I was sad to hear about Nora Ephron’s passing recently. I can’t honestly say I was a huge fan of hers or anything, but the woman did some fantastic writing over the years, including the script for one of my all-time favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally…
I was in my early 20s when that film came out, and my love life history was barely existent, and what little there was of it was pretty much a shambles. Starting in middle-school, very nearly all my crushes and girls I’d fallen head-over-heels in love where all… friends. All my guy friends constantly begged me to stop it, telling me that there is a primal truth– that men and women can’t be friends AND more than friends. In fact, men and women can’t really be friends at all because there’s always going to be “the sex thing” that gets in the way.
I couldn’t help it though… I’d fall in love with some of my female friends and wanted both love and friendship.
The concept of course was a non-starter with the girls in high school, but I did manage to make it work a few times once I went to college. Still, while all my guy friends were racking up countless dates and girlfriends over the years, most of my time was spent alone, usually pining away for another lady friend who had put me squarely in The Friend Zone.
Then I saw the movie When Harry Met Sally… and I was like YES! YES! (Much like Sally in the diner). Not only can men and women be friends, but that friendship can sometimes bloom into something more. Even if it was just a movie, it was validating to me, proof that I wasn’t fundamentally broken, waiting for something that just doesn’t exist (even if it takes decades like Harry and Sally did).
In the movie, I loved Harry’s final pitch to Sally that they should be together:
“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.”
This reminds me of the post I wrote recently (The Good Stuff), and it’s definitely something to hope for. When a love is grounded in friendship, you develop that affection for your partner in their entirety, things that you might find annoying in someone who was just a friend (roommate) or just a lover.
Thank you Nora Ephron for bringing characters to director Rob Reiner and actors Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, characters that spoke to my heart and told me that what I wanted most in the world was really not asking too much.