Monday, April 9, 2012

Youuu Got What I Nee-eed, But You Say He's Just a Friend...

You've got Biz Markie's painfully tone-deaf voice stuck in your head now, don't you? Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Happy Monday, everyone. Melissa here, and as you know, we've been debating whether or not guys and girls can be just friends. So far, the consensus seems to be no, but I'd like to offer some anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you my friend Derick. (Not to be confused with this Derek, my first boyfriend.)

For the record, I don't remember "the good 'ol birthday incident."
For the last two years of high school, Derick and I were next-door neighbors in Munich, Germany, where both our dads were stationed. Derick was one of the first teens to introduce himself when I moved in, and I remember thinking how cool he was. He wore black clothes and listened to alternative music long before it was stylish, and he had a wicked sense of humor. He was even in a band! Isn't that the litmus test for cool? So when he said "hey" and reached into his back pocket to hand me a random piece of candy he'd been sitting on all day, I knew we'd be friends.

Derick and Shannon, another friend who was just a friend.

Derick and I weren't joined at the hip--he had his bestie and I had mine--but we hung out, chatted a lot, and in general, had fun. Silly, silly fun.

No high school experience is complete without a good old fashioned panty raid.

So when senior homecoming rolled around and I found myself in between boyfriends, (read: I didn't have a date), Derick kindly offered to take me to the dance. As friends. And you know what? We had a great time.

Derick was a total gentleman. After the dance, when we all went downtown to party, he refused to let me have more than a sip of the massive (and potent) group drink my friends had ordered. He said, "I promised your parents I'd bring you back safely. I'm responsible for you, and I'm not going to take you home drunk." How mature is that??? When he walked me to my door at the end of the evening, he gave me a (very nice) kiss, and the next day at school, we went back to our normal routine. Zero weirdness, zero resentment, zero jealousy. Just friends.

Oh, yeah. We had some BITCHIN' hair, baby!

Derick and I are still friends, albeit from a distance. He's living in New York with his two gorgeous daughters, and he's still super cool. In fact, he just finished his first independent film project!

I asked Derick if he'd share a brief memory of our "just friends date," and he was happy to oblige. What a guy, huh? Here's what he had to say:

Derick: Melissa and I always had a great vibe as friends, and that vibe translated to our pulling off going to a high school homecoming dance together - as dates - but without the crazy boy/girl drama commonly associated with high school hormones. I remember it being really fun, and thinking that Melissa looked fantastic (which was evident in the glares shot my way by most of the football team!), but it was also low pressure: we were friends, and enjoyed great banter together. The thing I think that was especially cool about it was that I think the people around us understood and supported that (with the possible exception of the guys on the football team), and nobody made a big deal of the fact that we decided to do things our own way, on our own terms.

Melissa: Thanks so much, Derick. Rock on, my friend!

Melissa Landers is the author of ALIENATED, a seriously foreign exchange coming in 2013 from Disney Hyperion. You can learn more about Melissa on her website, and she'd love for you to add ALIENATED to your Goodreads bookshelf!

A reminder that Melissa will be at the RT Booklovers Convention (April 10-15) with Carey, Lorie, and Lea. Make sure to say hello!


Tonya Kappes said...

Oh, Melissa!! I'm so glad I read your post first today! It made my day. I'm mean. . .I love your style:))
YES, I do think you can be friends with the opposite sex. There is always the respect of keeping it friends!

Melissa Landers said...

Why, thank you, Tonya! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Jo Ramsey said...

Sounds like you had an awesome friend, Melissa. How cool that you're still in touch with him.

Lorie Langdon said...

Mel - I still can't get over that you had your own Duckie! He even looked like John Cryer from Pretty in Pink. ;-)
Great Post!

Melissa Landers said...

@Jo: He was such a good sport about all this.

@Lorie: Derick was WAY cooler than Duckie! I always thought Duckie was a bit of a whiner.

Jen J. Danna said...

That is a fantastic story! And a big ol' thanks to Derick for giving his side of the story too to show that it really is possible from both sides of the equation. I think it's fabulous that you guys still stay in touch!

CareyCorp said...

I loved that you got Derick's side of the story. Please thank him for the persceptive. I also checked out his indie teaser - very cool. Does he had Twitter or FB links?

Melissa Landers said...

@Jen: Thanks for visiting! I'm also glad D and I were able to stay in touch.

@Carey: The film does have a FB page...let me see if I can find it.

Kimberly said...

I loved this positive post. I think it's so important to show teens today that it IS possible to have long-lasting friendships with people of the opposite sex. Boys/men have a certain perspective we lack. Their differences are what makes the relationships special. I know my friendships with boys/men always makes me rethink my position on things. They tend to be very straight-forward while I tend to ruminate over things a bit too much. The whole Venus/Mars in the teen world! LOL.
I've loved my guy friends for helping to keep me grounded a bit. :-) Still.

Stephsco said...

I can tell by Derrik's hair in that homecoming pic that he was cool (I'm being serious). I was also similarly into tall, dark and skater-cuts. :)

I spent significant efforts in college convincing myself a few of my guy pals were just that- pals, but i have to say, a lot of drama resulted from those friendships when they got girlfriends. Girls don't typically like their boyfriends hanging out with other girls. But those guy-girl friendships are the best when the outside forces of jealousy aren't trying to tear them down!

Melissa Landers said...

@Kim: I completely agree. Guys bring such great perspective to the table.

@Steph: Ah, sounds like there were some latent feelings lurking beneath the surface of your guy-girl friendships!

Micki Gibson said...

Yay! It's true! I was starting to think some of those girl-guy friendships were urban legends. And thanks to Derick for chiming in, too. Great post, Melissa.

Melissa Landers said...

@Micki: It is possible! Let's consider this urban myth busted!

Jessica Love said...

I'm so amazed that you were able to pull this off, Melissa! It was impossible for me to be friends with a guy...I wanted to make out with pretty much everyone who was nice to me. Haha.