Friendship's End

(This entry contains slang sexual references.)

Mark and I got together a lot until we both moved to other parts of the country, and didn’t see one another for twenty-five years. What follows is the post mortem of our friendship, not that I am in a position--a month after it ended--to fully understand what happened, or to know if I might have done better.

I wrote:
You wrote that you seldom use your Frequent Flyer mileage. Maybe we could cut a deal.

Mark wrote:
Now when did you start needing somebody like me to foot your travel? Get online, find some rich ole horny woman to fly you wherever you want to go! You still throw down don’t you? That’s my plan when I get to be your age.

I wrote:
If I had something I didn’t want, and you did want it, I would either give it to you or sell it to you. Such is what I had in mind. Why would you throw something away rather than to let someone else have it?

Mark wrote:
I’m just busting your chops. I’m just trying to accumulate enough to get platinum status. That’s when the perks really kick in...

I wrote:
Busting my chops? Yes, the image of being hit in the mouth fits.

Several weeks ago, I suggested accompanying you on one of your foreign trips, if you would have time away from work for me. This was a significant way for me to reach out to you as I rarely leave the county much less the country. My image was of us having fun together while broadening our intellectual horizons and renewing our face-to-face friendship. Your response was to ask why should you want to go with me when you could go with your latest piece of ass.

I was reminded of the time I drove to Missouri to see a friend who had moved there from Mississippi. As it turned out, he had no time for me because he had a new honey. When I complained, he assured me that he liked me, but that, after all, why would he want to be with someone who looked like me when he could be with someone who looked like her.

I concluded that you are of the same mind, that a male friend is only of value as a diversion when you are between females. I gave up any thought of ever going out of my way to see you, and I questioned whether it was even worthwhile to write to someone who holds me—as a male—in so little esteem.

You wrote that you DIDN’T use your frequent flyer miles because they were too much hassle. Peggy and I go out of our way to accumulate such miles, and she, at least, uses them to visit her family. When I suggested that you either sell or give them to us, you implied that I’m a freeloader. When I asked why you preferred to throw away something you didn't use as opposed to letting someone else use it, you said that you DO use your frequent flyer miles. Why?

Mark wrote:
Well, there is an unwritten rule among men that opportunities to get laid have to be observed, so I can completely understand if a friend wants to spend time with his woman vs. time with his male friends. As far as male friends, they are nice, we get together once a month to drink beer and yak, but I spend probably 10 times more time with my female friends. So yeah, I guess I am of the same mind in some regards.

So what have you got against just going out and buy a plane ticket like 95% of people who fly? You aren’t the one putting up with the bullshit security, cramped seats, crappy food, delays, cancellations, lost luggage, etc... so the one little perk I do have is an opportunity to upgrade with the miles I do have. Once I get platinum status life only gets better, and you want me to give that up? *ahem*...

I wrote:
“I guess I am of the same mind…”

This is very sad for me to know, and strikes me as an awfully shallow way to live. If you should ever reach a point in your life at which you value friendship over orgasms, I’ll be here.

Mark wrote:
Okay, shallow and laid, or intellectual and unlaid... that is the question... it might help to explain why there aren’t many intellectual people out there.

I wrote:
“Okay, shallow and laid, or intellectual and unlaid... that is the question...”

No, that is not the question. The question has nothing to do with how much a man knows about any number of particular subjects. The question is one of values, of character. No one can be friends with a drug addict because a drug addict will betray him. Women are your drug. You say you are of “the same mind” as Carlos, the man I visited in Missouri. Carlos was excited about my visit until he found a girlfriend. By saying that you are of “the same mind,” you are telling me that I am of no more importance to you than I was to him. You are telling me that you are willing to betray a male friend in a heartbeat, and not even because you LOVE a particular woman, but simply to get inside her pussy. A male is nothing to you; a female is something to masturbate into. Since you are of “the same mind” as Carlos, what happened to me when I visited him might just as easily happen to me if I visited you. Aside from the frequent flyer mileage and which time you were being dishonest (whether you don’t use it or whether you value it highly as a recompense for all your airline related suffering), you are telling me that, as a male, I should accept my unimportance to you as an “unwritten rule.”

You called me one night several years ago, and called me brother. That meant a great deal to me, maybe the moreso because the only brother I ever had was a half brother who chose not to have any relationship with me. I imagined that it meant a great deal to you too. Now you tell me that you are no better than a man who, if a slab of pussy was on one side of a balance scale and a longtime friend on the other, he would grab the pussy.

At 59, my lust for women has diminished greatly. Things about them that drove me crazy years ago now strike me as empty or even silly. Hormones clouded my view. They made that which was of little rational importance appear to have paramount importance. I can well understand why I betrayed Peggy (just as I can understand why you would betray your male friends). Lust can feel as urgent to extinguish as having your hair on fire. Peggy could never understand its power over my life. I can understand its power over your life. However, I can also tell you in complete sincerity that lust caused me to value the trifling over the profound. It caused me to betray a good woman for a string of sluts, and it caused me count my male friendships as less interesting, profound, and important than my female friendships (i.e. my latest piece of ass). Now, I don’t miss any of those women, but I miss my male friends (some of whom are dead) terribly. True friendship is of infinitely greater value than pussy; and male-to-male friendships are, at their best, of greater value than male-to-female friendships, because women will ever be like an alien species to us.

I have often been impressed by your empathy and compassion toward suffering animals, and I know that these virtues are permanent whereas your lust for women is largely hormonal and therefore temporary. Yet, for now, you have told me straight-out that you place little value on our friendship. What would you have me do with that information? I could hang around hoping that you don’t mean it, but I have found that people generally do mean what they say when they are telling me something that they know I won’t like hearing. Or, I could say that it’s okay that you don’t value me, but that would mean that I don’t value myself. My other option would be to think of you as someone who I also hold in little value, but we go back too far—and were once, I thought, too close—for that. While you were never my best friend, you were my good friend, and I imagined that you valued me similarly. Ironically, if I had never made a move toward becoming closer to you—by visiting—none of this would have come up, and I would have been left thinking that you valued me more than you do.


All Consuming said...

I find your honesty here quite profound. And very necessary, not only in this case but in the evalutaion of all our relationships as we get older, if we are lucky we do it earlier, if later, then I think that at worst we have some clarity finally on what we believed people were in contrast to what they actually are to us. A very close friend of mine called it " cutting out the dead wood" At the time I thought it harsh, I was 21. I have since found that cutting that dead wood out makes everything a little clearer. x

Snowbrush said...

The cutting out the dead wood analogy is provocative in that its a permanent solution, and it therefore behooves one to be sure the wood is dead. I still don't know if I did right regarding this relationship. My former friend afterwards sent me a cartoon about the all-accepting quality of "Southern" friendship (we are both from Mississippi), and I responded briefly but lovingly. He hasn't written since.