First off, it's Sex AND The City (all caps mine). But Robespierre, given that he is a straight man, gets huge bonus points for that very relevant and appropriate reference. Although some points are deducted for his married status since I have no doubt (actually, absolute certainty because he's already told me this) that he watched every single episode of every single season with his lovely wife sitting by his side. But those points would be added back on if he initiated that viewing marathon.
Second, leopard-stalking-baby gazelle mode? *LAUGHING* Would have loved to see that!
Third, with the prevalence of cougars and so forth, it's now harder to determine who is the predator and who is the prey. I myself am VERY uncomfortable in the role of prey. Actually, it just pisses me off. I prefer to be the one doing the stalking.
But those initial observations aside, I think friendship is indeed possible between straight men and women who find each other at least somewhat attractive. Of course, I am the first to say that my CLOSEST friends are women and gay men because of the simplicity and purity of those relationships ("pure" defined as unclouded by sexual attraction). That said, friendships peppered with the additional frisson of flirting and heightened aesthetic appreciation and even sexual awareness might sometimes be more precarious propositions, and might require more effort to avoid slippage, and might not be as CLOSE, but are, inherently, no less solid or real. I remember once being told by a straight male friend: "I would drive you crazy, and you would drive me to drink, so it's good that we're just friends."
But I digress.
The primary issue here is expectation and goal orientation. When people meet as colleagues, as friends of friends, or as classmates, etc., sexual attraction and romance might erupt at any time, much like cold sores. But romance is not the goal of the initial dynamic. And hence, there are more opportunities and time to collect the data points necessary for BOTH parties to be on the same page. Nakedness is not expected shortly after the third class together, or third business meeting, or third group happy hour or dinner. And given the meeting I just had this morning, all I can say is, "thank goodness for that."
As for a long courting process, that's absolutely fine, as long as there is no undue or obvious pressure. After all, it's a time honored practice to sneak in under the radar as a "friend" for positioning purposes. Many a battle has been won by steady attrition.
And especially given the boo-on-dating-and-relationships stance that I have been hearing from so many of my single female friends, a slow, low-key, non threatening siege might be the only effective strategy to breaching the castle walls.
As for being ambushed and dragged up a tree away from other predators? That's acceptable as long as it is according to our timing, with our permission, by a predator of our choosing (after consulting all close friends and comprehensive stalking on our parts), and our hair and nails don't get mussed.
But of course, this is only applicable "advice" for those predators who just HAVE to pursue the gazelle that happens to be bristling with "No Trespassing" signs and sharp pointy weapons. Otherwise, there's far easier prey out there.
Now this cougar-in-gazelle's-clothing is going to take some tylenol for her multi-metaphor induced headache.