Toronto
3 min

Next lifetime

There is this game that you play only with your very close friends, and sometimes on late sleepless nights by yourself.  It’s the game that you play after you have consumed one too many glasses of wine. You know the one. The possible-maybe list of which of your circle of friends you like a bit more than you should. If there were an alternate reality in which regretful or embarrassing repercussions did not exist, who would you already have attempted an affair with?

It’s not about shitting where you eat, because who wants that kind of drama on purpose? The reason you’re asking yourself the question is because there are certain friends, just the odd one or two, that get under your skin.  Whenever you’re around them you find your platonic feelings spilling over into sexual energy and intense-attraction territory. This becomes even more dangerous if the feelings are returned on the other end.

It’s subtle, but it’s there when you hug and it lasts a few seconds too long, there are meaningful glances, and friendly pecks on the lips have an undercurrent of desire. Group outings are group outings because the two of you can’t hang out with each other alone. That would just be too awkward. Everything is said but not said. This way, it’s easier to pretend nothing at all is going on. It’s the elephant in the friendship that you both bump into whenever you see each other.

It’s supposed to be simple. Why do we even have these ridiculous interactions that have the potential to get us into hot water? Friends do friend things — they go to the movies or the club, they help each other move, they have a shared sense of humour and watch the same television shows (like, ahem, The Big Bang Theory).

But then there’s that one — or maybe more than one — friend with whom there is a hint of something more. You find yourself interested even though it makes no sense that you are, and your attraction continues to grow bigger and bigger because you can’t seem to help yourself. Whenever you see that person, you get ideas. You start to wonder. You play out scenarios in your head where the excuse “It just happened” could be used in the aftermath. 

Who would think that the spoiled, American Apparel–wearing, self-absorbed, I-want-it-and-I’m-going-to-get-it generation would care about crossed lines and emotional fallouts?

In the less than 40 minutes it takes for a pizza to be delivered, you can order tangle-free sex on Craigslist and have it standing at your door: hot, horny and ready to go. We are supposed to be too hipster to be vulnerable; we are supposed to be blasé about uncool things like emotional exposure. We have nurtured an attitude of not caring and developed social masks that show nothing about how we actually feel. So do we really care about crossed boundaries ?

And yet we do. 

Friends are the family that we choose, and as anybody who’s ever watched The Godfather knows, you do not fuck with the family.

Even so, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  I don’t want to be an asshole just because I have feelings for someone I should be having purely platonic friendship with. 

I think about her more than I should and flirt with her more than is permissible. And maybe she has feelings for me, too. You can’t name the elephant because that would mean admitting it’s there, and there’s simply too much to lose.

It’s a lovership instead of a friendship. How come there isn’t a handbook for queer women on what to do if you fall for your friend? If there is a book for straight women advising them on what to do when he’s just not that into you, there should be a book for situations like this. Especially since it’s really difficult to avoid somebody in a community the size of a fishbowl.

So how do I resolve this? How does anybody in a tricky situation like this resolve it? The only solution I’ve come up with thus far is what Miss Erykah Badu, who may have been in a similar predicament herself, said:

“I guess I’ll see you next lifetime. No hard feelings; I’m gonna be there next lifetime.”