A First Time For Everything

I’ve never watched According to Jim. Never in my life.

Until last night. The combination of my work procrastination and the fact that the reruns come on after Friends amounted to me on the couch in front of the Jim Belushi comedy. And I’m so glad it did.

The episode was about how Jim’s wife wants to take him to musicals and do other “friend activities” together because her BFF just had a baby. Jim, eager to get out of this new “pal” role—and to never see another Cats—takes on the task of finding his wife a gay best friend. “A guy who will do with her all the things I don’t want to do.”

Of course I loved everything about this concept. First of all, I always appreciate the recognition that your husband can’t necessarily fill the role of BFF. No one person can be everything, and that includes a husband. I adore mine, but if he were my only companion I wouldn’t have had anyone to see Harry Potter with me this weekend, or to keep me company for the Friday Night Lights finale (which I’ve now watched twice, by the way. Perfect). Matt’s not a fan of either (big mistake). Without pals, I would have no one for girl talk or celebrity gossip. And, as this According to Jim episode pointed out, when married women have other friends, everybody wins. She has someone for girl talk or musicals, and the husband gets out of girl talk and musicals. No brainer, right?

I was also quite enamored of the whole gay BFF theme of the show, as I want one. I have plenty of gay friends, but no Will Truman, that’s for sure. An old friend of mine who works in the gay rights advocacy field was in town last night. She has plenty of gay male BFFs and has sung the praises of this oh-so-special relationship.

So, just as Jim did for his wife, shouldn’t Matt be out courting my new BFF as I type? It could only benefit everyone. Just saying.

What do you think about the whole husband-should-be-BFF thing? Should your spouse be your best friend, hands down? Or do other people need to round out the social circle? And, do you have a gay BFF? I’d love to hear your take on that very special friendship.


Filed under The Search

16 responses to “A First Time For Everything

  1. jay

    A gay man is not a pet. When you say “I want one”, it sounds like you are commodifying a person based on one aspect of their character.

    • I didn’t interpret the post as wanting a gay man as a pet or commodity. Rachel has written about having guy friends before, but how there’s often underlying sexual tension, so it stands to reason that she may want a male friend who isn’t also trying to get into her pants.

    • Matilda

      Please get off your high horse and take some time to read Rachel’s blog over the past year plus (and her book too when it comes out on January 12, 2012, pre-order now available – the gay man/straight female friendship is briefly discussed). Rachel has talked about how she wants non-white friends, non-Jewish friends, writer friends, athletic friends, shopping friends, last-minute friends, work friends, Harry Potter friends, single friends, couple friends, friends with and without babies, lesbian friends (which I assume receives the most support from her husband), and friends with one leg (ok I made the last one up). Believe it or not, she’s never been accused of treating them like pets.

    • I have to agree with jay here. The way many women seem to covet “gay BFFs” — and announce it — really makes me uncomfortable. Choosing people to have relationships with is not about checking off demographic boxes (“Let’s see, I’ve got one Hispanic, one Asian, one homosexual…”) but about getting to know a WHOLE person and hopefully clicking with them. I have called out my own two best girl friends on this exact issue. And while I know they, like Rachel, do not mean to imply that they are auditioning gay men in the hopes of filling a certain role in their lives, the fact is that it kinda sounds like they do.

      If there is concern about underlying sexual tension with friends of the opposite sex, then let THAT be the qualifying factor (“I wish I could have a close relationship with one of my male friends without any sexual/romantic tension getting in the way”) — rather than sexual orientation.

      // end 2 cents

      As for the whole sig-other-as-BFF issue — I think it’s important for romantic partners to be there for each other in the way that friends would, but it’s equally important for romantic partners to have lives (and meaningful relationships) apart from each other. The alternative can too easily lead to co-dependence. Now, those “meaningful relationships” can come in a variety of forms (siblings, parents, friends, coworkers, children) but I think the more of them there are, the less pressure there is on the romantic relationship to be the be-all-end-all of either person’s life.

      Bah, this whole comment is so SERIOUS… Fuzzy purple turducken!!!

      There, that’s better.

  2. Aw, Matt doesn’t like FNL? The whole reason I got into that show was because of my boyfriend. And he started watching it because his best guy friend recommended it.

    I definitely don’t think a SO should also be your BFF. I mean I’ll say my boyfriend is my best friend. But my BFF? Definitely not. He won’t go for a mani/pedi with me, isn’t as into shopping as I am, doesn’t want to hear my frustrations about why we’re not engaged already, won’t dish the latest gossip and won’t sit on the couch watching a Lifetime movie marathon with me. Sometimes you just need a girlfriend.

