I was driving home tonight, doing my daily "am I going to make something or just stop and have someone ELSE make something for dinner?" ponderings and suddenly I just really wanted to meet up with someone. Oddly enough though, the first three people who came into my brain were boys who are either geographically or circumstantially unavailable.
I haven't ever been much of a dater and don't have a string of old boyfriends. But I do have strings and strings of old friendboys. When I was younger I used to be bothered that I had so many more guy friends than romantic leads. Until graduation when I was sitting between two of the most amazing boys on the planet, who had been there for every last up and down of college, and the trail of women they'd left along the way was nowhere to be found. It started sinking in then that being the girl someone wants to talk to and laugh with is sometimes much better than being the girl he just wants to make out with.
Over the years I have had every kind of friendboy imaginable; short term, long term, cross country, IM, totally platonic, slightly flirtatious, the kind you can make out with now and then and it doesn't ruin anything, married ones, single ones. I've been there through nasty breakups, new jobs, and big moves. I've helped pick out wedding rings and kept proposals a secret.
I've never really bought the idea that men and women can't truly be friends because there are always romantic feelings on at least one side. But I do think that male-female friendships do have to have a certain chemistry. Making a new friend boy can feel a lot like a crush, even if you know you aren't ever going to kiss him. No matter how many times your girlfriends tell you that guy was dumb for not loving you, when an actual male reassures you that you are indeed hot and smart and rad, you tend to believe it more. Although I definitely have a feminist streak in me, I like it that men and women aren't the same. My friendships with men and women fulfill me in different ways. Sometimes you just really need a Y chromosome and it's got nothing to do with sex. I've been pretty spoiled over the years, I seem to pick up good boys wherever I go and even as they've become husbands and fathers, we've stayed in contact. The closeness changes of course, as it should. But I feel lucky that I have gotten to hang onto so many of them. I have learned alot about the male brain from these quality friendships and I'm pretty convinced that's going to pay off one of these days. (Someone recently told me that on the female scale of maintenance I was about a 3 out of 10. He did say however that a 3 on the female scale was still OFF THE CHARTS when compared to the male scale so...maybe I'm fooling myself). Even with all their frustrating qualities and the amount of havoc they wreak in my single life, I really, really like men.
And I hope my little 14 year old self doesn't get too mad at me when I say that I'd choose 30 years of great friends over 30 years of romances any day. (We'll just let her find out herself that there will be enough quality romance mixed in to satisfy her little dreaming heart as well). Cheers to the friendboy, I love you guys!