Or how about: “Let’s just be friends?”

Kiss of death.

What did Billy Crystal say to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally?


Men and women can’t be friends because…

“…The sex part always gets in the way…”

And “…The friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.”

Let’s come back to this contentious topic in just a smidge.

Recently, Almost DailyBrett took direct aim at the knuckle-dragging gender (“Men and Their Schlanges”) written before the revelations (no pun intended) about Rep. Anthony Weiner’s digitized wiener or in his case, weiner. The honorable congressman’s antics via social media served as an amplification of the points made in this humble blog, questioning whether men are actually as so many contend, slaves to their anatomy. Are we victims, cowards or both? Has the word “accountability” lost all of its meaning in this modern-day society?

Whattyathink Anthony? AH-Nold? Tiger? Bill? Al? Eliot? Dominique? John?…

As an equal opportunity social critic, Almost DailyBrett is now raising a few provocative (and maybe foolhardy) questions about the PR employed by the fairer gender. This blog discussed how women have effectively taken over the public relations profession (“PR’s Endangered Species”) and as a whole do a great job at softening images and are legendary with their eye for detail and creativity.

Then why is there not more creativity as it applies to romantic exit strategies, bidding adieu, adios, auf wiedersehen, sayonara to an unwanted male-of-the-species? Whatever happened to the carefully crafted and heartfelt “Dr. John” letter? Or maybe the even-more sophisticated face-to-face breakup?

In business the term “exit strategy” refers to the choices that lie before the management of start-ups: Pursue an Initial Public Offering (IPO); seek a larger company eager to make an acquisition or merger; or stay the course as a privately held company. So why don’t women have a similar array of options other than…

“It’s not you; it’s me” and “Let’s just be friends?”

Yes, there may be other termination phrases, but these two seem to be overly prevalent at this particular point in time. And sometimes they are even texted or e-mailed…which makes them even sweeter.

Let’s review: “It’s not you, it’s me.” Give me a break. If a man hears that phrase, he (in most cases) is smart enough to very well know it’s all about him. Yes, some of us may have been born at night, but we weren’t all born last night.

And “let’s just be friends?” If a male has been dating you, do you think he has been going through this exercise just so you can be pals?

And let’s say, he goes along with this swell idea…and then he secures a new girlfriend. Do you think she is going to want him to hang around his “friend,” who used to be his ex? (“Gee dear, why are you so upset? She’s just my friend…Well yes…We went out for six months…And ya, ya, we did sleep together…but there is nothing between us now…Oops, I shouldn’t have said it that way…”).


Back to the 1989 wisdom of Billy Crystal as Harry Burns and Meg Ryan as Sally Albright:

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

Now let’s suppose that Harry Burns is right that men and women really can’t be friends because of the “sex part.” If that is indeed the case, then why do women propose to a soon-to-be-ex or someone-with-no-chance that they should just settle on friendship? Is it because it sounds nice, a kind of warm-and-fuzzy coup de grace?

Maybe that is just the point. Many have lamented about the loss of civility in society, and quite possibly women are trying to take the sting out of these messages instead of just being straight forward. Personally, I respect stand-up men and stand-up women. I suspect that many others do as well.

Of course, there is something to be said for friends with “benefits.” Check out the trailer.