My dear platonic guys

I'm writing this in response to an awesome girl's lingering question on whether platonism does exist. She used to believe that a man can befriend a woman and keep the relationship free from amorous thoughts. She felt betrayed (it's a bit exaggerating, I know) when her best male buddy expressed his more-than-friends-interest for her. She literally begged me to convince her on the very being of platonic relationship.

I have a news for you, Girl. A good one, actually. That there is this beautiful thing called "platonic relationship". So here my story goes.

Case 1: Good ol' Bonny.

I had never been so close to Bonny, a guy with whom I shared the love for music and choral works, until I was in my third year in uni. He broke up with his girlfriend (a cute young lady who was actually a good friend of mine), and somehow we ended up doing things together. I guess it was because both of us in quite a sudden had more time for ourselves. He didn't have a girl to hang out with, and my then boyfriend just got a job which demanded his full concentration AND our time. Having a house at such a strategic location in town, my place usually became the meeting point for my friends. In addition, there was no parental surveillance as my folks lived in Semarang at that time. Bonny had been a regular visitor, along with several other people (including his ex, of course), so it was not that unusual when his visits became more frequent.

Spending more time with him, he grew to be my confidante. Especially when it came to the boring boyfriend-girlfriend thingy, hehehehe... It was my very first relationship, I was extremely insecure and jealous and a bit obsessed with my boyfriend, so I turned to him with questions like:

"Why did he do that to me?"
" Is he mad at me?"
" Is he cheating on me?"
"Will he think I'm lousy?" (Yes, I even told him about my first kiss... whoa!)

And millions other silly questions.

Now, whenever my thought drifts to Bonny, I could only smile and feel warm for his amazing patience. I did cry on his shoulder, dragged him to food courts/bookstores, and he drove me to my lecturer's house in Sidoarjo for my "skripsi" assistance, every time. He accompanied me when I was rushing in campus, from one office to the other, as I was near deadline. He helped me with house chores, sometimes. He was part of my family already, and my mom loved him.

And yet, we were never more than friends. And I know that none of us had even thought about it. We liked going out together but the most intimate touch we could bear was the big hug. I was head over heels in love with my boyfriend, and he was attracted to another girl, Irene.

We grew distanced when I finished my study and moved to Jakarta. He started to date Irene. Later he told me that Irene was jealous at me. I was stunned in disbelief. I understood, though. I was busy with my work and new life in Jakarta, and we rarely contacted each other before we lost it at all. I found out from another friend that he eventually married Irene.

Case 2: Bona

Bona was my classmate at the uni, but we had not been close until we both joined the foreign service. Never would I imagine that I would meet someone from my college time, several years after I graduated, when I was looking for my seat at the building where the department held its recruitment tests. We were fortunate enough to pass all the tests and we ended up working for the same institution.

At that moment, time was not on my side, romance-wise. I had parted with my (now ex) boyfriend and got in an unhealthy, destructive relationship with another guy afterward. Bona, on the other hand, was getting steady with his girlfriend (who also happened to be our mutual friend).

Anyways, we hung out together practically everywhere, especially since his girlfriend was living in Surabaya. We talked about our master's program materials, did our papers together, went clubbing and shopping, or sometimes we'd just take a break in each of our houses.

Like Bonny, Bona was my "garbage bin" and a family member. I cried out to him when I ditched my boyfriend (but somehow felt like I was dumped) and he would laugh at me, saying that the jerk wasn't worth it at all. With his wicked smile, he'd also whispered to me not to be a donkey that fell for the second time, when I told him that my ex called. He kept telling me to judge a potential guy by whether he loves football match, because "only real gentlemen like footballs." Of course, this latter advise has never been my consideration.

Oh yeah, and once he bought me a special edition of Hustler when he came back from an official tour to New York. A gift which caused me a nausea for frantically trying to hide it from my mom's perfect sight and annoying hobby of cleaning up my desk.

He also called me at 2 or 3 am (I had a private line in my room in Jakarta) only to ask: "Why are you sleeping?". I'd just snap at him, "Bon, get lost!" and went back to my sleep.

After he got married and his wife moved to Jakarta, naturally we started to go different ways. We still called each other, or talked over coffee in some cafes sometimes. But now after we're in different places (he is posted in New York), we are barely in communication.

Case 3: Kucink

His girlfriend blogs too, and I know that he might kill me if I put his name in this blog... but I don't give a damn, hehehe..

I knew him from Friendster. I sent him a message first, because his name managed to draw my attention. I love cats.

