Friend Crushes, Courtships, and Loves

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This week we’re going to shake things up a little bit for our #womancrushwednesday inspired friendship series! When my friend Jane responded to my call out for people to share their friendship stories, she asked if she could talk about her friendship with her friend Nathan. Platonic friendships between men and women can be a tricky zone to navigate, even if one party isn’t straight (just think of Cher and Christian in Clueless). So I was super excited to hear more about what friend crushes, courtships, and loves look like when you’re keeping things platonic.

Jane and Nathan have been friends since the way-way-back time of preschool! Jane told me how she has vague memories of four year old Nathan in the arts and crafts room, with a big smile and blonde bowl cut. Because Jane thought that Nathan was a bit sassy, they didn’t become friends until grade 10 when they reconnected. Now it’s been over a decade since their friendship began. I just want to add that I love how they answered these questions together in a “we” voice, as well as in their own voices. Let’s read more about how they how they’ve managed to be life-long pals.

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Jane and Nathan having a dance party in Jane’s basement (the high school years)

How did you guys meet? And was it obvious to you at that moment that you just had to be friends with this person? Or was it a more gradual process?

Nathan: The moment we rekindled our friendship, it was instant, and very intense. For both of us it really felt that the other person was a missing piece. We were in different high schools — I was in the huge local public school, Jane in a private girl’s school — when we ran into each other one spring day on the way home.

Jane: We lived in the same area, and we saw each other on the corner of Eglinton and Duplex. We had the standard “hi, how are you” and then a conversation naturally spurred on — for hours in fact. We walked home and chatted on my front porch for a couple hours. There was no awkwardness; it felt like we had been friends for years. Our constant jokes, crass humour and interest were so in sync, it was very disarming. We wanted to see each again, and right away.

When did you know that you had a friend crush? What was it about this new person that made you feel like you must be friends with them?

Jane: For me it was the mixture of warmth and humour. The fact that we could talk, and talk and talk and talk about anything, it was so different from anything I’d experienced after just minutes meeting someone. We are naturally really candid, politically incorrect, sarcastic people and that just knotted us together, instantly.

Nathan: That’s exactly it. Honesty, I just instantly felt we were so similar and needed to spend more time together. It’s so long ago now, but I remember being so excited about meeting you again.

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At Jane’s graduation formal (2007)

Who made the first move? Did they ask you to go on a friend date? What did you do the first time you hung out solo?

Jane: Nathan did. He said we needed to hang out, right away, and we did. The day we reconnected was a Wednesday, and on the following Friday we went on our first friend date, to see “House of Wax” at Silver City Yonge and Eglinton.

Nathan: Jane spent the whole movie covering her eyes, asking me to narrate the gory scenes to her.

Jane: I can still hear Nathan whispering a play by play of Paris Hilton’s death . . .‘She’s only in her bra now, a red bra. . now I think she’s naked. . .Oh my god he stabbed her with a pole. . The pole is through Paris’ head . . .you can look now.”

Nathan: Near the end we saw a guy holding and gun and Jane stated out loud “Oh I’m fine with guns, no problem” and then of course a loud explosion came from the gun, Jane screamed so loud the theatre of people looked at her instead of the film.

Jane: To this day, Nathan still doesn’t trust me in scary movies. He thinks I’ll have a heart attack or scream without warning. He once turned off “Silence of The Lambs” halfway because I was “getting too worked up,” until I begged him to finish it with me.

What are some of your favourite activities to do together?

Nathan: Our absolute favourite thing to together is, after work, usually on a weekday, to grab a bottle of Jackson Triggs Dry White (1.5 L) and watch one of our favorite shows, while we mostly talking over it and googling news and funny soundbites. Among our favorite shows are Project Runway (original, not All Stars obvi), Keeping Up WIth The Kardashians, Oprah (anything and everything she does), The View, and the award shows. We also love strong female lead movies, like Terms of Endearment (‘Terms’), Steel Magnolias (‘Steel Mag’), The Holiday and Bridesmaids.

Jane: We also, always, go on photo booth or take selfies and play with Nathan’s photo editing apps. For this reason, our friendship is well documented. Most nights end up with us having loud dance parties, alone, to old pop music. We also have frequent ‘white wine nights’ with my mom, where we sit with my mom, drink white wine and talk and laugh so loud we usually wake my stepdad up. When we lived in the same area, we used to love to walk around the neighbourhood, arm in arm, and chat. We try to take a walk every December 23rd (at midnight, the beginning of Christmas eve) to the playground of our old primary school. The school yard is covered in snow, and the street is lit up with Christmas Lights — that is one of our favourite traditions.

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Jane and Nathan in the playground of their old primary school about 5 years ago.

What are some other things that you’ve bonded over?

Nathan: We’ve both experienced very low periods in the last ten years of lives. Both of us have had struggles with depressive periods and we both have experienced some devastating moments surrounding, men, our professional lives, and other relationships. We have cried in front of each other a lot, and it’s really made all the difference for both of us in getting through these times. The basement at Jane’s mother’s house was a real place of solace for us in high school and throughout the years after. We’d sit up late at night there and just be with each other through bad days. We both starting having relationships much later than the rest of our friends, so that was a comforting, common ground to have over those years.

Jane: On a lighter note, there was also a period in highschool when Nathan didn’t have internet so he would check his Facebook everyday on my computer, and I mean, EVERYday after school. So we bonded over my old dell desktop.

What’s one of your favourite memories with your friend?

Jane: We have so many, this could go on for a long time. We went to each other’s proms and formals together. We took a grad trip together to Dominican Republic together — that was pretty memorable. None of us had ever been the Carribean, Nathan hadn’t even been on a plane. We arrived at this gorgeous resort and like idiots, screamed with excitement at every amenity of our room. After one too many underage cocktails we discovered that our bath tub had jets. We wasted no time throwing off our clothes and jumping in.

