by Julie Robinson
In some circles he would be referred to as my “work husband” except for one little detail about me not really having employment right now. If he was gay I would be his fag hag, but alas he doesn’t swing that way (for those of you who do, I would LOVE to get a chance to interview for that role). He calls me his “best friend,” which kinda rubs me the wrong way seeing that I never had one of those broken apart necklaces with anyone in middle school, and I doubt I could ever get him to wear his half.
Besides, when I introduce him to the men I’m dating and Troy goes around saying that I’m his best friend it takes my love interests back a bit. Men and women cannot just be friends. I’ve heard this sentiment before (ugh, who hasn’t?) and I’ve never really bought into it seeing that I’m a very good test taker and choosing options with the words “never” and “always” are not typically the right answer.
So, why is it that Troy and are I friends (and friends alone) when both of us are very single and seem so compatible?
The first answer is we know what works for us. In small doses Troy and I can hang out together and choose witty songs for karaoke while drinking way too much bad draft beer. We laugh, I urge him to take pictures of me while I’m making love to the microphone, and I cheer like there’s no tomorrow no matter how much he butchers a song. The key to this kind of night working well for us is if we have plenty to drink, we know absolutely no one else in the bar, and I hit my high notes (so I don’t get all pouty). I don’t have any other friends who will go with me to seedy bars to sing, and I treasure Troy for being my Mr. Microphone.
We also have fun together trolling for the opposite sex. I wouldn’t exactly call him my wing man (he’s much too awkward for that) but I do have a great time getting all dolled up for a “date” and then going out with Troy in tow. He keeps me company as I flirt my ass off and none of the men we meet are threatened by him because he is such a nice guy and soooo obviously not into me. In fact, he does better with the random ladies we meet than I do with the men. Go figure.
Another, less obvious answer to why we work is that we’re not afraid to talk about it when it’s not going all that well between us. This is extremely novel for me. I have friends who have known me for over thirty years who I have never had a confrontation with. I’m so opposed to conflict that I had a boyfriend for over a year and a half and we never fought. Not once. I practice my honesty on Troy. In many ways this isn’t very good practice, though, because Troy actually likes to hear it when he’s done something inappropriate. Calling him out on his antics isn’t all that difficult seeing that he’s already much harder on himself than I am. I forget I’m even angry--most of the time.
I think the reason it’s pretty universally accepted that men and women cannot be friends is because someone will start crushing on the other and that desire will not be reciprocated. That’s another beautiful thing about Troy and me. We’re both good enough looking to not repulse people, but neither of us are turning heads these days. I have a tendency to fall for really good looking, way-too-young-for-me men. Troy likes the equivalent in the female variety with the one caveat being that they must also be one of my good friends. Neither of us falls into those respective categories, so we’re safe. Besides, he tells me I’m way too much like his ex-wife.
I would genuinely love for Troy to meet a nice woman to date. She would need to be patient, kind, considerate, and not the least bit jealous about ME and MY Troy time. If she’s smart, she will enjoy him and accept him for who he is. I imagine them hiking, taking yoga classes together, and going to independent films (of course, they would go Dutch). I will adore her. Troy will adore her, she will adore Troy--and all will be well with the world.
She will NOT, however, be invited to Opening Day—that’s Julie and Troy time. She won’t even blink an eye because she understands that we’re just the best of friends.