What Boys Taught Me
I know I don’t tell personal stories about myself very often, but this weekend reminded me of something. (V Note: And to the few of you who could read more to this than there is, I’d ask that this post not be misinterpreted as taking a side as that’s not what it is about at all).
First, while I wouldn’t trade my girlfriends for anything, 9 times outta 10, I get along with guys better. My first friend in kindergarten was a boy and I’ve always just felt more comfortable with groups of then. I thrived on my friendships with boys so when I was in high school, I never had a boyfriend, ever. I had many “guy friends” but rarely the occasional flirtation or “hook up.”
In my mind, conceding sexual feelings meant the end of these guys valuing me as their friend. I actually remember thinking this when I was in second grade as I watched Tony Ellis, the heart throb of Washington Elementary, "go with" and dump girl after girl after girl after girl, while I got to remain his friend for several more years and that meant lots of fun times with him and his buddies. But in fifth grade, I made the mistake and agreed to “go” with him and was promptly dumped for Tina Bluett one week later and our friendship never recovered. That lesson stayed with me.
In high school, I was a member of the speech and debate team, and I credit a lot of who I am today to those people and experiences. Anyway, as you can imagine, there are not a whole lot of cuties that go to these speech tournaments a.k.a dork fests. I had several girlfriends on the team that were pretty darn cute so we got a bit of attention from the guys. We essentially had two main schools that we were close too and that included attention from about 10-15 different dudes (some just friendly, others more).
So, while there were several guys that I would have dated or at least liked to hang out with more seriously, I wouldn’t. The main reason is because I hated the idea of guys talking to me because they wanted to hook up with me. At the age of fifteen, I was seriously paranoid that I would lose friends because I’d choose one over the other or others wouldn’t care about me if they had made out with me or whatever. This fear gave me an incredible capability to push people (guys) away just so that I could keep them close.
It got to the point where I’d have three or four friends of guys coming up to me and saying “so and so really likes you” or “so and so wants to go out with you” –you know, typical high school stuff. I’d always laugh it off. Always.
Most of them quit trying after a while, and eventually we all settled into some great friendships.
When I went to college, I met a guy who proved to be everything I could ever want in a first love, but we didn’t start dating because I was worried that it would ruin our friendship. In fact, we were strangely intimate friends for several months before I’d even admit “I like you.”
It’s been a while since I thought about that because in the real world the divider between friends and “lovers” is rarely cross and re-crossed. A few months ago, I went on a overly-passionate rant because I was having a great chat with a guy and then as soon as he found out that I was not available, he just stopped mid-sentence and left me standing there.
He has a right to that (particularly if he assumes the only value a woman has is her vagina), and I certainly respect the idea that “Hey, I’ve got enough friends,” or "you're not my friend-type," but as a female who has many guy friends that I value and hopefully enhance their life in some ways other than sexually, those type of scenarios bring back a lot of memories.