Can an unjust man who is perceived as a just man be considered equal to one another? It’s a question that had been on my mind ever since Mr. Big left for Macedonia. I had shown up to another event with yet a different man as my plus one, only to ditch him once the sun had fallen. To be fair, each man appeared to be just, but was he really? Sure they all carried a decent conversation, looked nice on my arm, and didn’t protest too much when I brought up Ideal Forms again, but what did I really know about any of them? To make matters worse, we were always introduced to others as “Plato and friend,” as if bringing a friend was a bad thing.
Although, I admit over the last month I’ve made so many new friends, they ought to name that sort of relationship after me. Platonic, perhaps. It has a good ring to it.
I brought up my predicament with Socrates, Glaucon, and Adiemantus at brunch on Saturday. Socrates didn’t understand my concept of being platonic.
“Are you fucking these men or are they your friends? You love your friends, but you don’t fuck them. Do you wanna fuck me right now?” Socrates blurted out just as our olives and honey arrived.
He was right. These three philosophers meant more than the world to me. Now that’s a true platonic relationship. But did that mean sex and love were to remain completely separate? Was it too much for a lonely thinker to ask to find both in the same person? Perhaps the creation of one special person who could satisfy both needs was a myth. If the animals weren’t monogamous, why should we be?
Adiemantus had a problem with this theory.
“Of course love and sex exist in the same person,” he said, smoothing the wrinkles from his linen tunic. Always the idealist, he believed the perfect person was still on their way. “Picture an ideal city. Would he exist there?”
“Not in my ideal city.” Socrates piped in, pursing his lips.
“You don’t need love?” asked Adiemantus.
“I love myself plenty. It’s loving who you’re sleeping with that becomes a problem.”
Socrates made a valid argument and was one I knew I’d contemplate more while deep conditioning my beard that night. Sex was an urge no different than hunger or thirst. Perhaps it really was best not to become emotionally engaged with another. Why let love get in the way of something that on a basic level amounted to an animal instinct?
“But is that really just?” pleaded Andiemantus, trying not to scuff his new Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane walking sandals against the cobblestone floor. “How do you know the other person isn’t emotionally entangled in you?”
“That’s their problem, not mine.” Socrates said.
I thought about Big. Were we mutually entangled? Or was the feeling only one sided.
“Plato has a point,” Glaucon said at last. His practical nature had led to his silence on the matter until now, but when push came to shove, he always took my side over Socrates'. “Furthermore, the purpose of the sexual instinct is for procreation, is it not? Should a man who is satisfying the urge without the intent to produce offspring be held to the same standard?”
“Of course not!” Adiemantus interrupted. He had always wanted children but had never been successful. His penchant toward forming relationships exclusively with women to achieve this purpose had sparked many heated discussions with Socrates. Glaucon, on the other hand, had one moment of weakness with a female and had produced a son with little effort at all. This also produced many heated discussions with Socrates.
“Then perhaps it is time to reconsider the equality of women with men,” Glaucon suggested. At this suggestion, Socrates rolled his eyes and left us for a neighboring table of much younger men.
We were a table of three now, but as I looked into the eyes of my favorite philosopher-kings, I knew that this was more important an any sexual affair. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder: Could Big ever offer this type of friendship, too? He would return from Macedonia in a few days, but how long would it be before he left again? Glaucon and Adiemantus were forever.
I contemplated the value of friendship that night as I lay out my tunic and cloak for tomorrow with another new pair of sandals and made a note to learn better bartering skills. I may have had my friends, but my bed was still empty. Picture the ideal city, Adiemantus had said. All I knew was that in my ideal city, Big would be back by now.
I hummed a lovesick tune as I climbed under the covers, pondering if love was merely a madness and mental disease, when I heard my song echoing back to me from the courtyard below. It was Big, back sooner than expected. He knocked on the door and pushed it open, revealing all the parts of his magnificent self. I took him in and that’s when I knew. If love was a madness it was surely the greatest of heaven’s blessings.
And just like that… I had forgotten all about Socrates and that his silly philosophies had ever been in our thoughts at all.