For the past week and a half, I have not held a crush on any man, which has felt both liberating and odd. Though I enjoy the extra man-less brain space and feel so happy and content without a man in general, a part of me still craves to have a crush on some man. In rare moments I find myself fantasizing about an unnamed, unfaced man of color who cares about others, has his life together, and reads books. Though I can very well imagine a life in which I remain “single” forever and thrive like the radiant gay redhead Vietnamese icon I am, my occasional fantasizing and the many posts about men on this blog force me to confront that I on some level still desire romance.
Most of the time I feel frustrated that I want a man at all because wanting a man feels pointless. The other day though, while reflecting on this desire, I felt such gratitude toward my two closest friends because they fulfill for me what any man could and would. I talk with my closest friends multiple times a week, we all read books, roast men, process our relationships and emotions, and more. I’m not saying every friendship should operate with this level of intensity; I definitely have more casual friends who I talk with once every few weeks or every month or so. But these close friendships mean so much to me because they feel like chosen family.
Even beyond the notion of chosen family comes the healthiness of these close friendships, which I love so much. With my closest friends, I practice checking in about the relationship and how we feel about it, devoting time and emotional labor into the relationship, and many other aspects of healthy relationships people often preserve for romantic relationships. Quite a few queer men I’ve met talk about a fear of being “alone” without a romantic partner, and I’ve literally never felt that fear in my life, because I’ve always maintained close friendships that fulfill my desire for emotional intimacy. Sometimes I wonder about if I should feel embarrassed that I’ve never dated a man in my 25 years of life, but then I remember I’ve created and cultivated these deep, beautiful friendships with a Black woman and a woman of color who share similar values related to kindness, effective communication, and social justice, friendships with roots that run deeper than any man I’ve crushed on could imagine.
What I love most about my close friendships at this point in my life is that we all love ourselves. My closest friends and I all hold at least two marginalized social identities and we still manage to love ourselves and love our lives without men or awards to complete us. I talk about this with my closest friends all the time, about how much we respect one another for the self-love we radiate and role model. Even though patriarchy and heteronormativity teach us that we need a man, a romantic partner, or a nuclear family to feel happy, we managed to make our happiness on our own and with one another, societal pressures be damned.
Sometimes I listen to “As If It’s Your Last,” my favorite BlackPink song, and think, hm, I wonder if an actual man will ever make me feel the romantic euphoria exuded by this excellent work of art. But then I reflect on my closest friends and I wonder: maybe this is the romance of my life, these close friends who I love and who love me. Yes, I know I am complete on my own and that these friends do not complete me, and at the same time I feel at my most connected, at my most *insert whatever word captures the glorious emotion in the chorus of “As If It’s Your Last”* when I spend time with them. All my past crushes could not hold a candle to my closest friends. Any future crush would have to work magic to get even close.
How do you feel about friendship? What do you think and feel help create and maintain friendships, either of the chosen family variety or more casual friendships? General reactions to this post? Also BlackPink comes out with their new single “How You Like That” this Friday at 6pm KST so if you hear a distant shriek during that time that shriek belongs to me. Until next post!