I got this off a blog site. No one will probably read this because it is STUPID long, but unfortunately the whole thing is necessary for context. The basic point, though, is that having a lot of friends that you love is not morally superior to having a lot of romantic lovers. A History of Friendship Me and Leah James have been going through some mighty rough patches in recent months, and I'll be the first to admit that it's my fault for being such a huge pussy. One of the saddest things about it is that I kinda feel like my complaints aren't even legitimate in the first place. I feel like I'm putting her through trials that only a boyfriend has the right to do, and by that I mean I think the things I'm upset about are the kinds of things a boyfriend would be upset about, and it doesn't make that much sense for a friend to be upset about them. But trust me that the boyfriend place isn't where it's coming from at all. I mean yeah, it still crushes me that I can't be all to her that I want to be. But that's a side story. My problems aren't coming from a romantic place, they're coming from a legitimately platonic (though mercilessly personal) place. My real problem is People. People with a capital P. Anyway, I didn't really intend to discuss this at all, and if I had chosen to discuss it this is not how I would have done so. All I REALLY wanted to say was I've never had the chance to explain my outlook on people and friendship, so I'm gonna do that. FRIENDSHIP It absolutely astounds me to look back and see how social I actually have been in my life, because I've never specifically put a high premium on sociality. In fact, I hate sociality. But I've had a lot of friends. The strange thing about it is I've never had multiple friends, really. I mean I've had multiple acquaintances but there's never been a period in my life where I had multiple people I would go and do things with. I have no idea why it happens that way. First there were kids around the block like Dave Soodik and Andrew Devlin, plus my classic friend Brad and my fairly heavy friendship with Scott Baxter. For whatever reason, I would switch off between friends rather than have multiple ones at the same time. I shouldn't postulate about something so far in the past, but I get the inkling it was the result of some sick hedonistic selfishness on my part. I bet I would get bored and go hang out with other people and be like "screw you, you're not my friend anymore." Who knows. But over time, you know, everybody else fell away and Brad was my classic friend. Scott Baxter stopped being my friend because he didn't like Dragon Ball Z (or to be more exact, *I* stopped being his friend because of that). Me and Brad were really, really tight. We would hang out every day and do all kinds of things. It was actually very epic, too bad I can't remember that far back into the past. The really sick thing about it is... we used to get into huge arguments too, kinda like me and Leah James. And it was always MY FUCKING PROBLEM. I don't recall him ever coming up to me and being like "Doug, you suck." What the fuck is wrong with me that I have to be such a dick? I used to get SOOOOOO pissed at Brad. I'd bitch him out and he'd go home and then I'd say I'm sorry and he'd forgive me. God... I'm a pathological bitch. Anyway, me and Brad were really tight but we broke apart when he found some new friends and I couldn't deal with that and we drifted apart in the kinds of things we liked to do. He tried to keep the friendship going but I was unresponsive, due in part to paranoia. Brad had been fantastic, but it's not like I felt a huge gap in my life after he left. I'm a loner. I feel like it's just some strange coincidence that I usually have friends. Lately I've come to see how friendship can be really one of the best things in the world though, through Leah James and college. After Brad and I broke up, I never really needed to replace him because I always had Scott, who was my best friend most of the time anyway. I almost feel like maybe my close relationship with Scott has had a large role in my irregularly shaped relationship with relationships, because I never had to work hard at all to have somebody always be there. I never had to stick my neck out at all, I already always had the perfect friend. I never had to do anything I didn't want to do, and I always could do things with somebody whenever I wanted to. Plus we used to have virtually identicle taste. After Brad, I was best friends with Joe Deuchane for a while, but this was mainly awkward. I could never really get the hang of hangning out with him one-on-one, in fact the awkwardness of trying to hang out one-on-one was one of the things that ended my friendship with Brad. After Joe I had a close friendship with Cale, who I became friends with after having an argument about vampire-sex in homeroom, and there was some really great classic times between us. And the best part was we were both fiercely suicidal, and to this day Cale is the only person who I've known who shared my suicidal views. Well, Leah may have shared them at some points. Anyway, Cale gave me Alice In Chains and I gave him Nirvana and he was a good musician but I quickly grew tired of our relationship. I wasn't really having fun anymore and