Bro, Please Cover Your Emotional Cleavage!
“It seems like every girl who I have a deep conversation with ends up being attracted to me,” my guy friend told me over lunch. “It makes it really difficult to be friends with women, when they all seem to start liking me. But, it seems that they are only attracted to this one part of me. It’s like the equivalent of how men are attracted to women with big boobs.”
“So, maybe you shouldn’t show your emotional cleavage, and then girls won’t be so quick to attach to you,” I challenged. “While men are turned on by the physical, women are turned on by the emotional connection. In the way women need to be wise in dressing modestly, and not exposing full frontal for all to see, men need to be careful in how much they expose of their emotional depth to women. I know you enjoy deep, meaningful conversations, which are good things, but maybe you just need to be careful how much you share with women. ”
“I’m sorry, Grace, but when it comes to emotionality, I’ve got to rock the two piece suit,” he snarkily remarked.
Since having this conversation with my guy friend, I’ve been thinking more about the differences between men and women. It’s good to have these kinds of conversations about our differences, and there’s also the necessity to be wise in dealing with opposite gender relationships in light of our differences. While I don’t have clear-cut answers about girl-guy friendships, which are often times difficult to navigate, this conversation made me think more about boundaries, and how to be wise in relating to the opposite gender. In the Church, where we are part of a bigger Family, and are considered brothers and sisters, I wonder about how we can best care for each other.
This conversation also inspired me to start reading His Brain, Her Brain: How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage by Walt and Barb Larimore, where they discuss the intrinsic differences between men and women. Even in our genetics, brain structure, and chemical makeup, there are distinctions between men and women. In a culture where gender differences are sometimes seen as being socially-constructed, this book shows the biological nature of our gender makeup, and how this affects us in the way we view the world, communicate, and relate to others. As a single woman, this book has helped me understand the different ways we’re wired to better relate to my guy friends, the men in my family, and my male coworkers, who are so different from me.
There’s that age-old question about whether girls and guys can just be friends. While I think there can be genuine platonic girl-guy friendships, I think there is also something that attracts one to the other, and for girls – sharing deeper emotionally breeds a deeper connection and attachment. So, we do need to be careful in how we approach these relationships, but also be open to the benefits of being brothers and sisters of one Family.