Saturday, April 30, 2011

What About Your Friends?

Originally Posted on August 17, 2005

Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln, in his younger days, used to share the same bed with another man? Shocking, isn’t it? Before there was an efficient way to heat the bedroom, men had to rely on each other for warmth though those cold winter nights.

What about the fact that men used to write “love letters” to other male friends, fawning them with admiration and ending with a statement of a yearning to meet again? Mind you, these were heterosexually identified men who were doing these things about 175 years ago.

One would think that today’s gay male society would operate along the same lines as our ancestors about eight generations ago. The expectation of gay men being as warm, friendly, comforting and loving has been lost with a guarded sense of trust and a weathered view of human nature. In other words, we are a jaded lot!

Let’s face some truths that are self-evident. No one writes letters anymore. When we write e-mails, we are short and to the point. “Wanna fuck?” Flowering prose, isn’t it? Even instant messaging has replaced e-mails as a way to get our attention. As it has become a test of your speed typing skills, instant messaging gets to the point…sometimes. Instant messaging has also eliminated the art of live conversation. Yet, good friendships are much better in person than in the virtual world.

With that in mind, I started thinking about my friends and wonder how they can still put up with me over the past ten years. Yes, I attempted to share a bed with a few of them in hopes of bonding our friendship, but you deal with some logistical details, such as snoring patterns kept the other awake throughout the night. We would hold great conversations with each other on various topics, even past one of our bedtimes. Yet, a lesson was learned this past year that best friends simply could not live together, expecting that the friendship prior to the move-in date was going to be as strong during the course of the lease.

I truly love the people I truly call a friend. To me, we are like a band of brothers who stick to each other through the good and the bad times. I always find time to laugh, joke, discuss issues, talk about work, living spaces, our pursuits and interests, and a bit of gossip…

Oops, did I say gossip?

My philosophy on friendship begins with two people who can share experiences, good and bad, enjoy each other’s company, learn from each other’s differences and unconditionally love each other. This is why sometimes our friends become our family when our birth family may not want to deal with us.

So, what is state of friendship in 2005? Depends on who you are and where you are at in your life. After reaching my fortieth year on this planet, the meaning of friendship is starting to change. The old ideas of “buddies” will mature into more meaningful relationships that need cultivation as the years go on. There will be some people that want to grow old with you, while others will fade away due to some agenda they might have that does not include you. I am grateful that I have been blessed with friends who fall into the former category.

If you have at least one friend in your life you can rely on, day in and day out, then you are wealthy. It doesn’t mean that you two can share a bed when one comes to visit. It also doesn’t mean that you two will be writing poetic e-mails of longing to hang out again.

It does mean that you are a good person in the eyes of another good person. And, that you can take to the bank!

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