During my college years I did consider myself a Platonic lecher. I was cuddly and enjoyed falling asleep with a friend despite wanting to practice abstinence until marriage. (I had too strong a traditional upbringing to practically consider physical intimacy with anyone but those with whom I was closest friends. I also refused to risk hurting those valued friendships, and noticed that college students who were not chaste never remained on friendly terms with anyone they dated and then broke up with.)
I was fortunate to have many friendships with enough trust and affection to allow napping together. All my close friends were mature and sober enough to appreciate the unspoken rule of "No hinting: if you want something, ask plainly, whether help on homework or a backrub or much more." My several overlapping circles of friends included almost exclusively proactive people who generated our own circumstances—and the proximity of dorm life and intense homework study gave all of us the desire to create a subculture in which emotional intimacies could develop free from the ways society normally confused love and lust.
But there were a few times when asking a young woman to fall asleep beside me provoked a very negative reaction, before I learned to only ask only close friends.
Oh, for those college days when I had the free time to compose apologies as poems! This was written on March 15th, 1992. (And it did not work as an apology. Anne never again said more than "Hi" to me.)
This poem may be my favorite of all those I have written. It starts as a sonnet but the rhyme and meter decay for an obvious reason.
two sweet places without time: Normally when hugging a friend we must think about how long to hug, but when falling asleep with someone in your arms there is no such concern. Also dreaming, perhaps of each other.
To fall asleep with warmth that is not mine,
To wake up knowing what I first will see,
To visit two sweet places without time,
To need no other form of ecstasy:
It's not extending friendship, closeness, bonds.
It's something different, sideways, holding hands
With what is normal closeness between friends.
Because our lives hold little leisure time
I asked to share the last of privacy.
I'm sorry if I shocked you, threw you, hurt.
I meant no harm. I meant the best. I meant...
We used to share a dozen words in passing,
And now we trade but two. I miss the ten.