I wanted to just be by myself like usual. Cale then moved on to be best-friends with Ian Barlow, and then Cale moved to Switzerland. After Cale came Leah James, though I was best friends with Rob Preston during a hazy period I can't remember or place. I'm still not sure how me and Leah even started hanging out. There was this one time watching Futurama with Bryan Cassidy, and this other time playing Atmosfear with Rob, but I'm not sure how we made the leap from being friends-by-association and actually being friends. However it happened, I'm 100% certain it was Leah's doing. I would never have the balls to initiate a friendship, let alone one with a mega-hawt girl. I'm just guessing, but I think it went something like this... Leah: Doug, we live like really fucking close to each other. We need to hang out. Doug: Yeah, sure. repeat 10X Leah: Doug, we live like really fucking close to each other. We need to hang out. Doug: Yeah, sure. Leah: How about today after school? Doug: Uhh... okay. What follows, of course, is what I consider to be the single greatest period of my life. Not really because it was necessarily the happiest period of my life, but because it was the most psychologically satisfying. From 12th grade through until Summer Session at Penn State, my life was epic, it felt like more than the sum of its parts. I don't really have any idea WHY, except that I was, like, living a dream. Maybe I'm just a sellout who deep down wants to confrom to what I'm told to do. But I felt great about having a social life that I actually WANTED to have. I felt fantastic about having somebody who I actually WANTED to see and do social things with. I felt ecstatic about finally experiencing all of the epic youthful experiences that Tom Petty, Regina Spektor, & Bruce Springsteen built their careers on, and that Kelsey's MySpace pictures had made look so alluring. Gosh, just thinking about how I would go out and hang out every night, all night, makes me swoon. Watching Adult Swim in her livingroom at midnight on a school night, God it was such genius. I have NO FUCKING CLUE why this stuff means so much to me, but it certainly does. It was exciting and cool and all kinds of good, even though I was still in highschool and therefore hated life (and it was me and so I therefore hated life). The point is, that Leah was somebody who I agreed with IN THEORY! This was a breakthrough which totally dumbfounded me. In the past, at least the recent past, I had come to regard friendship as something to do to clear my mind but not something that I had any honest respect for. Leah changed that. She didn't change my view of friendship altogether, but she did change my view of friendship with her, and that was a huge freakin' breakthrough. Unlike with other people, hanging out with her didn't feel like a waste of time; in fact when I had hung out with her I felt like I had accomplished something fucking amazing. So then I went off to summer session and I cried a lot about having to end the most glorious and theoretically agreeable period my life has ever had. In summer session I became isolated again. I didn't even have a roomate, so I was quite truly isolated. For the most part I was okay with this, but I did become very depressed. That was when I found a group of anime watching, Magic The Gathering playing guys who I would periodically get together with. I feel very nostalgic about it now because it was recent but it is long gone. They were really great guys but the truth is I didn't like playing Magic all that much, and I would only hang out with them because I felt like I ought to, and because it would take my mind totally off of my depression. The main point is: when I was with them I didn't feel bad about myself in the least, but I did feel like I was wasting time. There was nothing psychologically fulfilling about hanging out with these people. Then, after that came Fall Semester at Penn State. That was a really weird period because I had 5 people hanging around in my room every day. But I really started to enjoy their company. It was not quite how I not only enjoyed it but also enjoyed the IDEA OF IT, like with Leah, it was more like how we were just roomates. I could take it or leave it at any point, no pressures or pretentions at all. And this very positive experience with people, along with LJ, have made me start to really think differently about friendship, and I'm starting to fear that I need people now. DEJA VU The parallels between me & brad and me & LJ are kind of freaking me out. I frequently get the feeling that I go through the same circumstances in life over and over again without even knowing it. It kinda pisses me off. It doesn't feel right that unique people and circumstances would yeild identicle results. I guess I'm just nit-picking though, because there's probably 10,000 things different between Me-Brad and Me-Leah, and only 500 things that are similar. But still... you've got to admit that it's troubling that my same character flaws keep showing themselves again and again. Anyway, in case you didn't notice, that whole thing was just one huge tangent. That was NOT what I set out to discuss in this blog entry. What did I want to discuss...? Welcome To My Nightmare: Doug's Warped and Acidic View of