He quickly responded, and we found ourselves chatting through Friendster. It didn't take long before we exchanged Yahoo IDs and insulted each other using the medium, hehehe... We met up several times and it was apparent from the very first that we clicked. I still can't figure out, however, why our conversations mostly contend harsh things, naming names -- while we did try to be more civilized by bringing up topics like politics and social issues. Tsah! I am always comfortable talking to him about anything, including -- you guessed -- curhat!

There were times when it was his turn to pour out his heart, like when he had problems with his girlfriend and he needed a girl's perspective. My wise advise usually started with an insult before I proceeded to possible solutions. He gave me this cute farewell gift, a few mini stuffed kittens in a basket.

He is my current platonic guy, of course. We kick each other in Yahoo messengers, I still go to him for things I don't understand about men in general and find comfort in his companionship (though offline!) and silly jokes. At the same time, just like with the other great guys, I enjoy a pure friendship.


I was going to write them in aliases, not their real names, to protect their private lives hehehe... But people, especially those who know me in real life, may think that I made up the story. So I decided to put their real first names. I just hope, Girl, that this will open your eyes and bring you back to that old confidence of yours in platonism. Not platoonism :) *kriuk!*.

The love that...

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice

Sungguh pernyataan cinta abadi.
Dari Romeo untuk Juliet? Dari Markus Antonius untuk Cleopatra? Bisikan Cupid pada setiap orang untuk diteruskan pada orang lain yang menjadi sasaran hasrat hatinya?

Mari kita lihat syair lengkap lagu indah ini.

I vow to thee, my country—all earthly things above—
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago—
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace

Ternyata obyek cinta abadi itu adalah... negara.

Inilah ungkapan hati dari seorang abdi negara, keparat pemerintah, yang kebetulan memiliki kecintaan pada musik, hehehehe...

I Vow to Thee, My Country adalah sajak patriotik karya Cecil Spring-Rice yang diciptakan tahun 1918, sesudah Perang Dunia I. Untuk melagukannya, digunakan musik "Jupiter", yang merupakan bagian dari komposisi Gustav Holst, Planets Suite, dan dikenal juga sebagai Thaxted.

Kita mungkin pernah mendengarkan versi yang dinyanyikan Charlotte Church. Buat saya sih terasa lebih khidmat dan megah bila dibawakan oleh kelompok paduan suara yang baik. Bermimpi juga saya bahwa satu saat saya akan bisa membawakan komposisi ini lagi, sebagai seorang alto tentu.

O ya, yang penasaran seperti apa lagu tersebut, boleh klik di sini.

Kartu Natal

On the second day of Christmas
My true love sent to me
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree

Tiap kali melewati deretan kartu di swalayan tempat saya membeli keperluan sehari-hari, saya berhenti untuk mengamati gambar dan kata-katanya. Kartu-kartu seperti ini di Indonesia hanya dijual di tempat-tempat berpendingin dan penjaga toko yang mengamati kita dengan cermat begitu kita memasuki tempatnya bekerja, dan menyentuh barang-barang yang dipajang.

Menjelang Natal, kartu-kartu ucapan mendominasi gerai pasar swalayan dan toko buku, di samping berbagai produk lain yang dikemas menarik hati, mendorong para pembelanja menggesek kartu kredit mereka dan pusing memikirkan tagihannya pada bulan Januari:).

Sampai dengan sepuluh tahun lalu, kartu masih menjadi moda utama saya (dan saya kira teman-teman saya juga) untuk menghantarkan ucapan selamat maupun belasungkawa. Kartu dengan desain menarik disertai rangkaian kata puitis mengharu-biru, apalagi bila harganya terjangkau, sudah pasti akan menjadi pilihan utama. Mendekati hari-hari raya, kita akan rela ikut berdesakan di sekitar keranjang-keranjang besar yang memuat kartu-kartu ucapan, untuk bisa memperoleh kartu-kartu terbaik (tentunya yang memenuhi kriteria bagus dan murah, hehehe...).

Waktu SD, saya dan adik saya bahkan bersaing memperoleh kartu Natal dari keluarga dan teman-teman. Tentu, ada modal ada barang. Artinya, kalau sebelumnya kami rajin mengirim kartu Lebaran atau kartu Natal, maka biasanya kami akan memperoleh kartu balasan. Kompetisi konyol itu berhenti sejak kami duduk di bangku SMA.

Di jaman kuliah, karena saya harus mengatur sendiri pos pengeluaran untuk kartu ucapan, saya dan teman akrab saya berburu kartu murah di emperan toko sepanjang jalan Tunjungan. Harga yang lebih kurang 300-500 rupiah per kartu cukup bersahabat dengan kantong mahasiswa kala teh botol bisa didapatkan dengan 150 rupiah saja. Saya selalu tersenyum-senyum sendiri mengenang masa itu, masa-masa indah yang kadang ingin saya jalani kembali... walau saya tahu bahwa hidup harus berjalan terus...

