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I feel "bloggy" today....

Posted 08-05-2009 at 12:47 PM by geaugeausmom
Updated 08-05-2009 at 01:04 PM by geaugeausmom

Being without internet services certainly cramps my style; and, then, when I get back to my blog, I really get verbose.

I've been thinking about friends: how does one become a friend; what does friendship mean? what can cause a friendship to collapse; how can one know if a friendship is truly just that--a friendship?

This will sound silly, but I truly have several BFF's.

I am surrounded by friends who truly care for and about me; they range from the east coast to the west coast; from Texas to Montana. I know that if I were sick or injured, I could call on any one of them and expect to be coddled and cared for.

However, twice in my long life, I have been deserted by people who, I thought, were unshakeable friends. Despite the many people that I call friends, I still find a hole in my heart that these two filled.

The first was my college roommate. We had been roommates for two years and were inseparable. We wore each others clothing and jewelry, we double-dated, we shared secrets--I even had to tell her that she would not get pregnant from French kissing. I had to teach her that one does not "unbeat" eggs back to their natural state if one turns the egg beater around. She and her boyfriend introduced me to his roommate, and the four of us became inseparable as well as engaged. She was to marry a week before I; I was to be her maid of honor; she was to be my matron of honor. Two weeks before her wedding, she called to tell me that it was off; also, to tell me that she would not be coming to my wedding. My heart was truly broken. After that, she would not take my phone calls. My new husband and I went to her home; she would not see me. I met her crossing the college campus one day; she turned her head and refused to speak. To this day, 53 years later, I still have not the slightest inkling of an idea as to what happened. To this day, I still hurt deeply whenever I think of her and our lost friendship.

The second lost friendship has occurred fairly recently. Since I lost my husband 10 years ago, I've been really skittish about becoming friends with men because I don't want to be seen as a predator or as a needy woman. Therefore, several years ago when I was approached by a gentleman in a rather off-hand fashion, I responded in kind. Over a few months, if I were sitting outside, he would drop over and we would chat. If he were running into town,he would ask if I would like to go; if he found a particularly interesting celestial site on his telescope, he would invite me to share. When a group event was planned, we would attend together. When we parted for the summer, we exchanged email addresses, and wrote each other from time to time. Nothing romantic, just pure and simple friendship. The next year, when we re-met, he was even more attentive, inviting me on "dates?", escorting me to group functions, bringing me little gifts from here, there and yonder. People began to call us an "item." Neither of us knew what that meant; we were just friends; nothing intimate, nothing romantic; just more and more togetherness. Upon parting that summer, we exhanged phone numbers and talked several times over the next few months. Upon meeting up again the next winter. things had become a bit more intense with our spending more and more time together and doing fun things. I truly valued this gentleman. He is kind, compassionate, gentle, giving, caring, sharing. Then, one day I noticed that he seemed decidedly cool. Since we are of an age and have our aches and pains, I thought he was probably not feeling well and dismissed his coolness. Then he backed out of a dinner that I had cooked for him with a really lame excuse; then, suddenly, there were no more outings; obvious avoidance, etc., all the signs of "goodbye." No longer willing to have friends leave my life without an explanation, I went to him and flat out asked what had happened. I was not looking for romance, committment, permanence--just plain old friendship. He hemmed and hawed and kept saying the old "It's not you it's me" mantra. Bullshit! Something had happened, and I had to find out what.

As a trained psychiactric nurse, I know how to question until I get what I want, and I've learned that silences speak volumes. I worked back over the past weeks, and suddenly had an idea. I really could pinpoint the time his behavior began.

I have never been coy or shy about my age. I am 70 years old and wear my age very well (good genes). I have never minded letting people know that "I yam what I yam." I recalled one evening sitting with him and another fellow (who has yet to grow up) and saying something about my age. He looked at me and said, "You're not 70." Oh, yes, don't you remember coming to my b'day party?" The other guy yelled, "SEVENTY! You can't be that old. " Oh, yes, I am. Nothing more was said on the subject, but later I recalled the conversation and began to wonder if my age had anything to do with it. While talking to him that evening, this idea hit me again, so I asked him his age (he's completely bald, has a faceful of white beard, walks bent over from back problems). I just assumed that he was near my age. He would not tell me his age, nor would he look me in the eye, but I just kept pushing and pushing, until he ducked his head and mumbled, "56." Talk about being floored! I tried not to react visibly, but that right there told me what had happened. His immature friend had teased him about the "cougar," and he was foolish enough to let it affect our friendship. He even went so far as to say, "I never meant to insult you."

I talked to him at length about friendship and what it means to me and how age has nothing to do with it and how friendship can be just that and nothing more. I have several BFF's who are in their early 50's. Is it so different for men than for women? Of course, I realize there is that whole sexual thing, but this friendship was not sexual or even romantic. I tried to make him understand that at age 70, I am not ready to lose friends; to death is bad enough, but for silly non-reasons, it is even worse.

I think that men are more affected by the opinions of their male peers than are women. I cannot imagine dropping a friendship just because another "friend" teased me about about it. In spite of his saying that we would remain good friends, those were words; as far as he is concerned, I no longer exist. That just breaks my heart. I feel as bereft as if he had died; maybe even more so, because it was so unnecessary.To respect his tacit wishes, and to avoid being seen as a stalking cougar, I now no longer email him those funny little tid bits that come my way, I no longer send him words, and I no longer put him in the position of having to be polite to me when we meet. But I still think of him daily and wonder what he is doing and how he is doing and if we will ever be friends again.
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  1. Old Comment
    RonNBama's Avatar
    Well written and sad. :-(
    Posted 08-05-2009 at 06:32 PM by RonNBama RonNBama is offline
  2. Old Comment
    I had enjoyed your blog until this entry. It made me sad to say the least. I would be proud to be your friend from what I have read and he was an idot!
    Posted 01-30-2010 at 02:10 PM by FATMANAR FATMANAR is offline
  3. Old Comment
    TMarsh's Avatar
    I am so sorry this happened to you both! The pain of losing a friend can be great. Losing a friend because of something that shouldn't matter is enormously sad. Thank you for sharing with us as you do. That is the sign of an invitation to friendship; perhaps we'll meet along the way somewhere!
    Posted 03-13-2010 at 06:01 PM by TMarsh TMarsh is offline
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