Friendship You know what... maybe I'm sick, but to me friendship seems like a way for people to whore themselves. Why is it considered a morbid error to make love to more than one person, and yet it is somehow the most normal thing in the world to share your love with 20 or 30 friends? How come you can't be socially accepted if you're in love with more than one person, but you're socially abnormal if you don't love more than one person platonically? Some people would say that friendship is quite a different beast. But if friendship is so different, what are you cutting into to make it so? If you're simply cutting out the sex and romantic gestures, surely that is nothing more than a superficial facelift. Is a romantic partner a friend who you make love to? Why is it that romantic gestures are alloted solely to the suitors? It seems to me that it would make sense for a caring friend to consider employing romance at a time when romance is what the other friend is in the need of. Is the goal of romance to make one hot and heavy, or is the goal perhaps to demonstrate understanding and care? See, you could say I just don't understand what makes sex and romance different from the various other intimacies that any good platonic friends share. Would you agree with me that sex and romance have simply been allocated to the Lover for the sake of differentiating him or her from the rest of your friends? I guess I've NEVER had a normal view of sex. And, no, I won't give you my usual godawful shtick about how we should be able to have sex with our friends. Even though I think it's true, I admit that it might just be a ploy to convince my mega-hawt friends to have sex with me, and even though I think there's an extremely powerful precedent which makes friend-sex righteous and good, I admit that it DOES take away something important from the lifepartner relationship. But anyway, what I was saying about my view of sex is... it's never been normal. I've always been quite skeptical of it, ever since pronography introduced to me both its greatness and the fact that it is suppressed. I'm not physically attracted to men, but I would very seriously consider entering into a romantic relationship with one. I'm not physically attracted to 60 year olds or most of my relatives, but I would very seriously consider entering into a romantic relationship with one of them. My question is: How far can you go with your sexual taste before you reveal yourself to be blatantly superficial? If somebody can say "Oh no, I don't date men, I am not attracted to them." and that is considered legitimate, then why would someone be critiqued for saying "Oh no, I don't date overweight women, I am not attracted to them," or "I don't date black women," or "I don't date blue-eyed people"? How pure is love really, or is it not just some big game that adults play to amuse their pathetic lives? If you date people based on their sex or gender, you are dating people based on their physical appearence. To say "I don't date people with vaginas" is about the same as saying "I don't date people with tattoos." You might say it's more meaningful than that, that it has to do with compatability and what people have in their hearts. But everything is "more meaningful than that." Everything has to do with what people have in their hearts, whether they are able to articulate it or not. A pedophile doesn't want to have sex with children because he's a freak, he wants to do it because he has something deep down in his heart that needs to be fulfilled -- maybe he's too afraid of grown-up women, maybe he's trying to recapture the only period in his life when he was ever happy. A serial rapist isn't raping people because he's fucked up, he's raping people because of something deep down inside him that makes complete sense to him. My point is only relativism, and the fact that everyone is legitimate. See, this is where I start from. I've been told that LOVE is the most powerful and purest thing in our universe. So surely "love" can not be this deep and powerful, magical, beautiful, heart-breaking that I feel at the center of my being. This thing I feel cannot be "love" because "love" is pure, whereas this magical feeling I get is aroused by attractive women who give me the time of day and pretend to like me. This feeling is not aroused by any of the various men who would fight for me and valiantly call themselves my allies, but it was aroused by a couple of girls who briefly appeared interested in me and then refused to acknowledge my existence after that. This feeling is not aroused by the people who have loved me since day one and would do anything for me, but it is aroused by some interesting individuals with long legs who I see walking down the street wearing Deicide t-shirts. You see, that shit ain't fake. That shit ain't contrived. I can see a girl out of the corner of my eye while walking down the street and she can conjure up the very depths of my soul. The girls I find attractive aren't just hawt tail, they are the key to everything I consider hopeful about the universe, every dream of happiness I have ever had, and every good thing that has ever happened to me. BUT... it's fuckin' superficial as Hell. How could you claim it's not? Look at it this way: 1. I will never see these girls again. 