Good morning! Yesterday turned out to be a steam bath. It was hot with periods of light rain. I’ve been more comfortable in gym club steam rooms. I just threw in my cowboy boot poem as an extra. I still want to talk about relationships.
Is there anyone out there as confused as I am?
If a man or woman wants to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, what does that mean? Does it mean when they happen to be in the same company as the other they smile and wave or maybe have a few minutes of small talk before moving on? There are several friends like that at church. I enjoy our conversations and even hugs but there is no contact during the week beyond that.
Can men and women who want to be friends go places together and talk on the phone or just enjoy each other’s company or is that now dating? If one does not find the other attractive (there is no “spark”) will there be any friendship or socializing to begin with? Does there have to be a “spark” if one does not wish to become physically intimate with the other? And what about friends with benefits? Is that the same thing as having a casual relationship as defined by Wikipedia? I can’t get this site to link but the information is there if you want to see it by cut and paste. Sorry.
Can a relationship be maintained on a casual (no sex) basis? How much time can pass before it is considered mutually exclusive, what we in the 50s and 60s called going steady? I find it difficult to describe a relationship as casual any more if there is sleeping together involved.
I remember one of my aunts talking about her youth. It was the 20s and 30s. The young men could not often afford to “date”. They did many activities in groups. No one paired off for quite awhile until they were older and more were included than if they were couples. Many of the social activities centered around church. From what I can gather, young people today call that “hanging out.”
The high schools had many more clubs open to all to attend their functions. There was much less free time for those in their teens. They really were not that much separated from their adult parents. If a young man were interested in a young woman, he would often come a-calling and be entertained in the family parlor.
Since the average life expectancy in the 1950s and 1960s was in the mid 60s, there were far fewer seniors who had to deal with this situation. There certainly wasn’t any public “living together” and very seldom were there marriages after the age of 40. World War II left an overabundance of women who had to rely on family members for shelter. It was much more rare for a woman to be living on her own.
And what about affairs? Do people even bother to call them affairs anymore or are the two involved just “in a relationship” as it is commonly called. In the 50s in the time of the lock step courtship, according to the TV series “Madmen” there were certainly more than a few affairs going on, especially in the business community between bosses and secretaries. “The Apartment” with Shirley McLane and Jack Lemmon is an example of that era. The wife stayed home with the kids and the man slept around. Were those having affairs “friends”? “Lovers”? What?
Now seniors are facing the same questions as teenagers. It is obvious in many retirement communities that the inhabitants are still fully desireous of relationships with each other.
Some of those seniors have been married since the more conservative 50s. Some were teenagers in the 60s. All of them, for some reason, wish to once again experience the warmth of friendship or whatever it is called these days. They are uncertain and are treading unfamiliar grounds.
As a friend (acquaintance?) said to me recently, “I like friendships. It used to be that a person had to be married to be passionate with a person. That’s certainly not the case any longer. Friendships work for me. ”
OK now is he saying that passion between two people is now acceptable on the friendship level? Would that be a ‘friend with benefits”? Once two people become intimate, are they now ‘in a relationship’? He also says, “I don’t think I make a good relationship person. I am not knocking me, I just seem to feel too confined…and that makes a nice guy become bad : )”.
Are there rules for a relationship that promote confinement? What is a non-confining relationship? Would someone like that just be saying he wants to play the field? He’s at an advantage. He’s at an age where there are more women than men, and men have the edge over being able to date younger women. Some couples have an entire generation gap between them. Why would a friends with benefits not be a relationship? Why is a relationship necessarily confining?
As you can see, I’m simply trying to examine this topic of conversation as I have tried to do all my life. I’ve always felt like an American player trying to learn a totally new game in Russia. I feel the need to learn the language and the rules but I can’t communicate in order to learn. There was a book published in 1989 called “Games Mother Never Taught You”. It addressed women in the corporate world. I wish someone would write a sequel for the male-female friendships, relationships, affairs, acquaintanceships, companionships, and sinking ships world.
It’s a confusing world, but vleeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyy interesting.