I seem to be having a bit of a 'thing' currently for male friendships. Dry your eyes, mate obviously played on that theme, but my interest has been given a further boost recently by the essay on ship_manifesto about the relationship between Jed Bartlet and Leo McGarry in The West Wing . Now, ship_manifesto is by its nature about positing sexual/romantic relationships between characters, but (as many of the essays, including that one, freely admit) what it's really about is highlighting the closeness between two (or more) characters and what they offer to one another, and then pointing out that readers could interpret that in a sexual/romantic light if they wished (which in this case, I choose not to). And, wow, the closeness between these two... I've been re-watching the episodes highlighted in the essay and finding the relationship utterly compelling (in no small part due to the sterling acting of John Spencer, who plays Leo). I've seen all these episodes before, of course, but 'diluted' by other episodes which focus on other relationships than that between Jed and Leo. But watching them back to back is something else... Yes, there are tears, and the odd hug, and one kiss on the cheek [which has been going round in my head rather a lot over the last few days]. But those are all just the demonstrative tip of a huge solid iceberg of love and trust and concern and respect that these two men have for one another. Most of the time they just sit and talk. They don't need to be forever demonstrating that love because they both know with utter certainty that it's there, so why talk about it? It's an interesting contrast to the romantic model of love which requires constant declarations and physical demonstrations to assert its continued existence; and I think I've sometimes previously underestimated the strength and importance of real-life male friendships because of this 90%-below-the-surface nature which they do often have. Anyway, I shall continue exploring, and musing, and see whether further entries or fiction result from this preoccupation.