By Anna Muraco
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Extra info for Odd Couples: Friendships at the Intersection of Gender and Sexual Orientation
While cross-sex friendships provide many beneﬁts, they also face challenges, including a lack of social support, the assumption of sexual involvement, a lack of cultural models, and social inequalities between the members (O’Meara 1989; West, Anderson, and Duck 1996). Straight cross-sex friendships are also expected to be more short-lived than other friendship types (Parker 26 chapter one and de Vries 1993). In many ways, cross-sex friendships may reinforce gender norms. Previous studies found that straight men enjoyed the nurturing support of female friends, and both men and women beneﬁted by gaining insight into the perspectives of the friend of the other sex about the world (Werking 1997).
He’s seen me through all the relationships that didn’t work until I got with someone I really loved. He’s been my biggest supporter as far as my career and work, and he’s always there through something I’m trying to struggle with. He’s always there to listen, and I count on him to have an outside perspective that’s going to help me grow, see things di√erently. But he’s also, I think, one of the funniest people I know. I love his humor. I just love it. And I think he’s really, really smart. I really, you know—I mean, it’s a good thing, ’cause our desks were right near each other [in our previous jobs], too, and now we share an o≈ce.
I don’t know if this is one of your later questions, [but] I think that it’s safer to have that kind of conversation with a woman. I don’t know that I would be so ready to have that conversation with a man. Here, Patrick explains how Emily’s identity as a woman a√ects his ability to open up and be vulnerable with her. He describes further how their particular bond allows for a deeper friendship: ‘‘Sometimes when you’ve got a gender di√erence, a friendship has some sort of sexual undertones or whatever, and there can be like a ﬂirtatious kind of aspect of a friendship that maybe can sometimes lead [further].
Odd Couples: Friendships at the Intersection of Gender and Sexual Orientation by Anna Muraco