I’m a 30-something woman and my best friend is a guy. We talk and text day and night and I truly adore him. All our friends think we should be dating, but I don’t feel sexually attracted to him. I agree that we’d otherwise make a perfect couple. Can chemistry grow or be built? –Bestie
There’s no such thing as a one-night friendship and for good reason – because friendship is based on trust, fondness and mutual respect, not on how the other person’s butt fills out a pair of pants.
And though you might love your friend as a human being, loving him as something more won’t work unless you also feel a little short of breath when you see him bend over. Unfortunately, this isn’t a feeling you can practice and get better at like the clarinet. Who you have the hots for is partly borne of history, like when a guy’s lip curl pings up your tween longing for the older bad boy next door. There are also some evolved “human universals” at play in attraction, like how women across cultures tend to prefer a man who’s taller than they are. And even your immune system seems to have a say. Research by Switzerland’s Claus Wedekind and others suggests we evolved to be attracted to the scent of a partner with an immune system dissimilar to our own – one that would combine forces with ours to make a baby with a broad set of defenses against infection and disease.
Though you (and others aspiring to be attracted to somebody they’re fond of) surely mean well, you can’t give sexual bonus points to somebody for being a good person. It’s actually cruel to get romantic with somebody you aren’t attracted to, and biology doesn’t help matters. The hormone-driven heat of the naked and new is easily mistaken for attraction, but it’s actually just a temporary biochemical Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Before long, your newly beloved will be about as appealing a sex partner as your desk lamp, and you’ll be mulling over whether you’d rather get it on or snip off a few of your toes with rusty bolt cutters.
Ask yourself something: Why do you have to be all “let’s take this to the next level” anyway? Romantic partners often crow about the wonderfulness of their relationship by saying they’re “best friends.” You already have that. And frankly, platonic has its benefits, like how there’s no canceling plans because it’s “that time of the month” or you accidentally dyed your hair the color of Bozo’s ugly shoes. And ultimately, two people are far more likely to “grow old together” if they aren’t the sort of best friends who have sex, which comes with all sorts of risks and complications. (Note that reality TV shows have titles like “Wives with Knives” and not “Best Friends Chasing Each Other with Hatchets,” and the detective on “The First 48” never says, “Yeah, whenever somebody dies of suspicious causes, the first one we look at is the BFF.”)
© 2015, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon. Order Amy Alkon’s new book, “Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck” (St. Martin’s Press, June 3, 2014).