A while ago I wrote about "Marx and Engels", one of the most asexual songs ever. It's an interesting coincidence then, that Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx were the third pair of BFFs to come to the top of my head (along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton/ Paul Cezanne and Emile Zola). These economist-philosophers were most famous for The Communist Manifesto, which they wrote together in 1848. Four years earlier, they had met in Paris, and their friendship would prove to be lifelong. In the 1850s, Marx and Engels lived in England, Marx in London and Engels in Manchester. Engels supported Marx and his family financially for quite some time. Marx was married with children; Engels had a long relationship with a woman, but was opposed to the institution of marriage. Marx died in 1883. Engels would live 12 years longer. After Marx's death, Engels compiled and edited what must have been thousands of pages of Marx's Capital. In one of his prefaces to Capital, Engels described Marx as "the best, the truest friend I had- and had for forty years- the friend to whom I am more indebted than can be expressed in words..." They both liked large beards that made them look rather unapproachable:
Aside from sharing interests and enjoying each others' company, the 3 BFFs I've covered so far seem to have one thing in common: A massive outpouring of creative energy. I don't know if our current times are as fertile for that kind of partnership. It seemed like in the 1800s, when men and women largely lived in different spheres, it might have been common for same-sex friendships to be the most important relationships in people's lives. I'm glad that women and men are more integrated now, but today, if you're married but you're closer to a friend than to your spouse, that would be considered very strange.