I’ve never been one of those girls with tons of male friends– when I was younger, either boys were objects of my desire or they barely registered at all. In fact, I was extremely nervous talking to any human with a penis for a really long time, even if I wasn’t attracted to them. I’m convinced this is because I don’t have any brothers and have only two male cousins, neither of whom was around when I was growing up, for one reason or another.
Then, after high school, I went to a women’s college. I definitely had relationships here and there, but never saw the guy as a person– they were more like really attractive aliens. It went across sexuality, too– even though I did theatre for a long time, I never even hit it off with the gay boys. Objects, totally.
All that changed when I dated a boy for four years after college. He wasn’t an object or an alien, and his friends were the kind of guy’s guys I had no experience with. I could joke with them, drink with them, watch sports with them, watch them hit on girls, feel protected by them. These guys were like the big brothers I never had. They were awesome, and they changed so much for me. No longer was every new male in my path someone to worry about my effect on, or someone to try to flirt with. It sounds strange, but guys became humans to me. Funny, drunken, smelly, rambunctious humans.
And now, since I moved to France, my entire social circle has been reconstituted. Sure I have my girls, but probably seventy percent of my friends are guys, and fifty percent of those guys are gay. When did this happen? Why did this happen? It would be interesting to get deeper into the demographics. They’re mainly Anglophones, these boys of mine, and I’ve met them in a variety of ways. Some have (unsuccessfully) hit on me in bars. Some I met on Friendster. Some I’ve worked with or taught with. Some date guys I’ve taught with. Some I’ve met through friends or family. Some I’ve had class with. You get the picture. They’re non-threatening and supportive, and they make me feel good about myself. Yay for male friends.
But now that I’m, er, single, things get tricky again. For example: if I turn to my straight male friends for advice about my breakup, the likelihood that they will slam N into oblivion is very high, because they’re protective, because they want to sleep with me, because even if they don’t want to sleep with me no guy is good enough to sleep with me, certainly not a guy whose reason for breaking up with me is that he wasn’t good enough for me ("Bullshit!" two of my male friends said just last night). If I turn to my gay friends, they’re totally supportive, telling me I’m so cute and charming and smart and all that jazz, but they clap a hand on my shoulder and tell me to move on, because I’m too fabulous for some lame hetero fool.
So I’m not relying on my guys for advice. They’re too biased. Instead, they’re helping me get through this by drinking with me, cooking for me, downloading "The Family Guy" and "The Sopranos" to watch with me. My rockin’ publicist cousin N was in town this week and took me and some friends to Kong for dinner. My co-correspondent is going to get me soused on Sunday. I’m getting together with a (male) editor friend tonight to do some work. There’s no cure for a broken heart, but it’s clear to me that the cure for losing one boy is filling up your time with lots of other boys.
That said, I’m also looking forward to this Saturday with the girls…