I’ve had a really busy week.  An interview in London, a new music review writing gig, blogging, trying to rule the world, plus all the usual Mum duties (including a mid-week jaunt to the local dry ski slope, school disco and assorted homework/teenager moods to deal with.)

I needed a night out – stat!

So mid week, and on a school night too (I know, check me out!), I asked a friend of mine if they fancied a beer.

My friend happened to be a man.

GASP!  Yep, I have male friends, although I could count them on one hand.  Still, it got me thinking.  In this day and age, have we got over the whole ‘men and women can’t be platonic friends’ thing yet?

Have people accepted that its OK to be friends with the opposite sex?

I’ve always got on well with men, but then I’ve always got on with (most) women.  I see little difference when I’m deciding who I want to have a beer with – I either like you, or I don’t.  So why is it still so difficult for people to understand that it’s ok to have platonic friends.

My Other Half is absolutely, 100%, unequivocally OK with it.  Even when he’s working away.  He’s happy if I’m happy.  Simple.  He trusts me, and vice versa, and so for us, like with lots of other issues, it’s just no big deal.  For others, however, it freaks them right out!

So, the evening with Dan* arrived.  He pulled up in a taxi, came in, had a quick chat with the kids and we went off to the pub.

And then the rumourmill began.  I could see the taxi driver checking us out in his mirror to try and work out what the score was with us.  Were we a couple?  Were we related?  Or … and I’m sure this is what he was hoping, were we having a (not so) secret, torrid affair?   Never mind the kids waving us off at the front door!

We settled down in the pub and began catching up with each other’s news.  Just as I would if I were out with a girl friend.  I was, however, well aware of people watching.  Now, I’m no beauty, believe me, so as much as I would love to believe in my Mum’s childhood affirmation that people are staring “just because I’m so beautiful,” I’m well aware it was just some comfort a mum gives their awkward teenage daughter.  We weren’t rowdy.  We weren’t making out.  Not a PDA in sight!   We were discussing my blog, and his shop.  How my Mac is a gazillion times better than his PC.  X Factor vs. Strictly.  Our children.  Our partners.

But the stares continued.

I think the problem was, people just couldn’t work us out.  If we were a couple, why weren’t we holding hands or gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes?   (He’s a nice bloke, but – erm, eww.)  Because, after all, it’s not like these people could just be friends, right?

I’ve never looked at Dan in that way.  Has he looked at me and wondered?  No idea.  Maybe, maybe not.  There’s certainly never been a frisson between us!  But even if he had, it’s irrelevant.  We are friends with each other like I’m friends with Abi from Uni.  Like he is with Fat Bob from the gym.

Perhaps I’m worrying too much.  After all, as long as my man’s ok with it, who cares right?  But it really irks me.  Society says its OK being friends with your girlfriends’ partners – that’s ‘safe,’ but having independent, platonic friends is a step too far out of their comfort zone.

It doesn’t change anything.  Dan and I will continue to go out, albeit only twice a year, because quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!

* Names have been changed because I’m not sure his wife is quite as understanding!

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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.