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The Wicker Chronicles: Essays, Poetry, Short Fiction
Friday, 29 July 2005
no more and no less than friends

There is something divine in deep friendship between men (as in deep friendship between women) that the other sex cannot fully understand or know, a love that can be passionate but not sexual, similar to a brotherly or fatherly bond but different. It's a unique relationship, something sacred. The relationship between David and Jonathan in the Bible is an articulate example of this type of brother-love-friendship.

Contemporary American society and its underlying morality, rooted in the theology of the Puritans and other early Christian religious refugees to the United States, loves nothing better than to categorize everything through a lens of sexuality or non-sexuality. There is an overemphasis, a focus of microscopic intensity on sex and the naked human body. In our obvious avoidance of it we draw ever more attention to it, such as when former Attorney General John Ashcroft covered the female art-deco statue "The Spirit of Justice" with $8,000 curtains to shield the American public from her scandalously bare breast.

I find it ironic that the liberal cultural movements of the past century, including but not limited to the feminist and gay movements, that have sought to separate themselves from the traditionally closed-minded, bigoted, racist, ignorant, etc. culture, still unwittingly operate and act on the same compulsion to label and categorize based solely on sexuality.

For instance, the need for historical justification or precedent has been very important to the gay movement. Instead of relying on scientific study and research which has provided a far more rational base for understanding human biology, psychology and homosexuality, very often gay leaders and activists will point to historical relationships between men whom they perceive as being homosexual. Wherever there is a perceived "closeness" between men, they are quick to say, "See! They're gay! There's a historical precedent!" As if historical precedent somehow equals legitimization?

Quickly, close friendships between men become suspect, as if men are incapable of supporting friendships with any emotional depth, intimacy
or honesty without the relationship becoming sexual. The story of David and Jonathan in the Bible becomes distorted through this lens. Any male closeness is labeled as a sign of homosexuality by the traditional culture and the gay movement. One side is overeager to keep men from "becoming" gay by stopping any "inappropriate" inward or outward show of emotion or affection, and the other is overeager to prove that gay men are everywhere, under every rock and bush. Men who are biologically straight, yet are naturally inclined toward close friendships with other men, are forced to choose: enforce rigid, quasi-Victorian/Puritanical boundaries of emotional distance, or admit to themselves that they are gay or bisexual *only* because they crave the company of other men. This is a great disservice to the entire society. All men should feel free, gay or straight, to enter into friendships with other men that are not pre-judged and pre-determined by hypersexualized, distorted gender stereotypes.

Maybe it's a maturation process. As the hysteria over homosexuality hopefully dwindles in this culture, perhaps straight men and gay men will not be pre-judged as to the nature of their friendships. Gay men, in my opinion and experience, can more freely form these deep friendships with other men because they don't have to put up with the "straight fear" of being labeled as gay. They are gay. They're free from that homophobic peer constraint. They can be no more and no less than friends. Not that there aren't more Davids and Jonathans in the world, but they have a harder time of it in America. Don't you think?

Posted by blog/wicker_chronicles at 12:08 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005 4:41 PM CDT
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Friday, 29 July 2005 - 7:40 PM CDT

Name: jeremy
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Wow, this is food for thought. But very true. It came as a surprise growing up that I "had" close friendships with boys of my age group. The word GAY never came up.

We used to sleep in the same areas, beds, etc... on camping trips etc... it was not until we hit our 20's did the social label arise. And when that social label was used, it destroyed the dynamic between my friends and myself.

It was a shame that friendships of many years could be thrown away because of fear and guilt by association. Such was the social gospel pressure from parents to thier children.

That always confused me. I mean, if you knew me, and you were my friend, what did a label change but to categorize myself aginst them?

And I ask society, why are we so puritanical? And why are we moving farther away from true humanity into a life of "shadows and rules?"

I see it as this, every person is bron with a duality about them, in that being the "male/female" portion of the brain. If people were taught to embrace and become comfortable with the possibility that men could see the feminine part of themselves and adopt that portion of existence into their lives and BE comfortable with it, then these labels and social issues would disappear. Oh for such a better world.

You do offer food for thought here !


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