The Delight of Being “One of the Boys”

Having a relationship with a man can be emotionally draining for me. I have often struggled with the notion that the presence of a man in my life in a romantic sense isn’t worth it at all if he can’t make me happy. I guess I’m such a dreamer when it comes to love. I’ve been told recently that the kind of love we dream of is increasingly impossible to find especially as one gets older. Sad but true. I can be ok with that though. I resolve I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life than compromise my ideals. But I’ll expound on that next time in another post. Meanwhile, what I want to express here is the kind of pleasure I get in having men as simply “buddies.” Just plain, good ole buddies. Because men are such interesting species despite their frailties and uh, “wickedness.”  I do like men but they can occasionally or often be a “pain in the ass.” Having one as a boyfriend most probably would just give me trouble than pure bliss. So why don’t I just enjoy them as mere pals or chums? I must be a whiz gal to come up with that, right?

I’ve always enjoyed the company of the opposite gender. Sure I’ve had rotten experiences with a few of them in the romance department, but that doesn’t dismay me in continuing to build or nurture friendships with them. They can be really nice and delightful as comrades. It’s always been a pleasure having them around in my life. A lot of laughter and joy has ensued in my life because these particular breed of humans are humorous, fun and breezy to be with. They lack the pettiness that you usually find in female friends. And I like the fact that in contrast to women, men will never tire you of empty verbiage (unless of course the man is gay). They are not that fond too of non-stop talking. Just like me. Yours truly is usually quiet and reserved.

If you truly want to enjoy them as the opposite gender, you have to do away with mushy emotions and deal with them in a direct, casual manner. You don’t need to understand them perfectly well if you just want to be pals with them. They’re very simple to deal with. They can be easy to please. They may get impatient though when they have to conduct themselves in shades of gray, so their choices must be strictly limited to black and white. That is, if you don’t want them to become bona fide pricks. I swear they’ll thank you dearly if you could go straight to the point when you talk to them. Any attempt for a sappy exchange is a waste of time. Likewise, sharing of soulful sentiments can be a herculean task. The downside with having them as friends is the frustration you’ll get by the shallowness of your communication with each other. They can’t be arsed to want to talk about deep feelings, except if they’re in danger of getting dumped in their jobs. In case you don’t know, only one thing can rightfully obsess them.  And that is their job or work.

I guess John Gray got it so right in telling that Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. Men and women seem to have come from different planets indeed. No need to even mention the asteroids and other heavenly bodies that may get in between. 🙂

In my case, I may not fully comprehend their behavior and actions but I pretty much have an idea what goes on in a man’s psyche. I can switch my mode of thinking to their level once I start hanging around or dealing with them. Most men I’ve dealt and transacted with at work have sort of complimented me on how I could be comfortable in their presence. Ehem. I believe I had a lot of practice in my younger years. I wasn’t the flowery, delicate kind of girl then. I raced around, played basketball, climbed trees, participated in other sports, and chased dragonflies with the other boys in the neighborhood. Most of the best friends I had from grade school to university were male. When I was young, my brother and I were the best of pals, which goes to say he became my favorite sibling. And as you may all know by now, my father is my favorite parent as he figures heavily in some of my posts here.

Having them as buddies and having them as lovers are totally distinct. Given my current status, do they sometimes misinterpret my friendliness and harbor the idea I’d be willing to hook up with them? Of course they do. I believe all men welcome those thoughts in the company of their female close friends. But once I’ve managed to enlighten them with the truth subtly, they eventually get the message that their companionship and goodwill are the only things I need from them.

Last year, only three male teachers were left for permanency status in our school (the rest are all female). A gay man in his late 30s, a married man in his mid 30s and a straight guy in his mid- 20s who’s been engaged to his girlfriend for years. So I felt safe when I penetrated my way into their exclusive club to become a fellow camaraderie. You see, I have this ability to be quite friendly if I choose to. It didn’t take long before I totally blended and was considered to be “one of the guys.” For several months, it had been great to be part of the group. Hanging around during break time, having lunch together, shooting the breeze about plenty of matters in our lives. And you can just imagine the things I heard when they talked about women. When I’m with them, I don’t expect them to treat me any differently. I’m older than these male colleagues of mine but delightfully, they tend to forget that when we’re having a conversation or kidding around.

As expected, most good things never last. Alas, late last year the “straight” guy had to quit teaching for the greener pastures of a call center job. It wouldn’t be fun anymore without him so we sort of disbanded. Things couldn’t be the same without our “youngest brother.”

We still keep in touch once in a while and are still friendly toward one another. Yet I’ve come to miss those times every now and then. It’s such a pleasure having men as friends. That much will always be true for me.

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