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3:57 p.m. - January 18, 2008
What is a meaningful relationship between friends? What does a sincere, mutual openness look like? Is there a difference between say, the storied friendships straight women have, and those of gay men? Or is sincere friendship deep regardless of machismo, gender, and the vagaries of life?

I've swum in shallow friendships my entire life, with a small number of people who, for whatever reason, getting past my prickly exterior to become important, meaningful people to me. They wouldn't know it, though. Beyond postcards or the occasional Christmas gift and telephone call, how do these people know how much they mean to me? And as such, how can there be sincere friendship?

I met Christine about a year ago and our friendship has grown, and I've taken chances. And each chance I take I learn about myself and what friendship is, and entails. I'm learning that friendship feels warm; that I don't feel wary of wanting more; that friendship means acceptance of foibles and baggage; that it's about forging connections, rather than settling for gossamer strands.

When I told Christine I was thinking about going to the MaleSurvivor weekend, her first response was I support you. Such a simple statement like that means so much to me because I feel its sincerity, almost as if with my sharing the info she took on part of my burden willingly, to be there for me. It is rare, like desert rain, and the parched hills of my life welcome the change.

All this as a segue into what I just did and regret-don't-regret. I told somebody who is important to me in a weird way that it was time to say goodbye, that I'm not satisfied with something less than meaningful friendship, that it was time for me to move on. I don't want friendships that exist in a text message plane, limited to drunk ramblings or conversations where nothing substantial is said; I don't want a friendship that is just a check-in every few months. I want to know what's going on in my friends' lives, and for them to know about mine; I want to share the jokes and trivialities along with the deep worries and concerns that we all encounter minute to minute. And I don't want to feel ashamed or guilty for wanting more, for wanting a friendship that spans decades.

Listen to me - changing a lifetime of patterns, playing a don't-come-too-close-but-please-come-closer game. It's less a game and more the gradual realization that this is my life, that I can do what I will on this small unpainted corner that is my life's canvas. I don't have to let things be the way they've always been.

A painful step but one I don't regret, was being open and honest about that friendship. It is exciting in a way, perhaps the first time I was meaningful with him. Like the phoenix, whose first is also its last, but necessary for the next first.

Odd. I feel like shouting Jason is open for business.


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