Masalah kartu tidak berhenti pada memperolehnya saja -- kita harus memikirkan kata-kata yang akan diterakan di dalamnya. Saya tergolong mereka yang tidak suka menggrosir ucapan -- saya akan berusaha agar pada tiap kartu terdapat ucapan yang berbeda. Jaman pra-internet itu kurang memungkinkan saya untuk mencari contekan ungkapan indah dari Bluemountain, sehingga saya harus menghabiskan sedikitnya dua hari hanya untuk menuliskan ucapan selamat di semua kartu. Dan, entah kenapa, dengan berjalannya waktu, makin sedikit pula jumlah orang yang saya kirimi kartu sendiri -- biasanya tersisa keluarga, teman-teman terdekat, dan pacar tentunya.

Setelah komunikasi nirkabel menjadi pilihan utama, kepraktisan mendorong saya melakukan dan membiasakan apa yang tadinya saya hindari: produksi massa ucapan selamat. Saya cukup mengetikkan "Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri, Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin" atau "Selamat Natal! Waktu bagi-bagi kaastengels!" sekali, dan mengirimkannya pada 20 sampai 30 nomor. Kecuali teman-teman terdekat yang masih perlu saya telepon secara khusus untuk menyampaikan pesan sukacita itu. Kartu masih ada, tapi hanya untuk yang disematkan di kado Natal, dan itu berarti bisa dihitung dengan jari.

Sejujurnya, saya ingin kembali merasakan mencari kartu ucapan yang berbeda, berburu kartu murah tapi disertai semangat ingin mengungkapkan kegembiraan saya atau partisipasi saya dalam kegembiraan mereka yang merayakan Hari Raya itu. Tapi kok ya semakin malas saja saya, hehehehe... Dan akhirnya SMS menjadi pilihan utama. Bahkan Bluemountain atau Yahoo Card juga hampir-hampir tidak saya lirik lagi.

Kado Natal

On the first day of Christmas
My true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree

Masa-masa menjelang Natal waktu kecil dulu selalu menyenangkan bagi saya, baik ketika menjalaninya maupun mengenangnya. Sepertinya satu-satunya masalah hanyalah kalau saya mendapat hadiah Natal yang kurang menggembirakan, hehehe... dan itu jarang sekali.

Karena tahu bahwa saya suka membaca dan menggambar (meskipun di usia empat tahun, emaq saya gambarkan secara menyedihkan dengan telinga Miki Tikus), hadiah-hadiah Natal yang saya terima pun tidak jauh-jauh dari setumpuk buku dan alat-alat gambar. Kalau dipikir-pikir, Natal saya kurang variatif, apa yang bakal saya dapat sebenarnya gampang ditebak. Tapi toh tetap mampu membuat saya menunggu-nunggu waktu merobek bungkusan dengan nama saya, di bawah pohon cemara sintetis dengan lampu warna-warni itu. (Hal serupa terjadi pada serial Scooby Doo yang selalu menampilkan hantu gadungan, namun kerap sukses membikin saya dan berjuta-juta anak lain berdebar-debar).

Buku-buku cerita dari Alkitab dengan ilustrasi atraktif adalah yang paling sering saya terima. Bila tidak salah ingat, selama beberapa tahun berturut-turut saya menerima buku-buku seperti itu dari nenek atau oom dan tante saya. Justru ibu sayalah yang lebih kreatif dengan memperkenalkan beragam cerita dari berbagai negara, atau menyelingkan hadiah dengan mainan.

Setelah dewasa, pemberian kado Natal lebih bersifat "fakultatif", artinya tidak setiap Natal terjadi acara ini, dan terkadang kado Natal hanya diberikan kepada orang tua. Tapi setiap hadiah yang saya terima selalu sesuatu yang baru, berbeda, dan membawa kesenangan tersendiri.

Tidur Style

Gara-gara baca posting blog Sondi, yang sebenarnya diilhami oleh salah satu posting di blog ini juga (hehehe...), saya tahu-tahu terpikir gaya tidur saya. Saya baru sadar bahwa gaya tidur saya setelah pindah ke sini ternyata berubah.

