The ubiquitous Jack Valero sent me a link to an article he wrote, The sad demise of celibate love in the Guardian, it is about Newman and St John, in the present climate I think he is being brave but he is saying something very important, rather sadly he ends:
Do we – can we – today applaud such friendship? Do we – can we – make room, now, for such "evidences of sweet brotherly love"? Men and women often have intense friendships with members of their own sex, friendships that have no sexual component; yet we are losing the vocabulary to speak about them, or we are embarrassed to do so. A "friend" is one you add to a social networking profile on the web; or it is a euphemism for a sexual partner outside marriage. Can a man nowadays own up with pride to having a dear and close friend, another man to whom he is devoted? Can he, without it being suspected as repressed homosexuality? I fear the answer to both may be "no". And it is hard to know which is the sadder.
I can't help thinking that part of recovering both our humanity and our sense of masculinity and feminity is about recovering this vocabulary of friendship.