Monday, January 24, 2011


Friday night. It's Courtney's birthday. We're at Stone's Place and I'm trying to settle an argument with Blair that "Can I put my hand in your pocket?" is a better pickup line than "Can I touch your penis?" (I argue that the latter is much too direct and potentially off-putting. He claims that 10 out of 10 guys would say yes. I disagree.) We determine that a survey of 10 guys is the only way to settle the argument. I'm game. I ask three guys (all say yes) and have seven more to go when I spot two non-douchebag types standing by the bar. Perfect. They're bound to be sensible and say no.

They don't say yes and they don't say no. But the two non-douchebags do think I'm funny. As a result, I like them. I like all people who think I'm funny. Better yet, they're also funny, good conversationalists and definitely not douchebags (a rarity for Stone's Place these days). I bring Chloé over and introduce her. Instant friendship results.

Fuelled by alcohol, we decide that we're going to be real-life friends and they promise to add us to Facebook. (Not that Facebook friendship is equivalent with real-life friendship, by any means.) It's a sincere promise, but one we all know probably won't be fulfilled. The night ends, one of the guys walks part of the way home with me and I mention that I live with my boyfriend. The next morning, I check Facebook. There are no new friendship requests.

I realize immediately that it isn't worth pursuing. No one wants to be friends with some girl they met at the bar who has a boyfriend. But then, as Jay and I are walking home from brunch in the blistering cold, I see a figure in a red plaid jacket waving enthusiastically at me. I introduce him to Jay. "I'm just going to meet my friend," he tells me and points across the street, where his friend from the night before is waiting.

It's fate. Clearly, we are meant to be friends.

I add them to Facebook.

They accept my friend request.

But now, I have a new set of problems. How do I turn a Facebook friendship into a real-life friendship? And more importantly, how exactly do I develop a platonic relationship with two guys that I picked up at the bar?

I really don't have much to base this on. The last time Chloé and I met and hung out with two single guys was in 2005. The Idaho Cowboys (as they came to be known) wore flannel shirts and huge belt buckles and claimed to be bull-riders in town for a rodeo. (Except it was February in Toronto. We humoured them.) We invited them back to my residence room to drink room-temperature berry coolers, play Scrabble and watch CPAC. You know, the kind of activities that all twenty-something Canadian students like to do on their spring breaks. (Or so we told them. They obligingly humoured us.) They invited us back to their hotel to use the "hot tub," then filled up the bathtub with lukewarm water and jumped in with swim trunks on. We took them to Dance Cave and two-stepped to Franz Ferdinand. We thought they were funny and they thought we were fun. (Mainly because we are.)

Reading Week 2005. One of the cowboys took this photo.

But the context was different then--we were both single. Even if we had no intention of hooking up with either guy, it still legitimized our hanging out with them.

In general, developing male relationships has been a challenge since I moved to Toronto. Whereas the majority of my friends in Edmonton were male, I have few guy friends here. (The last time I genuinely tried to make a male friend it was Jay--and look how that turned out.) It's hard to make friends of the opposite sex and it's harder still to make friends of the opposite sex by using a lewd pickup line at the bar as a conversation starter. (Jay put this into further context for me when he overheard me telling Chloé that I ran into our new friends. "Matt and I are going to go out to the bar next weekend, hit on two girls and then become their friends. Is that okay with you?")

So I'm putting it out there: how do you turn Facebook friendships into real-life friendship? And how do you make platonic friends of the opposite sex? Because somehow, I don't think I can get away with inviting them over to watch CPAC and play Scrabble.


  1. Craig Belanger3:51 PM

    I think this post is interesting, as I think I have a fairly unique perspective. 90% of my friends are women and it's great (just a side note, not that it matters, but i am straight). I've met friends in the most random places, everywhere from bars, greyhound buses, and even online dating sites. I know a lot of people who say you can't just be friends with the opposite sex. I certainly disagree.

    Now in most situations, i'm going in with the intention of something more then just friendship, but it doesn't always pan out. And if the person is cool and we get along, then a friendship can be an even better outcome then going out a couple times and realizing that there isn't a flame and then loosing touch.

    I don't think you should think about a facebook as a glass wall. It's actually can help you in getting to the next step of a friendship. Back in the day, you would get their phone number and then awkwardly call them to hang out. Facebook has made it so easy and less formal to just shoot them a message or wall post to hang out. I would much rather call the person anyways, but that's just me.

    I think in the end you have to just make sure the other person understands it's just friendship and make it clear at the start that you are in a romantic relationship already and that can't be changed. You must take out the specifics of a situation and just base it on some fundamental laws of the universe...meaning if you guys click and seem to get along and would have fun, then just call him and say, "hey we are going out, want to join us?"

  2. Ashleigh9:28 PM

    Jessica! This hits home for me too! Growing up a was am mega tomboy and I'm sure my parents thought I would grow up to be a lezbian. As I've gotten older and moved around it has been harder to find guy friends. I'm working on some of the guys on my ball hockey times. . . most of which have told me despite what I think girls and boys are very rarely mutually platonic friends. I'm going to prove them wrong!

  3. Rev_Shabbazz4:49 PM

    A few years before I got married, I told my fiance "I'm flying down to Manhattan and picking up a German woman I met on the internet. She and I are going to crash with a dude that neither of us have met and we're all going see a week's worth of music at the Beacon Theater with a few dozen other gypsy weirdos. See you in a week or so."