DEAR HARRIETTE: Can women and men really be friends with no strings attached? Someone brought it to my attention that men pursue friendships with women initially because they are attracted to them and think about one thing only. My friend then said that men befriend other men if they have something in common.
I think it’s possible for people of opposite sexes to be friends. Whether you're a man or a woman, common interests bring people together regardless of physical attraction. -- Age-Old Question
DEAR AGE-OLD QUESTION: The funniest depiction of this classic question appeared in the film "When Harry Met Sally." Even through that movie, the answer wasn’t completely clear.
In my opinion and experience, I can say that it is certainly possible for people to be “just friends” with the gender they are attracted to, and for those friendships to be meaningful and long-lasting. To your point about sharing common interests, I believe that this is one powerful reason for people to notice each other in the first place.
This does not discount another common reality -- one person in a friendship, at least, may have started out being romantically attracted to the other person, even if that interest was never pursued. Perhaps what’s more important in friendships is whether two people can find a way to genuinely love and support each other, no matter what that initial spark may have been.
DEAR HARRIETTE: How can I appropriately shop in a hurry? I know my general style, but I hate going into fitting rooms to try things on. I'd rather be able to look at an outfit and know by the material and size if it will be a good fit. As someone in the fashion world, do you have any quick tips to help me pick clothes in a non-time- consuming way? -- Hate Shopping
DEAR HATE SHOPPING: Ready-to-wear clothing is meant to fit many bodies who have the measurements of a particular standard size. If you know your measurements, theoretically you should be able to look at a garment, check the size and be able to fit it.
In reality, it’s not that easy. People carry their body weight differently. Height, weight and proportions figure prominently into whether a garment will fit you. If you have a sense of what shapes look best on your body, go for those silhouettes. This will, at least, get you closer to a good fit right away. Look for fabrics that stretch, as they are more forgiving in their fit.
Finally, shop at places that will allow you to return everything within a manageable period of time. In this way, you can purchase what you are interested in and try the items on in your own home rather than in the confines of a dressing room.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)