ‘friends’ with said female? The term ‘friend’ becomes the crux of the issue as women will agree to the question, obviously with a different conception of friendship than their male ‘friend’. The men will respond with a firm no, or tiptoe around the issue so as not to seem insensitive to the idea of biological attraction getting in the way of a social relationship. Honestly, my own opinions have me believing that the issue of friendship should be further discussed as it pertains to two females, two males, between homosexual and between heterosexual relationships. If you were to compare the dominant discourse pairing of a man and woman, both heterosexual, I would say that a male would perceive the intimacy of friendship as an attractive quality (with physical attraction magnifying the potential for lust) and supersede the qualitative consignment of the word ‘friendship’. Women, on the other hand, are able to perceive the relationship between their heterosexual male counterpart as a mutually beneficial relationship without any heightened arousal or attraction. Perhaps it’s a biological component of man’s coding to suggest a higher likelihood of passing on traits if he becomes sexually aroused by a woman who has shown characteristics of intimacy. In this case, friendship provides a level of intimacy in the way of proximity (friends often spend time together, sometimes between just the two of them). Friendship also provides an increased exposure to one individual over another which means the potential for protection after the investment of passing on genes (if the male is able to pass his seed to the female, friendship provides more time spent with the female to defend against other males looking to also pass his genes). From another perspective, females perceive a healthy female friendship in a man’s life an attractive quality. This is confirmed by several interviews or casual exchanges I’ve had with girls who say that they look for a guy with close female friends. Thus, friendship has the quality of helping in mate selection.
Weigh in on the subject if you’ve got something to add.