Introducing “the day I got mistaken for a prostitute (while wearing a pair of Nikes)”:

I was overseas. The train I was on derailed and I had to proceed by bus to my next destination, when I got chatting to a guy (who was now stuck in the same [long and laughable] travelling situation). It was the first intellectually stimulating conversation I’d had in weeks. He was an Indian born, schooled in England, living in Switzerland kind of guy. Former private banker (think Swiss bank accounts for all the billionaire Emiratis) turned meditation, yoga, jujitsu loving, soul-searching kind of guy. And he was (and is!) seriously great to talk to. Excitingly, I had made a friend – someone to hang out with for the day!

I was helping him check into his fancy hotel before we were going bike riding. Upon checking in, we’d made it very clear to the staff that I was not staying; and just a friend that was visiting. Upon being interrupted from our conversation concerning meditative breathing techniques (for like the third time!), I still hadn’t quite grasped what the hotel staff thought – this was “naïve/innocent/think the best of everyone” me at my finest – they thought I was a prostitute!

We were then carrying his stuff to his room when the female staff member ran over hurriedly and said quite awkwardly, “I’m sorry, she cannot stay here, it’s against management rules.” And the best bit about all of this was, it still hadn’t clicked for me. The penny had not dropped. “No no I am not staying, just visiting,” I laughed in response – simply thinking that the staff wanted to make it very clear that he had only paid for one guest and not two! My friend ushered us away quickly with an uneasy laugh; thinking I was about to absolutely lose it at the poor girl with my strong ‘independent woman’ gender views! And then the penny dropped.

She thinks I am a prostitute. AND I AM WEARING NIKES!!!!!!!

I repeat, she thinks I am a prostitute. AND I AM WEARING NIKES!!!!

She simply cannot believe that I, being a girl, and he, being a boy, are just friends and that I, a girl, am just helping out a mate, a boy, move his bags before we hang out as friends.

While the point of this article is more to share a quite absurd/absolutely hilarious situation that became a point of laughter for the rest of the day, there is a broader message here: (and no, it wasn’t that I dressed like a prostitute*): boys and girls cannot be just friends.

And we all know that that ^ message is just not true.

I won’t get all ‘when Harry met Sally’** on you but, as a girl that often finds herself with male friends, the old, “we’re just friends” answer rolls off the tongue. But should it have to? Do we, as a society, always have to question the male and female friendship with such doubt and skepticism?

Personally, I think not.

And I know part of the reason is (and this is generalising), but quite often one party does want to be more than just friends. And that party will cling to the hope that just maybe, just maybe, one day, you will be more than just friends.

But I’m going to put this straight. One, I am not a prostitute for simply helping a male mate out. And two, if I say I just want to be your friend, I mean it. We are just friends. So please just be my friend, value me as a friend and respect me as a friend. And not just because you hope that one day we’ll be something more.

*Although we did figure out a while later that my white dress was slightly see through and you could see my swimming costume. But c’mon. Big deal.

**A movie. Watch it. Seriously.