An Ode to the Guy Friend
Since I was just a lady-child (known in most circles as a little girl) I've been one of the boys. I was more than a tiny bit pleased when Hulk Hogan mistook me for a boy on my 10th birthday, I prided myself on being one of the first picks in gym class and I've always had close friendships with dudes.
Not friendships where we sometimes kiss. Not friendships where we are secretly in love. Although I've seen my fair share of both of those and no matter what Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman try to make you believe, it always ends in disaster. But enough about that. I'm talking about stupid-TV-watching, junk-food-eating, beer-drinking, high-fiving, road-tripping gender-blind friendship of the boy/girl variety.
And while over the years these have evolved from relationships based on a mutual love for the Ninja Turtles to relationships based on a mutual love for the Ninja Turtles and Wes Anderson movies, the fact remains that these dudes are my bros.
Nora and her guys through the years.
First, there was Joe. Our moms were BFFs and we grew up causing trouble in backyards all over Minneapolis. Over the years, he taught me how to take a football to the face like a man (hint: no crying, even if it knocks off part of your braces) and I would hold the camcorder while he made his amateur skate videos (hey, it was the 90s).
Then, there was Jakey Jake. I liked him because he laughed at all my jokes and sometimes got nose bleeds when we ran too fast. This meant I never lost a game of tag.
After that, there was Gene. The kind of guy who would pick me up in his 1994 Mazda for a late night trip to Taco Bell while I cried about my boyfriend, the kind of guy who would watch Jennifer Aniston movies with me at the theatre with no complaints, or see Bad Boys 2 more than five times in the theatre.
Finally, there is Dave: The Ultimate Best Friend. The keeper of secrets, the killer of punch lines, my go-to guy who will answer the phone whether I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe or walking through downtown crying so hard that I can't talk (true, pitiful story).
Somewhat recently, I was telling Dave about a new guy friend and he was instantly wary. "Nora," he said, "at this point in your life, you've already met all of the guys who are going to love you platonically. From now on, every dude you meet is going to be interested in your money or your lady parts."
While he was right about that dude, I hate to think that his blanket statement is completely true. Won't some guys just be looking for a friendship with a girl who can help them win a wing-eating contest or watch a Pee-wee Herman marathon without a side of romance, or are we past the age where that can happen?
So, what do you think? At the age of wedding bells and minivans and double-wide baby strollers, is it possible to make new guy friends?
by Nora McInerny
More by Nora
More on Relationships
I think relationships of all kinds and ages are so interesting! It seems to be a pattern: When you are younger, it's easier to be friends with the opposite sex because there is no commitment, you're both learning about life, learning what you want in someone else etc. Then you get to a point like the friend Dave in this story points out, when everyone gets a little more serious and has a definite goal to creating a relationship. Then when we get elderly, it's back to being friends with the opposite sex again. My grandfather has so many lady friends--but that is all they are! They have brunch and coffee and go to shows, but it's just friendship.... hmm!
I love that the dude I'm dating has girl besties, because they're like MY guy besties. Only girls. Does that make sense? Besides, you always know when something is a little...off.
I totally agree with you when you say that your guy-friend advice is so valuable. They can give you a perspective on relationships and other life issues that girls are incapable of.
Love love love this. I've only ever had a few guy friends at a time and most of the time there ended up being other motives that made things awkward. Even my 6 year old neighbor Jamie, gave me my first kiss at 4 (followed by Arvin at 5, which was the same year Walker showed me and several other girls his penis). Sooooo...
I have had a string of best friends that were guys. One I've known since I was 18 months and I grew up getting into trouble with him and playing, he's the closest thing to a brother I could ask for. As I got older it was harder to have good guy friends, I never wanted to date them but when they'd date my friends it would ruin the relationship, suddenly I was the third wheel, so I gave up on having close guy friends. Now in my thirties there are a handful of guys I talk to regularly with, brunch with, watch movies my girlfriends wouldn't necessarily be in to, go snowboarding with and even talk about dating and relationships with, their perspective is as invaluable as my girlfriends'.
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