    I know a couple girls who have nothing but gay men as friends. They have super strong friendships and, like your friend, sing the praises of these friendships, but these girls are really struggling to date. They hang out mostly in gay bars with their BFFs, and if they go elsewhere, most guys are too intimidated by a girl surrounded by a bunch of guys to approach them.

  3. This reminds me of when I’m trying on clothes to go out for the evening and I ask my husband for fashion advice and he says, “You know I’m not a girl, right?”

    He says I’m his best friend, and I think that’s really sweet, but I think it’s essential for the health of a relationship to have BFFs (male or female) in your life.

  4. Krystal

    I love love love this! No, I don’t think a husband should be your only BFF. There are things we need, like venting, eating a pound of ice cream (and because we shared it doesn’t have calories) watching Grey’s. all of those things are a realm where a BFF is allowed not necessarily a husband. We need time away from our partners we need time to truly appreciate what they bring to the table, but making friends, especially a new BFF is seemingly impossible. Keep writing. I love this blog!!!!!

  5. Haha I remember that episode, According to Jim is a good show! My family and I used to watch it a lot.

  6. Julie

    I have no idea how to articulate what an interesting and fun experience it is, having a close gay friend. We were good pals before he came out, and while I’d like to say the dynamics haven’t changed at all, the truth is it’s made the friendship feel “lighter.” He’s still HIM, of course, but the revelation removes any aspect of sexual tension and the possibility of misunderstood intentions.

  7. Laurie Lee

    My hubby doesn’t have the patience to dwell and analyze the dynamics of a situation for hours and express feelings about said situation like my GFs. That’s what GFs are for! He does like to go shopping but he’s def NOT gay. He will tell me the truth about how something looks on me with his diplomatic “It doesn’t do you justice” if it is unflattering.

    Husbands can’t replace GFs. One of the reasons I’ve been married a long time is that I’ve always had my own friends and interests.

  8. Tonya

    This is a very interesting topic, Rachel! I have several friends that are in long-term relationships and a few that are married. I’m single by the way.

    Sometimes I get agitated when friends and I meet to hang out and they immediately “unload” all their issues regarding their relationship into my lap. Not one warning to the blast fest…they say hi and off they go. I’m your friend so I get it, but sometimes it feels as they’re using our time together just to vent. Isn’t that what a personal journal is for? Other times I feel as if I’m a “filler.” For example, I won’t see a few of my friends unless their SO is out of town or having a boys’ night out. Though I’m grateful to spend time with a friend when our schedules are able to sync, I would like for our “girl” time not to revolve around the SO’s schedule. Do you have friends who do this? If so, how do you handle that type of behavior? I have had a sit down with a couple of friends, but it’s not quite sinking in. I think there should be a balance in friendship. Just like no one likes a negative nellie, no one wants a one-dimensional friend either.

    Oh and I swear I’m not trying to be dense, but when you say that your SO is your best friend why can’t you complain to him about whatever’s bothering you? Is he just your best friend in theory?

    • Laurie Lee

      I’m married and that “hubby’s outta town or boys night out” would annoy me too if that’s the only time a friend wants to get together.

  9. Cami

    Hi Rachel
    Do you ever watch Hot in Cleveland? You should watch it this week. One of the ladies is trying to find a GBFF (Gay best friend forever)

  10. Gale

    Hi Rachel, I just found your blog — and did I ever need it! I’m married also, but to a woman (yes, I’m a woman too), and that doesn’t keep me from needing a BFF as well. We moved to a big southern city (her from Europe, me from San Francisco) 7 years ago, and I’m having an awful time finding a close friend. I’ve met lots of people, but it’s been very difficult to find people my age (considerably older than you!) open to a new friendship. That said, I have met people through my (younger) DW, and some of the nicest and most friendly are indeed gay. I’ll take a GBFF any day!

  11. I am lucky enough to have a GBFF. He was my Man of Honor at my wedding and he is basically my favorite person besides my husband. I have to say, he made my wedding day so special and took care of everything for me, even better than my own sisters, who were also maids of honor! He even spent the last night before the wedding with me (we had a mini slumber party together and giggled all night) and sat with me while I got my hair/makeup done the day of the wedding. He is not a super feminine guy but I can say/do anything with him, even girlie things.
    I am grateful my husband has no problems with my relationship to my GBFF. I could easily see a man being uncomfortable with my close relationship with another man, even if he is gay. Things between us are just magical and easy and fun, and we often go into our own little world which can be off putting at times to other friends. But my husband supports the fact that I have found a BFF.
    Now if only I could find a way to get my GBFF to move away from LA and come be with me in Chicago…that is the only bummer in this equation and the reason I too am still on the hunt for a BFF in Chicago! It is hard not having him around all the time like I used to…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s