Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Just a friend...

So, what is a "date"? Why are we as a culture so caught up in the words that we use?


I've been having this conversation with my teenage daughter about her "friend that's a boy" and the definitions of a "date" and a "boyfriend". She is very particular about how we refer to her friend, that he is "just a friend". Yet, they go to all the dances together, they eat lunch at school together, they walk the halls together, they study together, they do activities together... and yet, while they've been in school and around other friends, they pretend that they are NOT anything more than friends. But, everyone around them knows that they are a "couple" and that they are the last to know... (I know because I have an inside source that tells me these things :)).


So when is a friend a "boyfriend" and when is a lunch date a "date"? Does romance have to be involved? Is it that simple?


As I drive around and see guys playing tennis together or going to the pool together, or teeing off on the golf course together - is that a man-date? I don't have a tennis buddy or swimming buddy or golf buddy or any other kind of buddy in that sense - at least not yet...


I've read posts recently about guys in this community venturing out and going on a "date", maybe to lunch or dinner with some other guy that they like and want to get to know better. Is it a "date" if one is open to the friendship going further than just friendship? Or can a friendship be more than a friendship and still be friends?


Why are there so many rules of the language we use? Why can't we just be who we are?


I remember once that Will (my young man friend) referred to me in introducing me to his buddies as "just a friend". I later razzed him good about that one, teasing him that after all we shared together and experienced and expressed together, that I was "just a friend?" He blushed and stumbled to back-peddle and clarify that he didn't wan to describe me as his mentor, or older advisor, or church leader, all of which were true, but they didn't have the meaning he wanted to portray to his buddies, that this old fart (me) was first and foremost his "friend", even a "special friend" - and calling me "just a friend" to his buddies made it clear that we were more than mentor/ mentee. That was years ago. And I laugh because he still calls me "just a friend" which now has more hidden meaning...


So, a couple of months ago, I put out the invitation and told the cyberworld that I was looking for a MOHO friend. And he answered the call, and he's come into my life. And we've met together several times now. We've broken bread together. We've gone on a hike. We've done a lot of sharing. And it feels soooo good and wonderful. The wonderful part is in being able to talk and share and be who we are without fear, without judgment, without inhibitions. It is a wonderful thing that this is happening at this point in my life, in our lives. It is strange, but good... oh so good...


I wonder... Is this a "man-date" thing? Is this just like tennis-buddies or golf-buddies getting together, but instead we're just MOHO-buddies? Or is this a "date" thing?


Right now all I can say is... "he's just a friend..." :)

13 comments:

Ezra said...

Where on earth do you find these hot pictures???

Beck said...

:)

Beck said...

EZRA: We went for a hike into the foothills and had a passerby take our photo on this bench... what can I say? :)

El Genio said...

I had a friend at church who used to always mention the P's. You know, planned, payed for, etc. Except for his last P was "put out". I don't think all the P's are necessary unless we are trying to encourage the young men to formally date. But what was interesting, is that by his definition, I had never been on a date in my entire life until recently. Anyways, from what I can read of the situation, it just seems like a good, close friendship.

Bror said...

I guess all I have to say is that I could use a good "man date".

Ned said...

Beck: You're lucky to have such a friend. Most of my one-on-one time with men is spent exercising with straight friends. That meets many of my needs for acceptance as one of the guys, physical activity, stress relief, social contact and genuine friendship.

But warm hugs are pretty rare and conversation about the challenges and blessings of SGA have only been touched on a few times in the heat of the Prop 8 battle as part of a larger discussion of politics.

I love my straight friends. They just don't love me back in the same way. Hey, you squeeze a tomato and you're not going to get apple juice!

Anyway this is a long way of saying congratulations on the friendship you are forming.

Sarah said...

How can I find Scott a friendship like that? He starts developing a great friendship with another MOHO, and then they run out of things to talk about, or they disappear into thin air, or life for the friend changes (like they stop needing Scott as much) and they move on, and Scott discovers that the friendship, or what he hoped was a developing "bromance" has been whisked away from him once again.

And so he finds himself lonely, because as all of you know, a wife, even a wonderful, beautiful, supportive one, is still just not quite enough...

Any volunteers?

Beck said...

