First off, I apologize to all my
dedicated readers who missed seeing a blog post from me last week. These past two weeks have been fairly overwhelming in many aspects, and while I may have had time to write a blog post, I didn’t feel like I had the mental creative energy to do so at my usual caliber. Thus, my first week skipped since December, and back to the weekly grind.
This week’s post is dedicated to my boy friends. No, I’m not talking about my boyfriend or my partner. Shout out to all of my man friends out there because all of you have been particularly fantastic this week.
When I was very young, I used to loathe being the only girl in my generation of the family. There I was, little girl version of me, tottering around with slightly rumpled pigtails, surrounded by an older brother, three older and one younger cousin, all of whom were boys. Icky boys who I really didn’t like at the time, mind you. I preferred playing cards with my uncle and walking around with Pooh Bear under my arm for several years.
But after those several years of pouffy-pink-dress-obsession passed, I basically forgot why I had disliked them – my brother and cousins – so much. They were, to put it simply, cool. They let me play Age of Empires with them even if I truly sucked and was only good as a resource hoard, and occasionally let me beat them on various versions of Super Smash Brothers. We had truly stupid inside jokes revolving around bathroom humor, but it all felt so natural.
This was how our humor worked when we were all together, even when it was only my brother and myself. (Happy National Siblings Day, by the way. As much as I love you… It’s still your fault.) I got used to being relaxed, being silly, being genuine and blunt in my personality, behavior, and humor.
Granted, I can’t remember if it was my brother and cousins who influenced my friends of choice on the school playground or vice versa but either way, by the 3rd grade, I somehow found myself with traipsing around the schoolyard with at least one true, consistent male friend each year.
This dynamic didn’t change – and still hasn’t changed – upon entering college. On the contrary, I found myself gravitating toward potential close male friends. It never crossed my mind that I was flirting (unless I was doing so intentionally) because I saw them as friends – people who I could go to for advice and comfort because I had gotten used to doing so over the years.
Nowadays I think I have a slight dearth of male friends, since my main one is out of the state and it gets harder and harder to keep up with others because of our hectic, crazy schedules… But regardless, time and distance doesn’t do much to change that, and this week has really allowed me to take that to heart.
This guy came back to Berkeley to visit for a few days, and although we only spent two hours together, it felt like nothing had changed since I had last seen him in late June or talked to him online in early March. We fell back into our old routines of banter like we’d just seen each other a few days before even though the remainder of our conversation revolved around our respective friends whom we hadn’t seen for ages. I hadn’t been having the greatest week, but he had a way of knowing just how to tease me, how to help me relax, how to make me laugh again.
Just the next day, I went to one of Berkeley’s most noteworthy date restaurant (Spoon agrees.) with the one male friend I have who’s also in a long-term relationship (He’s a pretty cool dude. You should check him out.) during which we talked about school troubles, foodie dilemmas, and long-term relationship “struggles.”
And somehow, in that hour or so of dining and talking, it didn’t seem to matter that we hadn’t really spoken for the past month or that we were talking about the stress in our lives or the awful headlining news of the day. I felt happy and comfortable, and was, well, happy even while talking about kind of terrible things.
I am very aware that this symptom doesn’t only occur with male friends – I have so much love for all my female friends as well, no worries. – but there’s something particularly comforting about reuniting with my man friends. Maybe it’s because they always seem to be more relaxed than me, less wound-up, less intense. They give me a chance to take a breath and realize that I don’t have to be quite so high strung.
And sometimes, that’s just really what I need. So thank you for that.