Platonic Friendlationships

Downton Abbey Season 6 Spoilers Ahead…

 

 

 

I confess. As I’ve watched Downton Abbey the last 2 seasons, I’ve come to wish that Branson and Mary would try and make a go of it. After all, they get along famously and make each other genuinely better people (especially in Mary’s case.) Plus little Sybbie and Master George are growing up together anyways. Why not just go ahead already?

Tom Branson and Mary Crawley Downton Abbey platonic friendlationship blog post
Photo from dailymail.co.uk

But, after Sunday’s episode, I have finally accepted that it isn’t meant to be. Mainly because Mary married another dude. So all my dreams of the perfect ship have drowned.

In the aftermath of disappointment, a new feeling and deeper understanding of Mary and Branson has taken shape. Theirs is the perfect example of a platonic friendlationship done splendidly right. Possibly the only one on TV that I have ever witnessed. (Arguments could be made for Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld or Phoebe and Joey from Friends.) See, what happens most of the time (and especially on soap operas) is that man meets woman, man loves woman, man loses woman, man finds new woman, man loves new woman. And the same is true on the women’s side as well. Anyone with television watching history knows that the best couples start out either on opposite ends of the spectrum (hating each other) or as the very best of friends (and not realizing they love each other.) Enter Mary Crawley and Tom Branson. Not only did they start out at opposite ends of the spectrum (he a chauffeur, she a rich aristocrat and them hating each other) but after the deaths of not one, but both of their spouses, they became the most unlikely pair of best friends. Hence the thought that they might end up together.

Instead, they remain dear and devoted friends. (In fact, Tom was the best man at both of Mary’s weddings. Chew on that one!) They are friends who love one another deeply, but who didn’t so much as look sideways at one another in a romantical way (despite my fervent prayers for it to happen.) Perhaps it was because he was married to her sister. It could be that the class lines just couldn’t be crossed. But I think it’s because sometimes, every once in a while, men and women can truly just be friends and nothing more.

I have to say, this has not been my experience. If I haven’t had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for a guy, a guy has had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for me. In fact, the best friend I have, who is of the male species, is my brother.

Platonic Friendlationships are very hard to come by. And harder to keep. Which is why Mary and Branson not getting together (and fulfilling my hopes and dreams) is a really, really good thing. I often desperately need to be reminded that men and women can be friends without the mushy stuff getting in the way. That it isn’t all about roses and rainbows and kisses in the rain. Sometimes it’s about honesty and kindness and a person you can rely on to always be there, even when it’s hard.

TOm Branson and Mary Crawley platonic friendlationship PBS blog post
Photo from gpb.org

(Deep breath and shoulder shrug) I wish it was as easy as having a team of writers craft the perfect scenario and just being directed to follow a script. If that were the case, then maybe I could have written it so that the men who’ve come into my life could have just been my friends. There would be no suspicion of ulterior motives. There would be no longing for something more. Just friendship at it’s finest. Honestly, I don’t even know what that would look like. Girl friends, I get. But boys? I’m 33 and I still can’t figure them out!

I will take a lesson from Tom Branson and Mary Crawley (I suppose I need to get used to calling her Mary Talbot now?) I will keep hope alive that men aren’t always trying to get into my pants. That maybe there’s a Branson out there who just wants to be in my life and see me happy, even if it isn’t with him. Perhaps especially if it isn’t with him. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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