2. They're just walking past me on the street, we have no connection what-so-ever, not even a mutual glance. 3. If they were fat, had penises, were old, were generally ugly in any way, looked too preppy, or were wearing Huey Lewis & The News t-shirts, I would not be experiencing the upheavel of my soul and all my dreams. I would, in fact, be disgusted or apathetic at best. 4. I've never heard them talk, I don't know the SLIGHTEST thing about them. I am making a lot of assumptions based on their looks, but not only is that superficial, it's also likely to be inaccurate. There's a VERY good chance that if I actually got to know these people, I would not like them in th least. 5. They've never done anything for me. They don't give a fuck about me, probably wouldn't save me if I was drowning, and there's a fair enough chance that if me and them were the only people left on Earth, they would opt to let the human race die rather than let me touch them. THAT bundle of illegitimacy is the epitome' of my soul. So how I am supposed to respect "love"? Surely the thing that rules my universe is not love, but some kind of idealistic lust and dreams. So when I realized this, I took love to mean something deeper. Something more helpful. If love is just a passionate feeling, then loving someone doesn't mean a damn thing. Personally I think that the vast majority of people are following this fake thing that feels like love. In fact I think it's what fuels the world. But I can't be sure of that, because I can only do tests on myself. And I'm willing to believe I'm a worse person than most people are. But I was married to the concept that love was pure and real. So I looked deeper into my human relationships and probed for what real love could be. I decided that love had to be something stuffy and effective, like an old married couple who relied on each other for their livelihood and would never part. I decided love had to be based on things other than physical factors and that it therefore must have a lot to do with the mind. I decided love must be based on the deepest emotional and mental connections two people can make. And this is how I got caught in the trap of fully believing that friendship and romantic love are very closely related. And I really stick to that belief. I've never experienced a romantic relationship. But honest to God, do you think I could get any mentally closer to anyone than I've already done? I've been opening myself up emotionally and mentally to my best-friends for years. There's nothing of worth that I would say to a lover that I have not already said to my friends! What is more intimate than your hopes and fears and secrets? Do you not confide those things to your closest friends? What is supposed to be so intimate about sexuality other than the simple fact that we with-hold it from the public and save it for a particular magical group of people we consider lovers? Is it not true that friends are often more loyal and intimate than lovers? My parents are divorced, but my dad still hangs out with the same exact friends he hung out with 30 years ago. The only thing I can imagine discussing with a lover that I might never discuss with my friends is sexual fantasies and such, but surely you're not about to claim that it's such an intimate or meaningful thing as to make a lover superior to a friend? Furthermore haven't we on here already discussed some of our intimate sexual perspectives? What is Romance and do you think it would make me closer to someone? My answer to that question is: romance seems to me to be doing those nice, cute things purely for the sake of your lover just to make them feel warm and loved. Well.... I've already had friends do that for me, and I've done it for them. If romance is something substantial rather than just being a sexual turn-on, then I think I've done it. Making those sacrifices and trying to make someone feel loved, is that not romance? I've been there, done that. And if romance is in fact just a sexual turn-on, how could you claim that it is supposed to make people closer together than they are with their most intimate friends? Sex is not a magical elixir of togetherness. Someone can watch porno and be turned on in the same way that you are turned on by real-life legitimate romance. In fact, female pornography most commonly comes in the form of ROMANTIC novels! My point is: if you put me with the people whom I am closest with and ask me to get closer to them, the ONLY things I can add are sexual things. And sexual things are NOT some kind of magic well of meaningful content, they are in fact somewhat superficial. But even if you consider sex to be excruciatingly significant, my main point is that sex is the only difference between friend and lover. Seriously, what else is there that you can do with your lover but you can never do with your friends? If you live with a buddy in a small apartment for a bunch of years, would you not know of their quirky habits to the same extent that someone's wife or husband would? In a simple matter of math, haven't siblings like me & Scott, and Leah & Oskar done more things together and spent more time together than a lover could in many years? That's almost 20 years of FORMATIVE experiences for