Thirty years ago this summer, the film When Harry Met Sally was released – and immediately the battle between the sexes was again fueled with the claim that men and women never & # 39; just friends & # 39; without the issue of sex raising its ugly head.
Although it all worked for Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan), the idea led to a furious debate. Today, the state of sexual policy has changed enormously, with increased rights in the workplace for women, new tolerance for different sexual orientations and, not least, the impact of the # MeToo movement against sexual harassment. But has anything really changed? Can men and women be "just friends" in 2019? We asked a team of top writers for their opinion. . .
MY AGE DOES NOT MAKE GOOD CHUMS
I don't like to say this, but men of my generation who make good friends for women are thin on the spot. They are usually not as interested in women's deepest thoughts, instead hiding in hobbies, military history or shouting at politicians on television. Female friendships, on the other hand, are often aimed at exchanging intimate information.
When Harry Met Sally (photo) marks thirty years after the release, top writers debate how social changes may have influenced men's and women's friendships ever since
It reminds me of the statistics that show that men can be reluctant to read women's novels while women read about gender and genre.
But I see that things will be different for the generation of my sons. They have stood next to girls during their education and grew up knowing that women offer insight and emotional protection when male friends are bullish or stupid.
They laugh with their female friends and express no surprise about the idea that a woman can be just as funny as any man. One of my favorite photos is from my 11-year-old, Torrin, in a football strip enjoying an improvised foot spa, thanks to his great friend Elodie.
At that age, Torrin's father was trapped in a cheeky prep school where older boys peed on his teddy bear and feelings are not allowed.
I am very happy that my sons learn this as they get older, because when a man of any age really cares about getting to know women – in a non-sexual way – there is a lot of demand for it. I have a new friend named Max, and he has countless female friends because he is genuinely interested in what we think and feel.
That said, some of my dearest friends are friends with whom I slept years ago.
Otherwise there is a bit of a question mark in the air. I remember a male friend who said after my wedding: & # 39; When I walked down the aisle, I could only think: & # 39; I never slept with her, now I will never! & # 39;
Toby Young, whose 14-year-old son has no girlfriend at all, claims that men have become scared of passing women (photo: Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star like Harry and Sally in the 1989 classic rom-com)
YOUNG MEN ARE AFRAID TO CHAT WOMEN
Young Englishmen now dare not pass women for fear of being accused of intimidation or the label of a sex plague.
If you have a career, women are better feared than loved.
The result is that male millennials don't seem to have as many real female friends as my generation. Instead of going to parties and chatting members of the opposite sex, they continue to play video games at home. My 14 year old son unfortunately has no single girlfriend.
It is a shame, because cross-sex friendships are enriching and beneficial. There are things I can talk about with female friends that I would not want to dream with my male friends – such as the romantic life of our mutual acquaintances.
Today's # MeToo climate means that my teenage son's generation has far fewer female friends than we do – and that's a shame – Toby Young
Same-sex friendships are often hampered by competition, which can be a barrier to intimacy. You do not want to reveal vulnerability to someone who could ever be a rival. But such problems do not affect friendships between men and women, which I feel are more relaxed.
Perhaps the benefits of a more heavily controlled sexual arena outweigh the costs. But it feels like we announced a truce 30 years ago. . . now we are stroking each other again.
MALE PALM ARE MY SOURCE OF SANITY
I hate when Harry Met Sally and one of the things I hate the most is the principle that men and women can't be friends – that and the way Harry thinks he's the best while he's boring, balding, and thyroid. As a lifelong tomboy I have always found (most) men easier than (most) women, just as I find my brothers easier than my sisters.
I love my sisters, but there is just so much potential for misunderstanding, so much subtext with every comment. When I was growing up, girls made me feel claustrophobic; their bitchiness as stifling as the mist of Elnett hair spray and hormones that permeate the school toilets.
Hannah Betts revealed that she hates Harry Met Sally (photo) and often went on holiday with male friends without thinking about their gender
My male friends give me the feeling that I can breathe – and this is just as true for me at the age of 48 as at the age of 18. There is no social change in this regard.
The #MeToo campaign has an impact on abuse maniacs, not on normal male-female relationships.
Male friends are my refuge and my source of common sense. I can be frank and receive frankness back, without bitchiness or hidden meaning. I trust them, no matter how tough the circumstances are: when I was sexually assaulted, it wasn't a friend I trusted, but a man.
Male friends often come on vacation with me and my boyfriend. And we don't give our gender a second thought – because it's really the least interesting thing about us.
NEVER SLEEP WITH FRIENDS YOU LIKE
When I was 11, a debilitating illness meant that I had to leave school for a year.
When I returned, almost the only person who would talk to me was a boy with a ginger hair named George. This earned him my immediate, immortal friendship.
We spent the next two years talking non-stop in the maths class and also talking on the phone for hours every night.
Emily Hill (photo) says she has had to ward off the advances of a male friend more than once
Then the tragedy struck: he watched as Harry met Sally and stated that men and women cannot be friends. Then he sent me a Valentine that declared his love. Perhaps back in the 1980s, it was the start of a beautiful, lifelong friendship that slowly changed to love. But we now live in a more murderous world.
