Thursday, August 9, 2012

"he is my lover/my baby's father/my lifetime partner/and my friend...."--Tamia

"Today, I marry my best friend." Most women cream over this statement--evidence by its gross overuse in the romantic comedy genre--but I'm calling crap.

When I make the leap into marriage, I want to partner with a man with whom I am deeply in love, one who trusts me, respects me, admires me, rides for me, and loves me wholly and only. Someone who has my back and my front. Someone who won't break my heart. Someone who will be a great father. What don't I need him to be? A best friend. That's because the vast majority of my best friends have vaginas, which are, shall we say, less than arousing to me. Most of my best friends have been and are women, save a couple special guys--one of which is actually a San Francisco-based homosexual. Needless to say, we're not getting married.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm not waiting for the guy who would be the most fun to rock out a road trip with or who's down to hit the Forever 21 clearance rack. I'm actually much more interested in whether he can hold me down and lay the pipe.

Now, don't get me wrong: While I admit I find something mildly nauseating about the whole "I fell in love with my best friend" jig, I'm not down on it. Some people are in, in fact, literally in love with their very best friend--sometimes even fall for someone who was their best friend first--and more power to them. In the words of the timeless Bernie Mac: "That's a beautiful thing". My concern is that we--and by "we" I mean "women"--have culturally added this 'best friend' qualification to the already lengthy list of things men need to be, have, and do in order to snatch "Mr. Right" status. In addition to the spiritual, financial, and physical needs women should anticipate, some of us now spend time waiting and looking for a man to fill our trough of emotional needs while sinking our own ships with the weight of unachievable expectation.

I, for one, am not looking or waiting for a best friend. I have plenty of those. My interests are the guy who can fill the shoes and play the role of a man, not the girlfriend I cry to about my period. Slapping a "best friend" moniker on a relationship as deep a marital one is actually a bit dangerous. It demeans and trivializes a bond that transcends friendship. Having children, building a home, paying bills, sharing families, and going through all types of trials and tribulations with someone for decades at a time does, in fact, call for friendship. But a dial-down is necessary. The stress that the "best friend" narrative creates is an albatross to the woman making a decision on a partner, not to mention the burden it creates in the actual partner. The glue of a marriage is commitment, and while assigning an after-school special spirit to the union might sound cute, the reality is that the nucleus of a marital relationship isn't BFF status: It's Love.

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