It seems people are always prepared to assume the worst, both in real life and in film. While it is true that of late, latent homosexual undertones have pervaded quite a few costume dramas (like the creepy scene in The Duchess), some of them depict nothing more than genuine friendships. Unfortunately, society has become so suspicious and paranoid that even an innocent relationship can be seen as having mild overtones. One such friendship takes place in The Edge of Love, a recent BBC production with an all-star cast about a poet, his wife, his childhood friend, and how everyone is connected through different levels of relationships. It’s one of the odder movies I have seen in awhile and never really grabbed me, but that’s beside the point.
In reading through different things and even the response some Christians had to the film, I kept catching remarks about the relationship between the two women. I have had close friendships all my life. Girls are touchy. They like leaning and whispering and painting each other’s toenails and giggling and curling up next to one another. They are fully aware of how attractive all of them are and don’t mind it. They joke around and are playful. That doesn’t make them lesbians. What I saw in this film is normal female behavior. The only thing that makes it “not normal” is our modern day perceptions of it, which intends to read more into it than there needs to be. In the past, you saw two girls together arm in arm and you thought nothing of it. Now you pause and wonder if they are just friends or something more. Society is quick to assume the latter rather than the former, even with a lack of evidence.
It saddens me to see this happening, to see assumptions being made that make young women so cautious of giving the wrong appearance that they are not themselves with one another, or as free with their friendship as they might have been otherwise. No one wants to be considered something they are not, but in doing this society is in actuality repressing its greatest asset — relationships. By assuming something cannot be platonic, that all love must equate to sexual desire (which cheapens it), and that two people cannot be fond of one another without being physically involved, they are missing the truly wonderful gift God has given us: kindred spirits. It is as if modern society does not understand friendships any longer, so it looks at some of the greatest friendships out there and injects a homosexual undertone, when that is not true at all.
There is “friendship-chemistry” and “sexual-chemistry,” and the two are not one and the same. Friendship chemistry is when you meet someone and just know you are going to be friends. Everything clicks. You are individuals but alike. You have similar tastes in some things, different tastes in others, but somehow never seem to argue about anything. It excites you to spend time with, talk to, or communicate with that person. You can walk through a store and know instinctively what she will like most. You know what will make her laugh or feel special. You see something she would like and buy it for her because it’s too good to pass up. You send her cards “just because” and care packages for no other reason than that you happened to be thinking about her that day. Furthermore, you share the same spiritual vibe and understand where each other are coming from. A truly “epic” friendship means knowing one another makes you better people.
God created relationships for a reason. He gives us romance and he gives us friendship. Sometimes, the two intersect (and that is what makes the best marriage) but while you should be, and usually are, best friends with your spouse, you do not usually “fall in love” with your best (same sex) friend. Society confuses feelings of admiration and love for something else. I have seen it happen. Young people are especially vulnerable, because we experience feelings so strongly. I “love” my girl friends, but that doesn’t mean I want to be romantically involved with them. Society would look at some of my friendships and raise its eyebrows. It would speculate and encourage me to “pursue” it further. But that’s not what I want. I have what I want: awesome friendships. Two people can be profoundly close without desiring each other physically. It’s a deep, meaningful friendship that sadly most people will never experience because of how society will view it, or how they have been brought up to perceive it. Sometimes my closeness to my friends makes me self-conscious and I have nothing to hide!
Don’t underestimate people or assume your relationships are different than they are. Don’t judge other people based on modern assumptions and never back away from a “kindred spirit.” God gives us these people in our lives for a reason. No, it’s not good to give the wrong impression and so you should be careful how others might perceive you, but don’t let fear of condemnation or assumptions prevent you from being good friends. Girls act like girls, and there’s nothing wrong with that.