Even at the age of 13, I knew that no one they ended up at school with. I knew for sure that I wanted it in my life forever. So I said no. Over the years I saw how he changed from cheeky redhead into a full-fledged womanizer.
Harry made it look charming, but George was a demon in the dating apps. At one point he used Bumble to sleep with eight different women at the same time.
I have withheld his advances a few times and I congratulate myself for having done so. He had broken my heart and we had never seen each other again.
Today we are still the best friends and he has grown up from his millennial dating – probably because he has finally met the right woman.
Now I also focus on making her a friend, so I get two friends for the price of one.
With the divorce rate in the 21st century, would Harry and Sally have lasted forever?
If you love your friends, it might be best not to sleep with them.
A MAN IS NOT ALWAYS ENOUGH
I was in my late thirties when Harry met Sally and made it clear that it was impossible for a man and a woman to become friends. I could not have agreed. There was one friend – let's call him Harry.
We worked together without a hint of romance, until one evening we decided to have a bite to eat. An offer to take me home, & # 39; do you want to drink a cup of coffee? & # 39; And the inevitable kiss.
The next morning I couldn't wait to get him out of the house and it was uncomfortable until he changed jobs and moved on. It can be quite different now.
Jenni Murray (photo) says she agrees that it is impossible for a man and woman to only & # 39; to be after watching When Harry met Sally
There must be some restraint for a young man, or much restraint for an older man, to approach a female colleague, given the power of the # MeToo movement.
Nobody wants to open themselves up to any accusation of sexual harassment, so nowadays few contact persons are established at the office. Just about every relationship between young people of my knowledge seems to have started on the internet where sex is paramount and, if it works, friendship follows.
But things have changed for my generation as we grew older. After years of marriage you realize that one man in your life is really not enough – especially if you don't share the same hobbies.
So you find someone who does, and who is married himself, and he agrees to be your "walker" for watching ROM coms and all the things your husband hates.
I don't know if it's just that I'm not bothered by clumsy sexual encounters when someone is home who never disappoints, or when people my age have grown out of the need for romance or jealousy, but it works.
MAYBE HARRY WAS SOMETHING
Long before Billy Crystal said it, Charlie Chaplin did it. No man can spend time with a woman without & # 39; the potential of sex & # 39; to measure with her private. Mind you, he was a famous old goat. We are not all like that. Or are we?
When I spend an evening with a woman who is not my wife, even one of my sisters, I am always vaguely aware that other people probably think we are an item.
Do women think so? Probably not.
Occasionally, as the film critic of this article, I also want a female perspective on a film that I see.
Brian Viner who says that his northern high school for boys impeded his emotional growth, revealed that he sometimes watches movies with sweet female friends who are not his wife
My wife Jane cannot always come, so I ask one of her dear friends from time to time.
They are also my dear friends, as well as their men, but it is uncomfortable to ask them directly.
I ask Jane to ask them on my behalf. . . like being brought back to the schoolyard, around 1969, and asking Alison English if she will ask Helen Plumtree if she likes me.
So maybe, while I wouldn't go as far as Billy Crystal and Charlie Chaplin, they were on their way to something.
On the other hand, my two sons have far more good friends than I have ever done – a legacy of going to a co-educational school.
My old-fashioned, northern boys' primary school did not hinder my emotional growth for more than about three decades.
I am GAY BUT A FEMALE FRIEND VELL FOR ME
I should tell you that I am dancing on the other side of Harry's ballroom.
In some ways it is easier for homosexuals to have good friends who are female – hopefully the dirty side of things will never intervene.
That said, I did have a very good friend who was constantly warned and deeply in love with me.
I pooh-poohed it, but it turned out to be correct. Awkward.
In the gay world, sex makes friendships not that complicated.
Iain Dale (photo) says that several people he throws have become permanent friends
In my younger days I had several friends with people who then became friends and stay that way today.
And then there is the other side of the coin. I have a friend I have known for 20 years.
I am happily married, he has been with his partner for more than ten years. But we both know something is wrong.
We have never done anything about it. If so, would our friendship have been influenced? I doubt it very much.
Iain Dale appears from July 31 to August 11 in the Edinburgh Fringe in Iain Dale All Talk.
ROMANTICALLY CAN DESTROY OUR FRIENDSHIP
I have many male friends and insist that platonic friendships can flourish between genders.
But things have changed in recent years and men have been more careful since #MeToo. It is still perfectly possible to be friends, or to be loved ones, but nowadays young people want to make clear what is the case.
A young man I know asked for my permission to kiss me in a taxi.
I refused – he was not for me, not to mention the fact that he was about 15 years younger – and I could not help recalling how in his years & # 39; 20 and & # 39; 30 men of his age without warning in taxis (or lifts).
Ultimately, the core of male and female friendships has not really changed.
I think that if I wanted to sleep with my male friends, almost everyone would be willing, because men are usually more opportunistic (especially artists, who are invariably as horny as rabbits).
Women are more careful. A boisterous, well-known TV presenter has been a good friend of mine for over ten years – like Harry and Sally, I'd say we have a certain erotic tension, but we never slept together.
I value his friendship too much to risk romance.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) femail