On occasion some of my girlfriends have had the bad taste and desperation to use me as a conduit to get themselves a date or two with the male friends I’ve had. These realizations came as a surprise to me. Maybe I’m naïve to this reality, but truly, I think I prefer to be naïve in these cases. Mostly, I’ve just trusted people to be honest and to hold my best interest in sway with their own if not higher than their own. The cruel reality is many people would sell their grandmother into prostitution if it meant that they could secure a few moments of happiness for themselves. I have contemplated what it might mean to live in such a world, where there are such easy sales on essential relationships.
One thing has come to me. Friendship. Amistad. Brotherhood. Sisterhood. These are the answers. These are abundant and giving and one cannot have too many partners in these types of relationships if one is willing. These relationships may evoke jealousy among its participants. I’ve seen this too, yet generally the explosions are a bit smaller and not as permanently destructive as romantic relationships. While I, admittedly, have often hidden behind friendships with men, I have also benefited profoundly from them. I would say I have benefited more than many of my own sex. Men understand things, do things and describe things in ways I am challenged by. Because I like to partner up things and fit people and pieces together, I delight in the particular contributions men make to the whole. But in order to do this well, I would near kill myself should I be banished to working closely with only one man and relate to the rest of the world through him. The stereotypical image of a Muslim woman’s world would drive me mad. This aspect of my own culture of origin drove me mad. Yet in this culture of the “free,” I find many women and men choosing to see the other sex only through the eyes of the possibility of ultimate copulation. I figured out, with one girlfriend, that she was strangely and violently repulsed by one portion of available males she encountered. The remaining portion she dated or had some sort of sexual relationship with. Another woman struggled with placing a man who was not her husband into sexual partner possibility category, when he was clearly blessing her in a father-to-daughter relationship.
As for my one friend who would have sold me up the river for a fling with my male friend, well, she got married to another. And guess what, I’m still his friend. And the blessing is that I get to share with him in his joys and sorrows. I was invited to the wedding. I celebrated their children with them. But she can’t. She lit the wrong fire and it went bang.
It was painful to find out that she intended to deceive me and snatch away from me something I held with an open hand. It is the parable of the gift given but stolen a moment before it is offered. We have spoken, my friend and I. We have both wept over this passing on of betrayal. We have forgiven. Yet all the more, I have resolved to make the pursuit of brotherhood and sisterhood my highest banner. But how can one fly such a banner in a world that has no category for brother or for sister? Comrades! Come! Fight on! He who called us his friends bids us come and join him.