My best girlfriend and I don’t get a lot of face time together—we live on opposite coasts—but when we are together, we turn into a montage set to a John Mayer song. We might spend the day shopping at some out-of-the-way downtown Manhattan boutiques, get mani/pedis, then go to our favorite garden restaurant for some red wine and Mediterranean food (we share it all, natch) before heading home to snuggle up on the sofa, sip tea, and watch a movie. Or we might go for a hike to catch the ocean view over Santa Monica, take a drive along Sunset Boulevard, then talk each other into some cupcakes (we hiked, after all).
This sort of activity prompts its share of jokes among us—sample text message: “I’m at a cozy makeout table in the back”—and, you can bet, the men in our life—sample remark: “When do you have the naked pillow fight?” But, all kidding aside, I have to admit: I get more romance from girlfriends than from any guys I date.
Now, I could hang this on modern men, whine that they’ve lost all imagination, deduce that we’re giving up the proverbial free milk too easily, etc. True, I bet if we all started donning chastity belts, candy and flower demand would skyrocket. And if we suddenly demanded walks on the beach as a sex prerequisite, there’d be a lot of sand stuck permanently between a lot of sheets. (Why can you never wash sand away?)
But I don’t buy that it’s a gender issue. I’ve had some great dates with my gay, equally planned by both of us, filled with concerts, romantic movies (he was the only person who could see “Bridget Jones’ Diary” as many times as I could), piano bars, and dinners he’d make me at home. A just-a-friend guy and I like to dissect our very separate, never-to-intertwine love lives over expensive, candlelit dinners. A guy I sorta dated (or whatever … trust me, this is no place to get into it) and I started having our best outings—interminable sangrias, hand-holding strolls around my neighborhood, deep conversation—once we determined that we were never going to be a couple. And some of my closest male friends are veritable geniuses at planning platonic outings—to cozy bars and restaurants, Farmer’s Markets, antique shops, two-mimosa brunches.