Waktu di Jakarta, saya selalu tidur dengan badan dan kepala menghadap ke langit-langit kamar, bantal guling saya peluk melintangi wajah, menutupi mata. Hampir selalu begitu, walaupun lampu pasti saya matikan. Kecuali kalau saya tertidur setelah membaca -- dengan kacamata masih terpasang. Itu pun kerap kali saya bangun menemukan kacamata saya sudah tergeletak dengan rapi di nakas samping ranjang -- pasti ayah saya yang melepaskannya dengan hati-hati. (Sudah berumur lebih dari 30 tahun beginipun, ayah saya masih memeriksa kamar saya untuk memastikan lampu kamar sudah dimatikan. Kebiasaan hemat listrik!).

Di DC, saya tidur menyamping, dan biasanya menghadap teman tidur saya (alias keponakan tercinta), dengan posisi tubuh melingkar (bahasa Jawa: melungker) seperti bayi dalam rahim. Guling jelas sudah tidak ada. Waktu berangkat saya tidak mau repot-repot membawa guling, dan untungnya kualitas tidur saya memang tidak pernah tergantung pada eksistensi guling.

Saya tidak tahu kenapa gaya tidur saya berganti. Mungkin karena waktu datang ke kota ini kami langsung menghadapi musim dingin, sehingga gaya tidur merupakan salah satu cara saya melawan hawa dingin yang tetap ada walaupun pemanas berjalan kencang. Tapi selama musim panas pun saya tidur dengan posisi demikian. Sudah terbiasa, mungkin?

Bringing Your Guy to Your Chick Sessions -- My Version

Before you get on with this, perhaps you'd like to check the original version, titled Girls' Night Out... With Your Guy? This is one amusing writing that managed to trigger my creative side to picture myself in it... with several, er, adjustments. I also found this inside-the-wedlock tip useful for most unmarried (yet) couples.

Anyway, the writer suggests some ideas on how to get your guy to enjoy chick things (or so to speak. On a second thought: could this be read 'how to FORCE your guy to enjoy things that vibe you?'). Or in her words: slowly introduce him to the things that may initially freak him out. How right!

1. Watch a chick flick.

This comes from the very stereotypical thought that guys go for full-action movies, while gals prefer romantic comedies. The writer advises that the girl asks the guy to watch a movie sporting a man (finally) winning his dreamwoman's heart (usually the man in movies like these is a looser, and the woman is model-type, who was once involved with way better looking guys but ends up with this so-called ordinary guy).

Real case test:

No. 1, real-life models date hot dudes, or rich dudes, or hot and rich dudes. Ordinary people are stuck with ordinary people.

No. 2, my guy happens not to be that stereotypical. Some movies on his watchlist: Autumn in New York and You've Got M@il, both of which I never see. I also once dated a guy who watched Titanic five times! (I had enough seeing it once, and that was only for Leonardo di Caprio). Though I can still enjoy romantic or romantic comedy movies, I don't really look for them. In my case, I'll have to find a way to drag him to an.. er.. animated movie *blushes*. Madagascar and Lilo and Stitch are more my things, hehehe.. But I guess both of us can rely on suspense-thrillers.

2. Share a nosh.

Or cook together. Sometimes, pretend that you cook together (though his contribution goes as far as drizzle on some liquor on top of a cup of vanilla ice cream).

Real test case:

Me? Cooking? He can tell spices from their smell way better than I do! Everytime my niece busies herself in the kitchen, I'll take a peek behind her back, grab a can from the fridge or shelf, pour the content down to a bowl and turn on the microwave. Voila! My meal is ready. Let me imagine how our cooking romance will set off:




(thinking really hard)

... I give up. I can only think of the more fun and kinkier "undertakings" that we will be more than happy to commit in the kitchen (or on the kitchen floor?), hehehee...

3. Grab a drink and gab at home.

Lure him into conversation with a glass or two of cocktails, and perhaps after he gets relaxed he'll spill out his sillier side. Or to put it in another way: get him drunk and find out his secrets!

Real test case:

Never tried this before in purpose. And not sure if I ever will. I don't really like the idea. Chatting is chatting, talking is talking, drinking is drinking. Who wants to end up having to bring that limp, big body to the bathroom and seeing he vomits before your very eyes? (Well, unless you have to, but not because you initiate it!). And you might hear what you don't want to hear. Sometimes not knowing means less heartache.

4. Catch a craft fair

This is supposed to introduce your guy to the bliss of shopping, by taking him to a craft exhibition or other shopping venues where he can find things of his interests. It is expected that once he gets used to associating "shopping" with "having fun", he'll have the pleasure to escort you to the malls.

Real case test:

If I go shopping, I'd rather go myself. Or with my girlfriends. Not because he will fuss over it, but I'd prefer other occassions and places I can still share with him. Like having a chat over coffee and tea in his or my fave spots.