me. Sure there are some things in life I've done that I certainly haven't done with Scott, but even if I started living with a lover today, it would take her quite a long time to catch up and she'll never have the formative experiences like watching Evangelion or being afraid of the dark or Wishbone stuffed animals. You can be just as comfortable or open or in-synch with a great pal as you can with a marriage partner. So I guess you could say that my conclusion is that intimacy equals love, because other measures of love are superficial. And the intimacy you achieve with non-lovers is equal to or greater than that which you will achieve with your average romantic Lover or partner. So what is it that makes lovers special?? Well surely you can say it is HOW you feel about them. We don't feel about our siblings the way we feel about that hawt girl we see walking down the street. And it doesn't ALWAYS remain as superficial as a girl walking down the street, sometimes you meet up with someone who is hawt and then you find out that they have a fucking awesome personality. And then, it's never happened to me but I'm sure it happens for some people, sometimes after that you find out that you BOTH feel that way about each other and so what you have is a legitimate intimacy that is coupled with a soul-stirring sexual interest. I'm not desputing the significance of that kind of situation. What I'm saying is that the intimacy and the sexuality are seperate. While the intimacy between you and your friends might certainly be different from the intimacy between you and your lovers in your particular case, it's fully POSSIBLE to have anything intimate you have with a lover with your friends other than sexual things, assuming you have certain inhibitions and tastes. My claim is that the intimacy itself is a friendship and nothing more, while the sexuality is something else to make your love partner unique from your friends in a way other than simply how you feel about them (since, after all, I've been in love with my friends, that doesn't make them my lovers, so feelings alone can't be the only factor.) So, after you follow me through the paragraphs, if... 1. True LOVE comes from intimacy, not from sex. and 2. Friendship intimacy and Romantic intimacy are on the same level of depth. then why is it that a whore sleeps with many people, but someone with many friends is naught but normal? The way I see it, the more friends you have, the less meaningful each friendship becomes. You might say that's brash, but wouldn't you agree that someone with more romantic partners is cheapening the value of that romantic love? How is this any different? Is a lover not just a friend who is better than the rest, provided that you also find them sexually appealing? So what then is a best-friend, just a potential lover who you don't find attractive? It's often someone of the same sex, no? (Or, in my case, it's just that I am extremely ugly). If your real-life best-friend was very attractive sexually, and you knew that they were into you, would you get together with them? I mean, you're already so in-tune to begin with. And assume that they are whatever gender you prefer to date. The more people you shower with your friendship and approval, and the more people you reveal your soul to, and the more people you count on to be there for you, the less special your friendship becomes. Having lots of friends is just whoring yourself without the sex, and the sex is not the most meaningful part, so someone who has sex with tens of people but only reveals their soul and does other intimate things with one single person is much less of a whore than anyone who is platonically intimate with tens of people but only has sex with that special one. I can't really say that I'm advocating people to hide their souls from everybody so that they can only share it with the worthy person. I'd say I'm more critiquing the fakeness and pointlessness of intentionally with-holding sex from most people so you can pretend that you have something powerfully unique with your chosen suitor. The real truth is that I just cannot accept people having lots of friends. That is to say, I'm fine with most people having lots of friends, but not when it comes to my special best-friends. And you could say that it's just 'cause I totally would pay $10,000 for a chance at boning Leah James, but you'd be dumb to claim that when clearly I had the same problem with Brad and I don't want to bone him at all. (p.s. I'd pay more, but $10,000 is all I have.) For whatever reason, somebody having multiple friends makes me feel completely unspecial in every possible way. And I really think there is a buttload of evidence to support those feelings, since after all I am NOT special in any way when it comes to being just one in SEVERAL similar platonic relationships. Is it WRONG for somebody to have multiple close relationships? Most people would say no, but I've made my feelings on the matter very clear. What is 'close' in the singular case becomes nothing short of the norm when it is applied to several people. So it's not just singularity that I'm losing, it's the intimacy itself that goes away. Perhaps that too is superficial. If it's the same intimacy, why must it be singular to be legitimate?