Monday, October 25, 2010

You're My Friend



My old buddy Hank used to read his poem, "You're Not A Man, You're My Friend" each month at Joe's Diner during open mike night. It was a hit among disaffected men tired of hearing the old female saw, I just don't think of you in that way. Can we be friends? Hank, a brilliant performer, managed to hit a high note at the crescendo ending about not needing any additional friends, a note that gave bitterness its due. As lifelong friends, Hank and I often discussed the troubles of love. I adored his first real girlfriend, a worldly woman (she was older and much more experienced than us) who had two kids and flaming red dreadlocks. I did not, however, like his next one, a scarily tall Grace Kelly-type who I referred to, rather unkindly, as "that square-faced bitch." Alas, he had worse monikers for my loves who were routinely dismissed as a group of dimwits and assclowns. I didn't know how right Hank was -- one of my exes claims to love Glenn Beck. Dear reader, I'd be less appalled if he'd admitted he had bodies in his crawl space. Glenn Beck? The follies of my youth haunt me . . .

Hank and I also talked about the window men have for not becoming just a friend, a fate he claimed worse than an STD. We both agreed -- women put men in the friend box pretty quickly. The confidante. The one they talk to about other men who are treating them poorly. What fun for these lucky souls! Also, we agreed that listening, that rare quality even in those foggy pre-internet days, was a precious talent that women didn't appreciate. Remember that old deodorant ad -- Never let them see you sweat? Well, there should be an addition -- Never listen to them whine. Of course, I've been in the opposite role, the girl who gets to hear about what a bitch so and so is and yet, how compelling so and so is, and why can't she act right? Well, if she acted right, you probably would dump her ass. I didn't say this, of course. I lied. That's what we friends do, male and female. We tell pretty versions of love. Of course, Hank became a blues man. He never had a talent for that kind of bullshit so he went for the one career where truth-telling is prized, a kind of continual Love Is contest with guitar. Of course, like lots of blues guys, he died young. But truth, the kind that makes you shake your head in recognition, lives beyond all the graves.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Ain't no blues except between a man and a woman that's in love." Son House

Cocktail Hour
Been watching The Big C. Will do a post as soon as the season is over.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

5 comments:

Shea Goff said...

I am so grateful Hank lives through your words.

A great male friend of mine and I got in a debate about twenty years ago. He proposed that in order to get animals to mate all you had to do was put 'em together. A man and a woman left locked in a room would eventually succumb to their primal urges.

I was in my early twenties and told him that was clearly not the case. I didn't know about his farm animals but I knew good and darn well I'd starve to death before ever having sex with him.

Maybe we never did 'cause I always needed to be right. Nonetheless, I am sure glad we didn't because to this day I consider him one of my dearest friends.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been a "friend" a few times. Glad I managed at last to move past that.

corporalski said...

I heard a 'guy' metaphor about this not long ago...it went as I recall, she's got his "dick under glass."

the walking man said...

Neither friend nor foe but teller of truth. Non judgmental objectivity is a developed characteristic I wish I had never come across. It kills passions.

Anonymous said...

Being a friend pays off once you get older and prove why you deserved it in the first place.

Trying to force what is not there or what you think is there truly sucks.