And I think guys do like shopping. They just do it differently. I know many guys who could spend hours picking things up, observing new gadgets in Mangga Dua. Those living in the US, try Advance Auto Parts or Best Buys or Home Depot -- you might be surprised on the amount of time they're willing to spare.

So, girlfriends, the next time he criticizes your shopping habbit ("it really is a waste of money for that plain skirt", or "I thought you've already had 100 pairs of black shoes!") remind him that sometimes he brings home not-so-useful devices ("OMG! Another set of bolts? And why should we still have to call the handyman everytime there's a leak in the bathroom?", or "It never occured to me that there are several kinds of fishing hats. The fishes won't notice it anyway, and nor will the boots.")

5. Mosey through a museum

This says that guys typically hate outside brain-exercising activities. And that some men's typical weekends involve sitting in front of the TV or catching the game.

Real case test:

Funny, because I bump into many men in Smithsonian, though. Of course, one can suspect that their girlfriends or wives tug them along, hehehe... And in Indonesia, during weekends men tend to go to -- you guessed -- garages! Somehow they always manage to find something about the car that needs fixing.

If I may suggest, bring them to museums that will entertain both of you, like sex museums. (You'll find them interesting. I did. A porn movie in black and white, produced circa '20? Believe me, the actors were really naked and they actually did the deed!) Unfortunately, museums like these don't exist in Indonesia.

On the other hand, if your guy doesnt like going to museum, I don't see the reason why he should be forced to. But of course, you can tell him that you'd like to bring another male company if he couldn't make it. And mention casually the name of the guy who has a crush on you (and he's well aware of that).

6. Paw over old pics

This means trying to strengthen your bond by sharing and reliving your beautiful moments. According to the writer, these are going to bring back memories of your connection and bring on that warm, fuzzy feeling. It could be just the thing to remind you of what brought you together -- which should come in handy the next time you hit a rough patch in your relationship.

Real Case Test:

I would love to share everything with my guy. I'd even let him see pictures from my teenage period... the selected ones! The ones that I can stand to see myself, hehehe... There are many that I don't have the heart to look through again, they are so sad looking, yucks! But tossing them away feels like trying to erase some parts of my life, and it's not that traumatic that I want to completely forget it!

Final Note

Despite my comments, these may actually work for you! So don't be afraid to try them out.

God is always In-Timely On Time!

I don't know whether this posting's title is grammatically correct, and I certainly don't care, hehehe... I'd just like to share my heartful thanks to the Divine One, whose watchful eyes guard me wherever I go and constant presence enables me to solve my problems! To try to make a list of all of them would be completely foolish; there are way too many, since the day I was born!

During a Friday session at our Embassy a few weeks ago, a colleague who is informally mandated to deliver sermons every time a preacher or evangelist is not present gave the Embassy's "congregation" the above theme to deliberate. It started with another collague's witnessing on how she suddenly fainted out of nothing at the office. She was so scared at that time, thinking that was probably due to hypertension, something that runs in her family. (And that was the day after Thanksgiving, so you can imagine the kind and amount of food filling up her gastric organs!) Praise the Lord, she was brought to the hospital in time, and after a thorough examination the doctors told her that she was alright.

Although this may not seem extraordinary, in such a condition you will feel that God is there when you are at your lowest point. Who knows, what happened to that friend of mine could actually be something more serious?

Anyway, my friend's testimonial was followed by a series of similar incidents befalling the others. Another colleague was driving when she suddenly felt the urge to... put on her make up. As the traffic light had turned red, she pushed the brake pedal and started to paint her face. Her face halfway done, she realized that she was quite far behind the car preceding hers. She did come to think that she had to move closer, yet she didn't do anything. To her shock, before she knew it a trailer passed in front of her and hit the fence of the house on her right side! Had she been several feet advanced, she could've been rempeyek.

These past several months I experienced many things, and each one showed me the unconditional love He showered on me. I planned to put some in this posting to complete stories I have submitted above, but since the most important ones are related to my dearest car -- which I'm going to make a new posting about -- I dropped the idea.

Aside from those big moments (you know, when it's a matter of life and death -- as in YOUR life and death), we usually didn't pay attention to the petty occurances, which -- if we think of them carefully -- demonstrates God's love: the security guard who gives you a free bus ticket after he saw your confusion with the foreign country's transportation system; a grandma who offers to share with you her umbrella at the first sign of snow; tukang warung who without thinking hands you a glass of hot tea the second you enters the warung to shelter you from the heavy rain outside... When was the last time we look back to these things and feel grateful for His presence, through the people around us?


... kangen sama dia. Tapi gengsi menghubungi duluan. Hehehe...