Not an Odalisque

Will You Be My Male Friend?

with 7 comments

I think it was the all-girls schooling. Or maybe my father didn’t read me enough adventure stories at bedtime when I was child. Whatever the reason, I simply can’t make male friends. I think I may give up and become a lesbian separatist or a nun.

It usually goes like this: I’ll meet a man who knows something interesting, or tells amusing stories, or is simply there when I’m alone, clutching a wineglass and canapé hoping, desperately, for someone who doesn’t mind me hanging around. We’ll have a good enough time to make it worth exchanging contact details. We’ll meet again and at the end of one of these meetings, I’ll leave thinking, “It was all in my mind. Of course I can make male friends, it’s easy, look how comfortable we are together!” Little do I know that as I’m thinking this, he’s staring fixedly at my receding backside.

If there’s a feeling of disappointment when, on some future date, I check that I haven’t spilled something on my top and realise that there are only two things he could be staring at, there’s also a sense of hope. Any number of people might like me on spec, but to still find me attractive once you know about the unshaven legs and the Ke$ha albums seems unlikely, if not veritably perverse. So when sex or spanking is suggested* I tend to think, “well, at least he’s heard about the schoolgirl outfits, so he won’t run, screaming, freaked out by the kinkery.”

I have fun—what would be the point if I didn’t?—and feel a few smug moments of pity for others who have to put up with blokes there every night making the bed stinky in order to get what I can have for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, if it suits. Then, inevitably, one of two awful things happens: Either he declares his undying love, or he declares that I’ll never be worthy of such adulation. The former generally terminates the friendship. The latter just makes a big mess.

After all, it’s one thing to know that someone thinks you’re fun, worth talking to on the phone and going out of the way to visit. It’s entirely another to be told that you’re good enough to do that with, but not of the necessary material for anything more. That’s perfectly horrid! Suddenly I’m second best (or third best, or fourth, I hate to think! I’ve managed to prevent anyone communicating my official ranking to date). The good times together are sucked dry, it instantly becomes clear that while I was enjoying my friend’s company, he was killing time until someone better showed up. That isn’t a nice thought, even if it’s exactly what I was doing with him.

Fortunately, I seem to be perfecting the process with practice, and it’s definitely speeding up. A couple of years ago it took months for a male friend to work up to a declaration of love. I’ve had two communications of intention not to from men in one season, and neither of them took more than a week. This saves a lot of time and energy, but doesn’t exactly solve the problem.

I feel like I’m playing cowboys and Indians, complete with feather headdress and slightly-too-short Princess Tiger Lily dress, when suddenly everyone puts down their toy guns to tell me whether they’re really intending to go to war. While I’m still tied up. I’m usually enjoying our game, but it feels childish to bring that up while everyone is talking about grown up things.

Can you help? I need to discover the following things:

1. How does one distinguish men who fancy you politely from men who don’t fancy you at all? Is there some sort of handshake?

2. What are rules regulating intersexual friendship? Are there taboo topics for the chaste? (I ask this after realising I discussed my knickers which two men last week. I asked the second if it was inappropriate, but he assured me it was a perfectly acceptable topic).

3. How does one assure a man that he doesn’t need to assure you that he’s not getting overly attached, without inadvertently perpetuating the cycle of insult or slipping down the slope towards in infinite regress of reassurance?

Failing that, does anyone know of a nunnery with spaces for irreligious types?

*Or sex and spanking. According to vanilla custom, sex is suggested, and spanking may be tentatively put forward as a possibility after that proposal is accepted. In the kinky world, it’s the other way around, because we know that sex is the really weird, gross, thing.

Written by Not an Odalisque

January 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

7 Responses

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  1. 1) I don’t know either. Men are fairly good at hiding their intentions, or their intentions may change as they think they divine your level of interest. Men are all different in terms of their directness.

    2) Not really, although topics which titillate will often lead a man to view the conversation as an invitation.

    3) Direct talk. Men get that. “This relationship has limits. These are the limits. Do not transgress. I will let you know if anything changes. Now stop talking about it.”

    Not sure what else to say; some of your statements seem to me (from my male perspective) to be contradictory and confusing.

    Wigwam Jones

    January 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    • Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your input. I’m interested to know which bits are contradictory and confusing. I certainly don’t intend to be, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility!

