Girl Talk: We Can’t Be Friends

There’s this (amazing) song on the soundtrack to the (terrible) movie “The Romantics” called “We Can’t Be Friends” by Lenore Scafaria. My favorite lyrics go:

“I want to wear a skirt, I want to make mistakes,
I want to kill you first and then take your name,
I want to tear you apart, I want to make your bed,
I wanna break your heart, I want to break your head,
I guess this means we can’t be friends.”

In the days, weeks and months following a big breakup, I listened to this song on repeat. Every word of it spoke to me (especially the part about breaking his head). We’d said to each other on our first date, moony-eyed, that even if this didn’t grow into anything, we should still be friends.

Two years later, it couldn’t be more obvious that we could not be friends. My friends don’t sneak around behind my back. My friends don’t email me lists of the things they don’t like about me. My friends don’t threaten to throw out my stuff. There’s a hell of a lot of things my ex-boyfriend did that I wouldn’t stand for if one of my girl or guy friends were to do them. Why should I make concessions for acting like a d**k just because we had been in a romantic relationship together? What would that prove?

This cropped up again recently when a guy I’d been going on dates with for about a month ended it with me. Hormones, as I’ll call him, said he didn’t have strong enough romantic feelings or see long-term potential for us. Yadda yadda yadda. That is fine. I understand. I appreciate that he was honest about it. But then Hormones told me that he hoped we could be friends.

Your penis has been inside my vagina. Break up with me like a freaking man, damn it. I mean, really.

Girl Talk: Welcome To Heartbreak

Hormones was actually a mutual friend of someone I went on a few dates with years ago. Mutual Friend was a smart, funny, great guy who had really disappointed me when he told me he didn’t see us working out. He told me, though, that he thought I was cool, smart and interesting and wanted to be my friend. “Really, I mean that,” he said. “I want to be friends with you. It’s not just a line.” I took Mutual Friend at his word and we’ve hung out a few times over the years as pals; I may not have gotten a boyfriend out of my time investment, but I got a great boy friend. I’d mentioned this whole story to Hormones on a date once. I wasn’t sure he knew Mutual Friend and I had actually gone on some dates; I wanted to bring it up lest it be perceived as something I was hiding. It turns out Hormones didn’t care, so everything was fine, but I guess the story stuck in his mind.

After a month of dates and sleeping together, I could tell that the hormones with Hormones were fading away. On the last date we’d had together, Hormones picked a fight with me about something stupid. Later that night, he criticized me in bed in a douche-y way. When he asked me to leave the next morning without a romp in the sack or breakfast and kissed me on the cheek goodbye, I could tell this ship was sinking.

But instead of just telling me so, Hormones opted for the dreaded “fadeaway.” (Men, why do you do this?!) He didn’t respond to a text message inviting him to hang out. Then he didn’t respond to an email. Then, after I’d been stewing in my juices, I sent him a second email, this one quite huffy, informing him that it was fine if he didn’t want to date me anymore, but I deserved more respect than being ignored. Your penis has been inside my vagina. Break up with me like a freaking man, damn it. I mean, really.

A First Date, As Narrated By My Hormones

On Friday afternoon, Hormones called me at work. I sort of didn’t want to hear it — whatever it was — from him. But I also had a morbid curiosity for what was going on. Maybe he’d met someone else? So I slid into an empty office, shut the door behind me and answered my phone.

Hormones apologized for his rude behavior and didn’t try to excuse it. (I actually commend that. We live in such a “I’m sorry you are offended” culture that I admire the person who can admit to being rude or unkind.) Hormones claimed he liked me and respected me and thought I was fun and funny and smart and all those things that ease the pain of being put to pasture. And then he referenced our conversation about Mutual Friend. “I don’t want you to think I’m just copying Mutual Friend here, but I really would like to be friends with you,” Hormones told me. “Not necessarily tomorrow or anything, but I’d like us to hang out together sometime.”

Girl Talk: The Quickie Breakup Vs. The Slow Band-Aid Peel-Off

I honestly didn’t know what to tell him. It sounded like a sincere invite so far as I could tell. Put on the spot, I told him maybe, at some point in the future, we could hang out. But really, as soon as I said it I wasn’t so sure. I don’t think Hormones is a bad person, but he still wasn’t very kind or respectful. Those aren’t behaviors my friends would get away with. So why should he? I can forgive someone for bad behavior, sure, but if our month-long dating experiment was a test-drive of our friendship, it proved to me that it only took four weeks for him to get pretty rude. Anyway, a platonic friendship with someone I slept with and am still sexually attracted to sounds like torture. “Hell no!” One of my girl friends wrote to me in an email, when I told her what Hormones had said. “You have enough friends!”

I do have enough friends — good friends, actually, who treat me well. I don’t need to keep men in my life who hurt me just to prove something. We can be friends. But I don’t want to be.

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