“Why can’t WE be friends?”

My husband and I have many things in common, but certainly not everything.*

It’s the same way with most of my friends, and yes, he’s one of them – en fait, he’s my best friend. We believe that being each other’s best friend is not only possible, for us it’s pretty much imperative. Despite our “Mars/Venus” natures, we talk to each other, listen to each other and do things together.

And – we laugh with each other.  Just like friends do.

Being each other’s best friend doesn’t mean we each don’t have other close friends. It also doesn’t mean we always communicate well, or that we always treat each other the way friends we should.

But we do keep trying.

Way back before we knew what we were getting into, we became friends (I kept telling him, “We’re just friends,” but luckily he didn’t take me seriously.) It was the 1970s, and a popular song  was “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by the group WAR. We’ve sung the chorus to each other many times since then:

Why can’t WE be friends?
Why can’t WE be friends?
Why can’t WE be friends?
Why can’t WE – EE be friends?
 
WarOriginalLineup_01

WAR

 

And we laugh when we do.

We became more than friends, but friendship is still a solid basis for our relationship. We like to hang out with each other. We encourage each other’s interests, whether we share them or not. Yes, we sometimes take each other for granted, criticize and even hurt one another – but we always forgive. We count on each other, and together we’ve faced more than one crisis.

What about other friends? And other family? Friends are people I met, got to know, and with whom I somehow connected – we accepted each other as friends. We talk, we listen, we do things, and we laugh. We don’t criticize, we don’t boss each other around, and we don’t (normally) offer unsolicited advice.

Family members (besides mon mari) can be, well, not exactly like friends. Yes, we met and got to know each other, but we may not have connected as friends. Because we’re related, we’re sometimes together. Hopefully, we accept each other, talk and listen to each other, and maybe we share some laughs. We probably interrupt each other more than friends do, though. Ideally, we don’t criticize or tell each other what to do.

But when things aren’t exactly ideal, I often wonder why we can’t be friends. Why we can’t just treat each other the way friends do.

The answer is, we could if we wanted to – it would be much more fun than WAR.

* Another one of our oft-repeated song lines is from Bob Dylan: “We like the same things. We wear the same clothes.” Well, we don’t anymore…

Relationships: être ensemble – “to be together”

An article published today in the Wall Street JournalFind a Man Today, Graduate Tomorrow by Emily Esfahani Smith is sure to spark some discussion.

The author (a member of Generation iY, or maybe just Y – and married) quotes her mother as telling her a few years ago: “You’re in college…There will never be a better time to meet someone…so start looking.”

Like Jenny, the main character in my novel MAKE THAT DEUX, I tend to like people who are direct – as long as they aren’t unkind or insensitive. I also happen to agree with that mom, who’s a member of my generation.

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The Wedding Cake of a bride and groom
who met in college and got married last year
 

I know – declaring that I agree with her may not be wise. I’m sure that there are plenty of people who disagree – or, at least, who find that mom’s instruction advice distasteful  offensive somewhat objectionable. I’m not fond of confrontation…but I think there’s more to college life than academics, and more to life afterward than career, for women – and for men.

In a word, relationships.

I suppose I’m biased, because I met my husband when we were in college. Many of my friends met their husbands years later, either at work or through friends. Some married after going to graduate school, after beginning their careers, or both. I wonder sometimes how difficult it was for them to find the right man.

A few of my friends met their husbands (and got married) younger than I did; I found “The One” – my One – in college. It was (and I’m sure still is) a great place to meet guys, and to get to know them. When your biggest stress is writing a paper or studying for an exam (or both), well, it’s not like having the responsibilities of adult life, even single adult life. Normally, when you’re in college, you have a lot more time available for friendships, fun and dating.

I didn’t set out “looking” for someone when I arrived at college, but I did look for relationships with friends – male and female – and I can’t imagine why young people today would not. You can have your cake and eat it, too relationships and achieve your academic and career goals, too. And sometimes, male friends can develop into something more…one of mine did.

I don’t apologize for finding the love of my life – or for him finding me – in college. Yes, we were both immature, but we matured together. I wanted company, and so did he. Turns out, initially, you’re going to be a rookie at adulthood. You can either do it alone, or do it with someone you love.

Perhaps because I did it with him, ça me fait en colère (it makes me mad) when I sometimes hear others say (self-righteously?) that it isn’t smart to do so… or that (since they did not?) no one should. Jenny in MAKE THAT DEUX (and her friends, and basically, her whole generation) believes that it’s just fine to find that special someone in college.

Pourquoi pas?

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Call me, maybe, but don’t break my heart: Sortir avec quelqu’un

From what I’ve seen, dating has changed since mon époque.* But I wonder why les jeunes filles gens of today sometimes make going out with someone more difficult than it used to be.

It’s been years decades since I’ve sorti avec mon copain — gone out with, or dated, my boyfriend (or any other guy – but not au même temps, of course). And though my husband and I have gone out on many a “date night” during our marriage, well, once you’re married, you’re not dating anymore.

But way back when, we were dating. Normalement, he would call me, ask me out, I would say “Yes,” and we would set up a rendez-vous (date). He would call me from a “land line” or even a pay-phone similar to the one in the photo, and I would answer the phone. If he called and I didn’t answer, it meant I wasn’t there, and he would call again. When the time for our date came, I would be almost ready, and we would go to a movie or out to dinner.

I’m not one to changer d’avis (change my mind) very often, so it worked.

But back then, when a guy called and asked you out, if you said “Yes,” you didn’t cancel on him at the last minute (or even before that), unless you got sick, someone died, or you had an accident. Yes meant yes, and it didn’t mean maybe. There was no easy way to cancel, anyway, like there is today. So you just went out — and had fun.

Like lots of people, I’ve enjoyed listening to a popular song recently that demonstrates (I think) how different dating is now:

““““““““`

Hey, I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But here’s my number,

So call me, maybe?

““““““““`

Hmm. Is she going to answer the call, I wonder? When I first heard those lines, it reminded me of a song that mon copain at UNC and I liked, featuring these lines:

““““““““““““““““““““““““`

Why do you build me up (build me up) Buttercup, baby 

Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around 

And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby 

When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still 

I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin’ 

You know that I have from the start 

So build me up (build me up) Buttercup, don’t break my heart 

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““

In my novel — about to be released — characters go on dates, and (because they live in a time before cell phones, or even answering machines) they don’t stand up their dates. They live up to their commitments, even if they’ve only committed to Saturday night. “Oui” means “Yes.”  

And like today, no one wants a broken heart.

* Autrefois, or back in MY day

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