Men. Canada is full of them. And women. In almost equal numbers. But should they be friends? Or only sex partners and enemies? These are the questions plaguing our northern neighbors, as evidenced by an article recently published and republished on several of the websites of the country's major newspapers owned by the Postmedia publishing group:
Men, women can be friends, but should they?
To look for answers, Canada turned to Wisconsin, which, to them, might seem like a pretty cool place even though to the United States it seems like Wisconsin.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently examined the platonic, opposite-sex friendships of over 400 heterosexual adults, ranging in age from 18 to 52, to find out if people could ever just be friends without wanting to get all up inside their friends.
According to psychologist and principal researcher Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, there is, in the majority of opposite-sex friendships, "at least a low level of attraction."
"And if it's coming more from one friend than the other, it's probably the guy."
Burned, guys. You guys just got burned.
Bleske-Rechek's article, newly published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships analyzes data from two studies meant to qualify the effect of sexual attraction on platonic friendships.
In one study, individuals from 88 opposite-sex friend pairs were asked to rate qualities like the attractiveness of their opposite-sexed friend, the strength of their desire to go on a romantic date with that person, and the perceived desire of their friend to take them on a romantic date.
The results? Again: just serious third-degree burns for the guys.
Not only did men report more attraction to their female friends than women did to their male friends—they also overestimated the strength of their female friends' attraction to them.
Women, on the other hand, underestimated their male friends' level of attraction to them, because they don't know they're beautiful, oh oh, and that's what makes them beautiful.
Bleske-Rechek theorizes that men evolved to be "more sexually opportunistic" i.e. slutty and desperate because they "faced the risk of being shut out, genetically, if they didn't take advantage of various reproductive opportunities."
The other study found that, as a rule, people who found their platonic friends smokin' hot were less likely to be satisfied in their romantic relationships. Go figure.
So, what does this mean for Canada? Should men and women be friends?
No, no, no. Absolutely not. Not even a little bit. This is how empires crumble. This is how tensions brew on the set of Gossip Girl.
Still, says, Bleske-Rechek, people will probably continue to seek out friends of the opposite sex despite the potential perils for their happiness, romance, and overall well-being, "because they find fulfillment in these friendships."
Oh, please. That's just the kind of thing your guy friend would say if he were trying to get in your pants.