holy relationship trinity

Dykes In The City: In Their Appropriate Box

By Shannon Ray

During a night of drink and gossip with friends, no subject is ever too taboo. What’s your current bed status, shoe size, most embarrassing sexual moment? The answer is supplied while effortlessly flirting with the oh-so-cute bartender across the way. It’s the kind of dialogue that onlookers love to eavesdrop on.
On a night such as this, the tabletop of women queried my way. In this day and age of 'domestic partnerships', does our need for companionship out weighed our need to get some? Furthermore, can lesbians survive on companionship alone? And if so, are we doomed to dust off our dating reject box just to have someone around for major holidays? Have we settled down or just plain settled for friendships with benefits?

Once, not so long ago, I implemented criteria to discern the difference between a friend and a lover. If the thought of screaming out her name during sex elicited a spontaneous giggle instead of a sigh from me, then I put her into the 'friend' box.

True story: many years ago I met a tall, handsome, and quite witty butch. We hit it off immediately. Only to find -- horror of horrors – that she shared the same first name as my mother. The thought of my mother’s name coming up anytime during an intimate moment sent me running for the hills. Flash forward a year or so later: I found out that she commonly went by a nickname that bared no resemble to any member of my family. I learned a valuable lesson that day: research is key.

Along with my 'scream-her-name-out test', I developed 'the box theory'. Let me explain: picture three boxes – the romance box, the fling box, and the above mentioned friendship box. We all have them. But only some of us admit we have them. The friendship box is self-explanatory. Someone who you get along with well enough but are not attracted to. The fling box is the border line case of a friendship with an added bonus of a sexual adventure. And the romance box is reserved only for someone who makes your heart do a triple-loopy when she fills a doorway.

I once questioned my reliance on boxes. I looked in my friend box to see if maybe I had let a good one slip away. I rummaged through my list until the ideal candidate was found. 'Dependable' looked great on paper. All the critical elements were there: smart, funny, older, and gainfully employed. We dated for a few months, but the chemistry just wasn’t in place. The sex was mediocre at best. Yet she had potential in so many other areas. It was like adjusting to platforms when all you’ve ever worn in life was flats. There were no butterflies, no last minute outfit changes. What she saw is what she got. For a while I had even convinced myself that you didn’t need the triple-loopy loop to be happy in a relationship. But eventually it felt like I was scamming the both of us. I’ve sworn off friendship dates ever since.

It seems once a person is in the 'friendship box', she shouldn’t cross over into the 'dating box'. But recent trends within my circle run contrary. It seems that many have settled for what they can get, instead of what they want. Holding out for 'the one' isn’t on anyone’s 'to do list'. Sort of like: Why hold out for a Royal Flush, when four of a kind will do the job? But for me, it’s hard to even think about a relationship that is nearly sexless from the very beginning. There seems to be too many people that go from one person for a main meal and another for a desert and still a third for a nightcap. Since when did the fairy tale start going sounding like a progressive dinner?

There are those of us who believe in true love and great sex that last a lifetime.. At times I think we’re a dying breed: the hopeless romantics with a working libido. As for me, I like holding out for the Royal flushes in life. I firmly believe in the holy relationship trinity: companion, lover, and friend.

Friendship is key to any relationship, but not the only one. The 'friendship box' is there for a reason. There should be a difference between a causal friend and a soul mate. There has to be different criteria between the two. I want someone who oversteps my friendship box by a mile and goes straight for my heart. Someone who is capable of equally melting my heart, thighs, and soul with fierce intensity. In the infamous words of the late Marvin Gaye: “If you believe in love, let’s get it on.”

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