You’ll sometimes hear it said that men and women can’t be friends because the man always wants to have sex with her and is just waiting for his chance.
There’s some truth to that. I’ve seen it plenty of times, where a young man will hang out with a woman and help her move and do other things for her, solely because he’s hoping to get her naked. Even when she has a boyfriend, or several boyfriends, he hopes to pounce when they break up or to get worked into the rotation.
Not always, of course. If they were childhood friends, they might stay friends for life without thoughts of sex getting in the way. There might be other exceptions but they’re rare.
OK, so men aren’t friends with women without an ulterior motive.
What about from the other direction? Can women be friends with men without an ulterior motive?
Evidence says … no.
Women with male orbiters always need something. (More broadly, women always need something.) “Are you free Saturday? I’m getting some Ikea and it cost too much for them to carry it up and assemble it.” “Can you help me unclog my bathtub? The landlord can’t get to it until Monday.” Not uncommonly the help is monetary. “Can I borrow two hundred dollars? I can’t pay my rent this month.”
Besides that, modern women thrive on the attention they get from the men around them. Sure, they don’t need it to live, but their lives are a pale, miserable shadow of what they could be.
Something like young men’s lives, if they aren’t having sex with a willing, not-too-unattractive woman.
(Obligatory caveat about “not all women”. Caveat about not everyone being heterosexual … though I have noticed that some lesbians, including one in an apparently happy marriage with a woman, keep male orbiters around. For the attention? As handymen? Both?)
Men, if you’re friends with a woman because you’re hoping to score someday, back up and take a hard, jaundiced look at your “friendship”. She’s already getting what she wants and the odds are low that you’ll ever get what you want. You need to ask just what benefit you’re getting if you’re not friends with benefits.