Friends with Benefits

I had an interesting talk with someone who was also gay and we had an interesting conversation. He was stating, and I agreed that we both had more female friends than gay male friends. And it made may me ask myself, can gay men be friends without the benefit of having sex.
Hell can we just be friends without the shade we give each other or the value of seeing someone beyond their sexual organs?  
I don’t want to whitewash and make assumptions that everyone has the same experience as it may just be me so all I can do is tell my story but I know for myself there has been several cases where I have struck a conversation with someone in the gym or the coffeeshop and after talking about interests and just general stuff in the world, the conversation will eventually shift to one of sex. Your eyes open and you realize that all the conversations were about getting the cookies! If you don’t know what I mean by ‘cookies’ it’s the thing that most people think with and it’s not above the waistline.
And the crazy thing I learned is that if you don’t give up the cookies, they don’t want nothing to do with you and if you do give up the cookies, then they got what they wanted and don’t want nothing to do with you. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Recently I told myself that I was going to stop being ‘so busy’ and make the time and effort to meet new gay male friends. I was not going to let myself fall into the trap and think that all men think about was sex.When meeting someone I was going to make it clear from the beginning that my intent was cultivating a friendship with no expectation or desire of having sex. I went into this knowing that as you get older it is hard to make friends. Mostly because of the time. With work and other day to day things you already have in your life, establishing a new friendship takes some work. Work that won’t fit on your plate if it’s already full. But I was determined and I told myself I was going to make the time.
They always say be careful what you ask for.
I met a guy in Starbucks where I was working on a play and he must have seen my work over my shoulder. Being an artist he introduced himself and after awhile I figured he was gay even though we never stated it. I just knew. We exchanged numbers with the intent of making a new friend. We talked and I shared a little about myself, about my partner and my interests. He did the same.We tried several times to set a lunch/dinner meeting but with both of our schedules it was going to be hard. Eventually I asked if he wanted to go on my grocery store run with me. Being that groceries are more expensive in the city and I have a car I usually drive 20 minutes upstate and go to my grocery store where I can stock up on the essentials cheaply. I usually also if time allows, stop at the pet store or do some clothes shopping. So I let him know although it was not the normal meeting we could talk on the drive up and back and if time allowed, stop for lunch.
He was a cool person and it was cool to hear about his music and his family and even the guy he was dating. With all the talking I realized time was going by fast. To fast as I had to get back to the city as I had a final paper I had to do for class. Because of this I told him we might have to bypass the lunch as I way behind schedule.
From that moment the person I was trying to know turned into something I didn’t want to know. He started with how he was expecting lunch and felt mislead. I took ownership of that and apologized and stating that I didn’t realize that all the casual conversation we had would push back the clock. Since he didn’t eat fast food I offered to stop at a diner where he could get take out.I was lucky to find a parking spot and a diner. I figured I would sit in the car while he went in and got his stuff. When he saw i wasn’t following him he looked at me as if I was crazy and expressed since I was messing up his time the least I could do was buy his lunch, something we never agreed on. Still going on the fact that I did say we would have lunch, yet never saying I would buy him lunch, I put my tongue in my pocket and went into the diner with him to pay. He proceeded to order and a voice in my head said, “I bet you he’s going to take advantage of this.’ And sure enough he ordered lunch and extra items that could he probably could have as left over for his dinner. I still held my tongue as I gave the cashier my Visa. But in my head I told myself, “When people show you who they are, you better believe them.” So by his actions he showed me what kind of person he was.
You’d think it’d be over but for the next several miles back he proceed to go into this tirade about past trust issues and people saying and doing one other thing. You would swear we were an old married couple who were married for twenty years. I just stared blankly looking for the NYC city limit. He must have tired himself out with his speech and finally got quiet but as I quickly accelerated the car to get into my turn lane he started up again. “You don’t care about my life” “You have no respect for the way I feel” “Let me out”
Hallelujah, just the words I was looking for as I crossed traffic lanes and the first chance I had screeched the car to a stop and the moment he got out, closed the door and did my best Duke of Hazzard impression and screeched off, never looking in my rear view mirror.
Is this what it’s going to take to make friends?
But i told myself i wasn’t going to let that experience make me bitter, that there are good people out there. And not to say he wasn’t a good person, but it just wasn’t a good match and you can’t be friends with everyone you meet.
I just think it’s important to have friendly relationships and if you have to do it with your body, then it’s not a true friendship, it’s simply one with benefits. I’ve since met some great people and know it can happen.We all start out as strangers. We sometimes try to fool ourselves that we don’t need anyone in this world but we all need someone we can call on as a friend.

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About Aundaray

Aundaray is currently receiving his Masters in Public Relation and Communications at New York University. He has blogged for Huffington Post and various magazines. His interest is in discovering the effects of social media within business and cultures and the impact it has.
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