So I’ve been on Tumblr a lot recently, and this morning on my daily voyage I discovered a post describing a bunch of relationships, and I want to talk about some of them. The post in question is Relationships Anagnori Wants to See More of In Fiction. I blogged a while ago about how I fall in love with people easily. Basically:
I’ve been fixated on a past relationship (well, two relationships) for a long time now. I didn’t realize how long they lasted, or how long it’s been since the situations changed. One was a naive sort of “well, if that happened, I’d be really happy” and the other was a “I love this person so much.” I don’t even talk to one of them anymore, and that’s weird but it’s also kind of liberating.
In fiction, there’s such a stereotypical depiction of, “girl meets boy, boy saves girl, boy and girl live happily ever after,” or “boy meets girl, girl hates boy, they fight until they realize they’re soul mates.” Even stories that aren’t marketed as romance usually have a love interest. I don’t like it. I read a book recently, I can’t remember what, but it was this really cute romantic contemporary and the whole time, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can’t handle cute romance. It makes me feel bitter and suspicious.
“Female+female platonic relationships that are treated as special and important in the same way bromances are” is an interesting fictional dynamic. As a general rule, girls are more emotionally warm than boys, so it’s not that weird when we’re cuddly or affectionate with each other. (I bet lesbians have a really hard time making clear when they’re flirting.) It’s not that this relationship gets less exposure in fiction: it’s just treated lightly. It’s normal, it’s understated. “Yeah, they’re best friends, so what?” I love friendships like Anne and Diana. I wish we saw more of them.
The main relationship Anagnori mentioned that I want to talk about is, “Long-running close friendships between men and women, with no hint of sexual/romantic interest, ever.” This NEVER happens in fiction. My novel includes a man and a woman who have been best friends since elementary school, and they love each other very much, but they’ve never dated or even considered dating. I grew up with mostly male friends, and I don’t understand why there’s hardly any girls like that in fiction. If there is a tomboy, she suddenly blossoms and all her friends have the epiphany that she’s actually a girl. A lot of times, childhood best friends grow up and “realize” they’re in love. Or you have a boy and girl who have been best friends forever, and one of them is secretly in love with the other (say, Simon and Clary from The Mortal Instruments). And really, it’s any best friends now (there’s a nice example of that in TMI too). I don’t like the idea that best friends fall in love so much in fiction now, especially with LGBT fiction gaining popularity. You can be best friends who are best friends and not secret lovers. It’s not against the rules.
I guess I feel passionately about this because I’m a bit deficient emotionally. I’m the kind of person who wonders, “Do couples get pets first so that they can practice for children?” As though they have to learn to be affectionate and maternal/paternal. I think of very few people as friends. Sometimes, I kind of like that I mostly talk to people on social media because that way I can just close the tab if I need a minute. Is that pathetic?
All this makes the writing group I’m in very weird for me. I guess, once people have seen your writing, they’ve seen your naked soul, and how could you not be friends after that?