Monday, April 19, 2010

THE RULES OF MALE BONDING

I've done it before, and as God is my witness, I'll do it again: I'm going to blame it on the alcohol!

Last Wednesday night (or should I say early Thursday morning?), after too many shared bottles of wine with my friends Michael and Rob, I did something completely against my normal nature: I hit on the ex of one of my best friends.

I wish I could excuse my actions by saying that there had always been something between us, or that there was a moment of overwhelming spiritual connection. But I can't. Maybe it was a combination of the wine and the Spanish (the ex doesn't speak a word of English), such a romantic language. Maybe I was bored. Maybe I was just horny.

Thankfully, one of us was in his right mind and nothing happened beside a little flirting, some suggestive looks, and a caress or a few. I'd never before put myself in that particular position, having strictly followed the three cardinal rules of male friendship: 1) Hands off his man! 2) Step back from his ex! 3) Stay away from his sister -- or brother!

So far, so good. But my near-transgression forced me to reconsider something a good friend of mine revealed several weeks ago. He told me about this habit he has of sleeping with his friends' boyfriends. At the time, I was only mildly disturbed by his revelation, and more because of the mix of pride and shame with which he told me about it than the revelation itself.

But after what had almost gone down between my other friend's ex and me, I was forced to give it a closer look. I wasn't crazy about what I saw. Would my friend, the one who couldn't keep his hands to himself, ever try to pull the same stunt on one of my boyfriends? I'd like to say, no. I'm sure he'd say, no. But how could I be sure?

If I were to introduce him to someone I was dating, would my insecurity get the best of me? Would I spend the entire time looking for stolen glances or lingering looks between them? Would I avoid going to the bathroom lest I leave them alone to their own devices? Like most people, I'm already riddled with insecurity, and my knees buckle at the very thought of being a participant in such a ridiculous scenario.

Would I simply have to go through the rest of my life not introducing him to any of my significant others, or -- worse! -- steering clear of significant others completely? Because, at the end of the day, it's not just this particular friend whom I have to handle with care. What about the boyfriends? And my other friends? And all the other guys I don't even know?

They say that no relationship can survive without trust, but I still haven't figured out how to build one with trust. Trust no one, I've always told myself, because anyone, given the right confluence of circumstances, would betray you. Yes, extreme, but I'm not entirely sure that it isn't completely true.

For now, for my own peace of mind, I've got to put my friend and all of his friends' boyfriends out of my mind. I've got to stop thinking about him and the boyfriend that I don't even have. I've got to forget about the other night and what didn't happen.

And most importantly, I've got to lay off the white wine.
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