So, as it appears that my swivel chair in the Second Largest Gym In The World is the new place where I hold courtly proceedings (RIP Commons 2002-2006), I had occasion to casually chitchat with “Young Love and Basketball” this past Sunday afternoon. While a general seething ball of rage during her freshman campaign, she is in the early lead for the Tiffany C. Martin Comeback Player of the Year Memorial trophy, an honor bestowed on those individuals who, while once rather jerky and standoffish, show enough grit and determination to personify the “better late than never” adage.

Anyway, while we spoke of such matters as sweet potato pie and she attempted to slander the good name of my cooking, the discussion turned to her mate, who is something of a winter chicken. After a convoluted tale of wooing that included the purchase of a prom dress (while not being allowed to be a prom date due to the fact that he probably should have been chaperoning), her yarn wrapped up with the classic, “We were friends at first, then…”

After I chortled at an innocence and naivete that can only be found in the midwestern United States, I informed her that, while she may have been proceeding in a friendly manner, his intentions were not of the high-five nature. Now, that is not to say that he only wanted to put his Snickers in her Milky Way, but it is to say that the thought of doing this was at least in the back of his mind.

Upon hearing this, young miss attempted to put the pieces of her shattered universe back together by telling me that this was not the case and even went on to say she has plenty of male friends that don’t want to bump stomachs with her. I mean, why in the world would guys she doesn’t look at that way look at her that way, right?

Why? Because we’re guys and unless it never crossed our minds from jump street (mainly due to the fact that we wouldn’t sleep with the person based on an initial sighting anyway), then it’s at least at the back of our minds. Yeah, we may not want to shtoop you, but we would in the general sense. And frankly, that’s not an insult and doesn’t cheapen the relationship with the young lady. I mean, if your friend is that rare combination of attractive — personality, physical qualifications, intelligence, cool — you should probably want to, at some point, wake up next to them wondering why you’re naked under their sheets. Doesn’t mean that you should do it; I’m just saying you should sort of want to. Why “do the grown-up” with people you don’t find friendly (I mean, excluding the cases of redemptive consensual vindication sex to settle some petty score)? In fact, I’m told a lot of good marriages are based around poking at your best friend, so really, I can’t be that off-base.

Of course, in her youthful defiance, she kept trying to allege that guys and girls can be just friends from jump, which I categorically deny. You can eventually be that, but the uncertainty is basically a guarantee. I’m pretty sure girls don’t know about this because of that foolish girl logic which tells them that guy in the bar whom they never met before approached them and struck up a conversation because he could tell they had a good heart underneath their snug T-shirts. Mind you, these same girls are generally of the attractive or desirable nature. I’m not sure of the corollary here, but it seemed worth mentioning.

At this juncture, friends, I’d like to present the T Diagram. It’s something that is only slightly less than bulletproof when discussing man, woman, chaos. OK, all guys and gals who meet each other and are heterosexual start at the bottom of the T (Sidebar 1: I’m pretty sure the Diagram works out for the gay and lesbian community as well, but I’m working with what I know here). Of course, this start assumes that at least one of the party finds the other reasonably attractive and hasn’t thrust them into the “Friend because I wouldn’t” category. The point between the bottom of the T and the intersection of the T is the Region of Uncertainty. In this region, one of the parties, most often the guy, is casually putting out his feelers to see what the business is. Doesn’t mean the guy is in it only for that; this is just standard operating procedure starting at about age 12. Usually the girl is completely unaware that this is even occurring, but this does not prevent the feeler deployment from being a reality. During these times, the guy is generally caucusing with his buddies, contemplating making a move but remaining unsure for two reasons: 1) Nobody likes getting the kiss lean-in rejection; and 2) Because if the girl is actually cool, the post-kiss lean-in rejection awkwardness is enough to drive a man to Toad’s.

Eventually, the two parties reach the intersection of the T and take the left into relationships/probable bad decisions or the right into friendship/unrequited love. Though not unknown to those of the XX chromosomal ilk, this agony is generally felt by the male because they have johnsons, and, as Bernard Freeman once so eloquently quipped, “the venom in [their] snake wants to poison.” It is again important to note that this transition can and often does take place without the female’s knowledge. So while she thought you visited her suite all the time because you were friendly and actually liked tea, the reality of the situation was that you had weighed the kiss lean-in rejection/ post-kiss lean-in rejection awkwardity (yeah, I just made up a word) and decided against. Only after that has the friendship aspect started for both parties. The guys who are actually successful at snagging that girl who was a friend and turn her into a girlfriend/jump-off weren’t “friends” at first; rather, they successfully navigated the Region of Uncertainty and took that hard left in the moment of truth. Facts are facts, baby.

Anecdote: Because I don’t have unattractive friends in general, I clearly don’t have unattractive female friends (Sidebar 2: My father always told me to, no matter what, surround myself with beautiful women, and so far it’s working out like gangbusters). Because of this fact, I have either wanted to sleep with all of them at some point/hypothetically would. Doesn’t mean I have, just means I would. True Story: Marion Jones (sans juice) one of my truly dear friends (whom I have never poked, prodded or otherwise) was on my radar the very first day of orientation about 1460 days ago. Did she think I really asked for a bite of her ABP sandwich, a bite she obliged me with, because I was hungry? In point of fact she probably did, but she’s one of the dizzy dames I was talking about a few lines back. Let’s be serious. I sent out my feelers to find something and ended up getting a whole lot more in return. Still, make no mistake, my initial reaction was not “Gee, she looks like a swell pal!” Peace to the natural order.

Penultimate Thought: Yalies: not known for their spontaneity

Final Thought: I’m curious to see how clever people get for the Yale-Harvard tailgate.

If Jon Pitts-Wiley wants a bite of your sandwich, think twice about it. might find yourself taking a sharp left turn on a dangerous curve.