Frienemies: A Like Story

Frienemies: A Like Story

By Stephen Holmes

 The world lexicon is in perpetual flux. Imagine Snookie drunkenly berating one of her equals or lessers (wrap your mind around that for a moment) while using the Queen’s English. “Thou best not be speaking to me, skank!”

Even better, imagine an MLB player being ejected from a game for suggesting the umpire, “Fornicate with your own being and the noble steed on which you were transported!” Good, bad or indifferent, language evolves. As I SMH over all of the endless LOLs, I think of other modern phrases, some I still have to get my nephew to translate… TTYL?… WTF!!!!

I understand the term “frienemies” and what it implies, but I just don’t understand the concept.  In a guy’s world (especially guys over 40) there are no frienemies. We don’t even have enemies, we have friends, friends we don’t speak to right now and former friends. Any of the aforementioned categories are just five Jack Daniels away from transitioning to the other. An evening can begin with a few drinks between friends and end up with both bloodied and missing teeth and only transition to “not speaking right now” status. “Former friend” status would have to be invoked with inappropriate advances to ones mother (Jack D. can’t even transition this… a Super Bowl ticket is the only fix for this one).

There is only one situation where a man can have a frienemy – peace keeping.  When a man loves a woman he will put up with her friend’s asshole significant other. Whether it’s enduring a dinner as a couple or inviting the offender out with your boys, if a dude wants to get any sleep (or anything else), he will shut down all opinions and suck it up. Oh, it won’t be an easy evening for the asshole, but at least the attempt was made.

Male frienemies are rare because, well… we’re not that deep.  Our friendships are very meaningful, but we don’t feel the need to excavate deep beneath the surface.  We believe that problematic situations can be handled by fighting, drinking or avoidance. Is there a problem?  Let’s not talk about it!

Women want to analyze the subtext of relationships and give them, sometimes undeserved, nuances.  The over-thinking of friendships causes anxieties which creates new dictionary entries. It’s ironic that Gertrude Stein wrote what should very well be the male motto, “A rose, is a rose, is a rose,”  This was her way of saying, “ it is, what it is,” and how male a concept is that?


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