EL GENIO said: "it just seems like a good, close friendship..."

Yes it is and isn't that a good thing?

BROR: We all need a good man-date every now and then... maybe more now than then!

NED: I envy your friendships you've developed with straight guys centered around excersizing and sports and physical activities. This has always caused me great anxiety ever since junior high locker rooms! :( I want to get to the point where man-dates could be centered on such activities and I could actually enjoy said activities without freaking out about feeling so inadequate and inferior. You'd think someone my age would be able to get over such things...

But, to have a MOHO friend who can accept and reciprocate feelings and affection is exciting and fulfilling.

Someday I hope to have both kinds of man-dates.

Beck said...

SARAH: It is a lifelong search. I've had many guy friends, even many "close" guy friends throughout my life that I have cultivated and cherished... but nearly all of them have been with straight guys, and most have been with a mentoring aspect to them.

This one is the first time a fellow SSA / MOHO friendship has struck a chord and resonated. I don't know why. I hope it lasts. I hope it goes somewhere. I hope it satisfies my needs, and in the process, strengthening my marriage (yes, I still believe such a path is possible - even if said belief is naive and not based on a proven path).

I know that Scott knows more MOHOs personally than almost anyone, due to the amazing work / service the two of you have rendered for this community. I would think those acquaintences could blossom into meeting his needs of "bromancing" that so many of us have in common...

To even think I'm commenting to you about his "bromancing needs" is feeling pretty strange... but here's an echoing SHOUT OUT for all of this community to rally around Scott as a friend!!!! Not just as a nice guy that offers up his home once a month for a good hangout...

Austin said...

hearing the story about your teenage daughter made me laugh. Only because when I was in high school, there were a few girls that I did EVERYTHING with, including going to all the dances together. Their fathers were sure that we were a couple, or soon to be one. They had no idea that I could possible be gay. After all, good Mormon boys are NEVER gay. Our innocent gay boy/ fag hag relationship was often misinterpreted. Is it possible that you could be misreading your daughter's as well?

Silver said...

Beck,
Congratulations on your new found friendship. I know the need and the satisfacation that comes from a bonifide "mandate". I've got some experience in this area, maybe some experience that you do not want to follow.

Walk carefully my friend. You just might meet a manfriend who will spin your head around and rock your world. Be careful with boundaries.

See my new post today on my blog for my experience and how one "mandate" changed my life forever.

I support you and your friend in this new friendship. Just be careful where it goes. Stay within the lines.

Hugs, Silver

GeckoMan said...

Good for you, Beck. I hope you both find safe and meaningful ways to give love and support to each other and enjoy a little time together. I wish I had a fellow Moho to lunch date with, talk openly and maybe do some hiking together. I'm slightly jealous, but really happy for you.

P.S. Keep your wife in the loop, so she doesn't get jealous, either!

Beck said...

AUSTIN: Good point. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm jumping to the same conclusion that seems obvious but yet isn't. I'm sure many did the same about me.

SILVER: So good to see you commenting and popping up on my blog again. I've missed your sage advice and warning voice. You have been in my thoughts and prayers more than you know. I do not envy the situation you are in, but I'm glad you're willing to share with others - such as your most recent post. I've found it chilling and scary to say the least.

I see much of myself in you and what you said you tried to do - and keeping the boundaries, and doing it (the increased affection and attention) for the therapy and healing - and then letting it get away from you, become addictive and finally distructive.

I know you shake your head at me when I say that I can "keep the boundaries" and that I "have it all in control" and I can hear your counsel and advice to be careful. I guess I'm not naive enough to believe that I am beyond that kind of thing - that I would never allow my boundaries to be crossed. I'm sure, in the right circumstance and situation, I could let my guard down and want more to happen than it should... playing with fire is a dangerous game and yes, you usually do get burned. So, why is the fire so damn attractive?

This is quite the road trip you've been on (and are on) and I'm sure you don't want me to go down the same road, but I honor you for your convictions and for your efforts to do what you need to to put things in order, and I seek your warning voice to continue echoing in my ears.

GECKO: Thanks for seeing what I'm doing as a "safe and meaningful way to give love and support to each other and enjoy a little time together". I have full confidence that it can do just that!