February 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 75  

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PFOs be warned

By Mark Polishuk
Gazette Staff

There sure is a lot of talk about sex in this Sex Issue of The Gazette. All this focus on sex does a disservice to the best kind of male-female relation: the platonic friendship.

I’m sure some of you are confused by this, recalling that speech from When Harry Met Sally when Billy “Sally” Crystal said that “no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.”

Please allow me to retort. Some of my best friends are women and I’ve even occasionally been the heralded token guy in a group of girls, which is a pretty tough job to get if you’re a heterosexual male.

Some men might consider these relations to be a waste of time due to the lack of sex, but that’s not to say that sex does not play a role in the platonic friendship. Plenty of friendships have blossomed into love; for a fictional example, take Chandler and Monica from Friends. As they explained to womanizing Joey, their friendship served as a foundation for their romance.

And even if nothing ever happens between you and your female pal, you can at least exploit this connection to gain valuable insight into the womanly mind. For example, one of my gal pals recently told me that women can now vote in Canada, so immediately I figured that “Hey, I can meet women at polling stations. Score!”

This isn’t to say there aren’t pitfalls. For example, it’s nice to be notified when a friendship is simply platonic. It’s never good when you’re out with a girl on what you had thought was a date and it suddenly dawns on you that she isn’t romantically interested in you. Congratulations: you’ve just been abducted by a PFO — Platonic Friendship Outing — and, unfortunately, there’s no probing in sight.

But even still, all is not lost. Any man can be platonic friends with a woman he lusts after; the trick is suppression. Thinking about baseball is a time-honoured male trick for “calming things down.” So the next time you’re out on a PFO with the girl of your dreams, think of former Blue Jays reliever Jim Acker. Imagine him sitting in front of his locker after blowing yet another game, clad only in his underwear, eating a huge sandwich. If that doesn’t put out the fire, nothing will. I think the Catholic Church is using pictures of Acker as their new way of keeping priests celibate.

So in summation, there is no shame in having a platonic friendship. If you’re still looking for a good reason, at least it sticks it to Billy Crystal. Damn you, Crystal! City Slickers II was extraneous!



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