Watching Kate Winslet’s acceptance speech last night for her Best Actress Golden Globe award, I was struck by several things. First, my God, the woman has tremendous skin. What do you think is her secret, besides, you know, regular facials, expensive creams and living the good life? Second, was that an orgasm Kate was having as she stepped on stage? If so, does that make her the first person in history to experience a live, televised climax during an awards ceremony? Is there a separate award for that? Third, do you think Kate would seem as elegant and lovely if she spoke with, say, a thick Jersey accent? And fourth, Kate really, really loves her some Leo. She loves him so much, in fact, it’s a bit, well, awkward. All her gushing (“Leo, I’m so happy I can stand here and tell you how much I love you and how much I’ve loved you for thirteen years.”) even elicited some nervous laughter from the audience, which got me thinking: what are the rules for platonic male-female friendships? Is there a line — especially when either party is romantically involved with someone else — that shouldn’t be crossed? Who decides what the line is? And if there’s a line, did Kate cross it last night when she told Leo, “I love you with all my heart, I really do” as her husband sat by and watched? For the record, I’ve always felt that if a male-female friendship preceded a romantic relationship either party may have, as Kate and Leo’s does, the friendship gets kind of a “golden pass.” They can go out to dinner together, talk on the phone at length, even express love for one another, and in general, have the sort of intimate friendship that may not be as permissible if they’d met after either one of them was romantically involved with someone else. I’m not saying I’d be crazy about the idea of my boyfriend loving it up with some other woman, but as long as I was confident in our relationship and understood that theirs was strictly platonic and based on a history that preceded mine with him, I’d be okay with them maintaining a strong friendship. I can’t say I wouldn’t have moments of insecurity, but I’d like to think I’m evolved enough to take responsibility for those feelings.
Where things get really fuzzy for me, though, is when a male-female friendship begins after either party is already romantically involved with someone else, or, as is the case with Kate and Leo, the friendship seems as important, if not more important, than a romantic relationship. What are the roles and boundaries in such friendships? How far should a “golden pass” extend? Would Kate Winslet’s husband, Sam Mendes, have a justifiable right to be hurt or angry by Kate’s overzealous public expression of love for her Leo?
What have been your experiences? Have you been involved with someone who had straight friends of the opposite sex and how did you deal? Or, have you been platonic friends with someone of the opposite sex who was romantically involved with someone else? How did you make the friendship work?