‘Between men and women…’

Well I was re-reading Oscar Wilde’s and my mind got wrapped around his quote on friendship between men and women;

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.”

And so I spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out the dynamics of his opinion. It’s probably, firstly, important to note that there is no degree of truth to this statement – it is after all just an opinion. It’s not science. But anyway, for those who read, and for those who might have a different opinion to this quote, I would love to have your opinion. As it stands, I might be holding on to this set of opinions that I’ve chanced upon.

I’ve been trying to figure out what Oscar Wilde meant when he said that ‘there is no friendship possible’ between men and women. I’ve seen plenty of discussions on google with regards to whether ‘men and women’ can be friends, but I guess this is heavily, heavily subjective. And I am not interested in whether or not that is possible because there’s no one or the other in an opinion.

But before I begin, I think it’s important to be clear on what Oscar Wilde means in his novel by friendship. The term friendship is used in this novel as something consistent, and something truly concrete. In this sense, (I can’t think of any other scenarios) the people that you would think of before you die would be considered your friend. As it stands, that isn’t a lot of people for many people.

So, really, what I’m trying to understand is if it’s really possible. Is it possible for a man and woman to have a consistent and mutual friendship throughout the course of the relationship?

I think not.

What struck me the hardest was the term friendship, and it really boils down to semantics on how you choose to approach it. Emerson said that ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.’. The nature of this statement was really directed at opinions, intelligence and consistency, that a person cannot be consistently intelligent, or consistently correct.

Consistency is a pattern. It’s like your IQ when you sit for an IQ test. Naturally, you’d be able to do better when you know the laws and the pattern that govern the test. But your raw IQ is not your IQ. Your IQ for a maths test could be brilliant, average for a logic test, and below average for an analysis test but there is no pattern. Similarly, a pattern is created from repetitions, and patterns are not natural. So really, consistency is not of men’s nature, and to be consistent for anything is not part of a person’s nature.

So really, if a mutual friendship really means consistency, to be consistently affectionate, consistently caring, no more and no less – that’s not possible, right?

The slightest change in the dynamics of emotions in a relationship could change many things. It doesn’t matter if we act on it or if we suppress it because it is what it is, and the dynamics will change with or without your consent. Because I think there’s always something of everything?

I just thought this was worthy of writing down. Cheers Leeann.


3 thoughts on “‘Between men and women…’

  1. Emerson’s statement on consistency is more on how one hold his opinions rather than his ability to perform, as you described it, in my opinion.

    “A foolish consistency(in your opinions/viewpoints/moral standing etc) is the hobgoblin of little minds(ie non-thinkers, non-rational), adored by little statesmen and philosophers(people who have to prove a point) and divine(where yes means yes)”

    For the introspective, his thoughts and opinions are constantly developing Ask a man what he thinks about a certain issue today and ask him again a year later. You will probably get a different answer.

    The fool maintains his answer due to non development. The prideful do so uphold the image of being steadfastness to himself and his beliefs. We fail to understand that being consistent is being steadfast to the past and to dead memories.

    When you live in the present, consistency is merely an adoption of ideas and thoughts without any link to your intellectual spirit.

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