Nathan: Jane overlooked one tiny detail — that the water in the tub has to be higher than the jets before you turn them on — and cranked the jets on full blast. The water went everywhere and it was the shriek heard round the resort. I still can picture our friend Heather’s face as ran in, look around at the water all over the walls and yelled “We’ve been here for like five minutes you guys! Seriously!?” Whenever Jane came home from camp in the summer, that was always a great night.

Jane: We were never a part for that long so Nathan would run over the night of, no matter what time. “I always loved when you came home from camp” – Nathan. We also recently celebrated Nathan’s birthday on my back deck — just the two of us. We had candles, champagne and macaroons, just a quiet birthday together. We felt uber grown up. That was a sweet moment.

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What is one of the goofiest or funnest things that you’ve done together?

Jane: Most notably, we lined up, two years in a row, in highschool, at 5 in the morning outside Much Music to get tickets to the the MMVAS. If you watch the 2005 MMVAS you can see a boy in a yellow polo throw his waist on the barrier and heave his upper body towards Paris Hilton, fingers clinging for her bleach blonde locks. In high school, at times Nathan stayed over late and my mother would tell us he had to go home, and we would hide him under a sleeping bag behind the couch until she went to sleep.

How does your friend help balance you out? What do you get from them that’s special or different from other pals in your life?

We’re really kindred spirits to one another in that we’re both outgoing, somewhat crass and sarcastic and often fairly ridiculous, so the principle of balance is not always palpable between us. We’ve even been told we’re “a bit much” once, but we do, however, offer each other a crucial counterpoint when we need it.

Jane: From Nathan, I have someone who I have no shame around. Whether I want to talk about something spiritual or serious, or really personal or intimate, or even disclose a darker, somewhat unflattering side of myself, words and thoughts pour out with no inhibition. I also have someone who is just pure light and laughter when I need it. Most recently, I have had anxiety over my professional future and I feel guilty when I’m not working on that, and stressed out when I am. This is when Nathan intervenes over the phone or in person and says, “this is now, just enjoy your day, do some work, but if you’re going to spend the afternoon cooking or baking, enjoy it!” He reminds me to stay present and also to be gentler with myself.

Nathan: Jane has zero judgment of anything I say. Even dark thoughts or my flawed side. She is the sister I never had. Jane’s intelligence also helps me figure things out, whatever dilemma I have. Her warmth is also so evident, I love that about her. We’re always in each other’s lives, and we’re so involved with each other. That’s a nice partner to have throughout life. Most importantly, WE CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING and this is always something that helps balance me, no matter what my days throws at me. We’re also honest with each other, and that’s not always easy for some people to be, but it is with us.

Have you ever gotten into a fight? What was the fight about? How did you go about solving the issue? Or was there a really rough time that you had to get through together?

Nathan: We don’t really fight. I’m is not always the best at answering texts, Jane is not always the most patient. This sometimes causes slight tense words, but not so much anymore. We also are so in sync that we can usually sense why the other one may a little distant.

Jane: The other week, a Sunday, Nathan wasn’t answering his phone and I sensed he was having bad day because I knew he had gone out very late the night before. We both get a bit down when we’re hungover (something we’re both working on) and so I waited, and eventually he replied saying “Sorry, it’s not been a great day” and then I called him, made sure he was feeling better, and talked about it.

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Totally dignified on the lawn after Nathan’s prom (2007)

How has your friendship grown or changed throughout the time that you’ve been friends?

Nathan: We started strong, so I don’t think it’s really changed.

Jane: Our archive of inside jokes gets bigger. We cheer on each other more and more. There are some obvious changes we can’t deny. We don’t live around the corner from each other. We have more than just high school homework and parties to schedule around. But the fact that we still see each other more than once a week, and are always so excited to, is because we want to. And that is a testament to how much we really love each other, and equally importantly, truly enjoy the other’s company. We’ve made it work.

Nathan: When Jane was travelling around Asia for six months, I sent her video messages that had her laughing out loud in internet cafes across the world.

Jane: When Nathan used to go to New York for six weeks at a time for work, he didn’t have five minutes of free time in a day for a phone call or skype, so I sent him short and sweet texts of encouragements and jokes. Then, when he came home and we caught over a long night of wine and kardashians.

What do you most admire about your friend?

Jane: I admire Nathan’s ability to be totally who he is, and really express himself, to people, to his creative audience. He came out at a young age, in a co ed high school, which even in the 21st century is not always easy. He always dresses how he wants; he’ll dye his hair blonde, purple or blue on whim, without anyone’s approval or encouragement — he just doesn’t need it.

He is so authentic, without even trying to be. Whether it’s a weird designer on Project Runway, or Caitlin Jenner coming out as trans, he cheers on people who strike out of the ordinary. He’s also a natural magnet for positive energy; I really admire that about him. It’s a natural gift that’s helped him professionally break into the fashion industry with no formal training. People want to work with him because he’s artistic and hard working first and foremost, but also because they want to be around him.

Nathan: I love how accepting Jane is, of everybody. She always tries to check herself before she judges someone. She also has an ability to bring humour into any situation, and I’m so glad she does, because it heals. I also really admire her relationship with her family, especially her mom — they’re so close. And her younger brothers, who she is always making an effort to be closer with as they get older. I love how much she cares, the care that she puts into all her friends. I also do strongly believe that she is the most intelligent person I know. I’m so proud of how she worked through her university years. She was partying so much, but she was also getting all these fucking awards. Seriously, it was pretty admirable.

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This post was written by Margeaux

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