Where art, entertainment, and lady dudeness intersect.
by Julia Prescott
When I was 10 years old I was accused of being “boy crazy.” I didn’t understand this. I wasn’t yet at the point of really figuring my head around the whole “boyfriend” concept, I had just gotten comfortable with basic social situations, so why would I dive into the emotional grenade trench known as opposite-gender relations?
Yet the evidence was clear: always sitting next to the dudes in my class, always chatting them up. On multiple occasions in the fifth grade I was the only girl at an all-boy birthday party. My Mom would drop me off, most likely thinking to herself God I hope she’s not a lesbian. (I would also like to point out that later in life, when I was in fact dating dudes and not yet comfortable disclosing that fact to my Mom I would casually say, “That boy? I’m not dating that boy (I was). I don’t like guys.” Which in my head meant, “Ha-ha! I’m content with myself and good on that front, Mom!” not, “Ha-ha! You’ll never have biological grandchildren!” So needless to say, I wasn’t really helping.
Those girls were right, though. I was boy-crazy. I couldn’t stop, they were always the coolest people in class! Always funnier than the other ladies, always more comfortable with themselves. (And I don’t remember you girls complaining when I was hooking that shit up later in Middle School.) I started having a reputation of being a “guy’s girl” fueled partly by my Tomboyishness and partly by my general resistance with adapting to the female-centered crowd, and I couldn’t have cared less.
It would be later in life, far past puberty, past High School, deep into college that I would learn what a “red flag” was, and how much my penchant for males was a part of that problem. Even to this day, I don’t quite understand it. So - if a girl has a ton of guy friends, that’s a red flag? Why - because you’re intimidated by the males in her life? Because you assume she’s starved for being sexualized? Or that perhaps there’s a reason why she has no lady friends, because potentially she’s taken all of their boyfriends at some point? (Which by the way, who has the time for fulfilling all of the things ladies accuse of each other - I mean, really.)
It would take me years of therapy and general introspection to realize what my real reason was for being a guy’s girl: I wanted a brother. A Father, a cool Uncle. My parents divorced when I was 4, I hardly remember my Father’s presence in our household before that. I grew up with a couple of women and a handful of cats - which, if that first fact didn’t scare male figures away, the second SEALS THE DEAL. (Thanks Mom!)
Males in my life were kind of an exotic creature. You couldn’t move too fast, or they would scurry away. Whenever I bro’d out with a new guy friend, it would always get me crazy excited. Not because I secretly wanted to make-out with them (only sometimes), but because I just wanted to suck out all of the possible brother-isms I could get out of them. In my fantasy world, it would just be me and my guy friends hi-fiving each other over and over, and doing other things I assume cool older brothers do with their equally cool younger sisters.
When it came to the older guys, they jumped right into mentor/Dad/Cool Uncle territory. I would run to them with problems I had, career uncertainties, or triumphs. I leaned on them in a way I never had fully experienced before. There’s something to be said about the excitement you get after nailing a job interview or snagging a cool project and knowing you could call up to 3 or more people with the news. I never had that before.
I hadn’t really given this much thought until my boyfriend mentioned it to me the other day. Said in a way that I knew wasn’t entirely cool. “Yeah, you have a lot of guy friends.” I’m not going to pretend it isn’t weird, and I’m also going to disclose that I do have a lot of lady friends (who are lovely and weird and hilarious and fantastic).
Should I change? Should I cool it on the brother/Cool Uncle front? But - they’re my bros! My dudes! And why should anything be wrong with me if I like making up for the years and years of my life that was brother-less and Father-less?
I guess that’s the thing, though. These realizations you hit because your social circle pointed them out to you and declared them as a “bit of a problem”. Do you change because it makes people uncomfortable? Do you change because secretly you know you should? Or do you try to live your life without definitives and just bro out with whomever, no matter what gender you find yourself able to bro out with.