      Not an Odalisque

      January 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

  2. I think that, rather than necessarily being contradictory, you’re being inclusive regarding your feelings and wants. This may, of course, simply be a polite way of saying the same thing. But we human beings are delightfully complex creatures, so I’m just going to go with it.

    As a male, I feel partially qualified to contribute. As a male whose friends are largely female, some contributions may in fact be relevant. Given that I’m largely considered atypical of the gender (not a fan of sports; can successfully pee whilst sitting down), these contributions may still be not entirely helpful.

    1) the challenge here may be that the gap between ‘fancying politely’ and ‘fancying not at all’ my be distressingly narrow. Whereas ‘fancying enormously’ is entirely obvious, but painfully similar to the behaviour of a Golden Retriever. This may be the source of the aforementioned perception of contradictions: your displeasure with those that lurch to ‘I love you’ and your very reasonable dismissal of those that play ‘hard to get’. Not that this is, necessarily, contradictory. Both examples are annoying. Males do have a knee-jerk tendency to try to seal the deal, as soon as a promising opportunity emerges on the horizon. And to jump to more promising with surprising alacrity. Except where they’ve been taught to play ‘hard to get’. But no, there is no secret handshake. We’re far too obvious for that.

    2) there are no rules regarding inter-sexual friendship. One of the things I delight in is that all things are on the table, conversationally speaking. The only corollary here is that, once a potential romantic interest emerges, most things leave the table again. Why this should be is as much of a mystery as how they get the Cramilk in the chocolate bar… But it’s true. This may be the heart of the problem, the basis of the previously cited contradiction and the crux which you must resolve. Do you seek friend? Friend ‘with benefits’? Friend ‘with implements’? Or passionate lover? Once you get to benefits/implements, relations my be strained unless you find a supremely confident, centred and grounded example of the male gender. Not, in my experience, common. The prospect of sex makes men astonishingly irrational.

    3) this one is the larger challenge. Direct is certainly an option, but it’s entirely possible that he is the one that will become overly attached. Or intimidated. You are clearly exceptionally intelligent; for many of the male gender, this will be deeply threatening. Not that you should perceive this in any way as advocating that you should present yourself as less than you are; just an acknowledgment that your pool of suitable prospects is going to be proportionally smaller.

    There are men that will delight in kinky, engaging, intelligent discourse of whatever flavour most closely scratches your itch. They are not numerous, but they do most assuredly exist. That may not be assuring in the context of your current frustrations… But it’s heart-felt.



    January 21, 2011 at 7:07 am

  3. 1- Look them in the eye and ask and keep looking in the eye whilst they answer!
    2- No Rules. The sooner you know the better!
    3- You Don’t. (unless you’re asked!)

    Any other questions , don’t hesitate!

    I like the frankness of your blog!


    January 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

  4. I reiterate, if I feel my male friends are getting to that ‘enormously fancying’ stage, how much I appreciate his friendship.

    “This is so cool that we can do these things and talk this way, and there’s no relationship pressure. Your friendship is just what I needed.” Or something.

    I think there’s this perception of women that we always want to move things from friendship to a relationship. Being clear & consistent (& frequent) with the message that that is NOT what we are looking for typically works with men who may believe otherwise. At least in my experience.

    As far as the ‘not fancying at all’ types…I’m not sure what you mean. Do you mean the men that meet you for the Sunday trysts when the mood strikes? They wouldn’t if they didn’t have some sort of interest. Or do you mean just men that you meet in the day-to-day? If you’re talking about knickers with someone and he says that it is not an inappropriate topic, then I’d say he’s at least in the ‘fancying slightly’ stage, if not more.

    I’m rambling. I love your blog. You have a deliciously honest way of putting things. (And your tweets are a riot.)


    Barely Pink

    January 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm

  5. I have found it possible to have male friends I fancy and vice versa. Friendship often has some level of attraction we are only human. I don’t see the need to know if someone fancies me or not, unless a good friend is suffering due to emotional needs I can’t fulfil or vice versa. I ‘fell in love/infatuation’ with a friend once and the rejection hurt. But we stayed friends.

    You say you are bi- why is this not an issue with women too?

    Quiet Riot Girl

    February 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

  6. p.s. I don’t think sex is treated as gross in the kink world. In my experience sex and spanking are inextricably linked/the same thing.

    But I don’t think of sex as penetration necessarily. So maybe I am misunderstanding your distinction.

    Quiet Riot Girl

    February 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

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