Boy Friends

[ Disclaimer: If you’re here to read about whom I’m dating or if i really broke up with XYZ, you’re wasting your time. That isn’t what this is about. This post is about the guys I befriended who stayed just that -my friends. ]

Many of the friends I’ve made, especially during and after my college years, have been those born with a Y chromosome (you know, that chromosome which makes people moustached and macho(?) ). Maybe it boils down to the fact that I grew up with an elder brother, three male cousins and two boy-buddies, playing G.I.Joe and Lego. Or maybe it’s because sometimes (only sometimes), they’re awesome.

Now, I’m not into gender stereotyping and I’m definitely against gender discrimination. But there are these peculiarities which pop up when I look back at these friendships…

Take issues of weight, for instance. I’ve never heard a guy say ‘I’ve become sooo fat’. It’s not like they don’t put on weight or fail to notice it. They just don’t seem to find it that big a deal. They generally call their love handles three-pack-abs and binge happily saying ‘maintain karna padta hai yaar‘ (That’s ‘buddy,we need to maintain these’ in Hindi). Or they just burn them off in the gym or over a game of football.

The differences aren’t restricted to love-handles, they handle love differently too. Everyone knows that it’s generally the guy who makes the first move when it comes to matters of the heart. A unique thing I noticed in medical college was that girls would deny the same relationship that the guy they were involved with accepted. A common reason for the denial was ‘it’s too private’ though that never came in the way of  PDA’s (public displays of affection) or storming out after hissed arguments from the library.

There are things you appreciate about men only after spending a little time with them. For instance,they claim they don’t gossip.That’s wrong. They do. More than women. Silently and shrewdly. Though not as vehemently.

What men don’t do generally is bitch (they lack the mental faculty to understand the difference between gossiping and bitching). I’m still to hear to a guy say ‘Did you see the outfit so-and-so was wearing ? It was sooo trashy!’

There’s another thing that you begin to appreciate when you interact with guys. It’s called ‘their side of the story’. And its amazing how, very often, it makes more sense than our side of the story. No melodrama. No mind-reading (‘can’t you imagine what i must be feeling ?’). No pleading in a baby-voice.

With guy friends, I’ve always felt comfortable being myself. It never mattered if I was wearing the right earrings or matching footwear. They generally never notice. Unless it’s fantastically right or terribly wrong…or they are dating you or really want to .

Of course, hanging out with guys has its own side effects. There’s a lot of speculation..whether you’re dating X, or if you are indeed dating Y, are you two-timing or simply demonstrating a loose character by having a long chat with Z ? Unfair, but not unexpected. We live in a world where Harry (Billy Crystal) tells Sally(Meg Ryan) that a man and woman cannot be friends because sex always gets in the way. I don’t blame Crystal though, what could his cocky character say, with Meg Ryan in the passenger seat ? I deal with the back-biting by remembering what the bff told me ‘Either you sit idle and talk, or you go, follow your heart and accept that you will be talked about.’

When I look back over the years, I can see that they’ve made a difference -these friends and these friendships. They’re unconventional yet wonderful, filled with laughter, love and a definite amount of lunacy. This post is for them, those boys or guys or men, who walked into my life and stayed on as my friends.

[ If you’re a girl / woman, I’d love to hear your experiences with men-friends, good, bad or ugly. And what you thought of my post. Because, I may have given some space to the guys here, but I’m always on your side first.

If you’re a guy, I’d love to know if you agree with me. If you can, disagree with me and tell me why. Even better, write a post on your female friends and how they make a difference to your life. And don’t forget to tag me in it.]

How it began…

I could write well. Or so I was told. Not that I was ever going to. What a lot of effort writing is, thinking of an appealing topic, penning down a rough draft, editing it, wondering if anyone would ever read it, let alone like it…no, it was a task and I wasn’t going to be bothered with it. It didn’t matter that I sometimes missed the rush that accompanies a vague idea materializing into a delightful piece of prose. Or that I’d preserved a handful of essays I’d written, because I’d enjoyed writing and later, reading them. Writing never figured in any of my plans…till my bff (best friend forever) figured out I was good at it.

My bff, he-who-shall-not-be-named, lets call him TMR. A persistently annoying creature who can make a living of ribbing and ragging(the friendly kind). No prizes for guessing his favorite subject. It was my fault,of course. I wrote him a couple of notes(which have been duly preserved by him). That set off a hurricane of prodding and pricking and poking. I was glad when TMR began to forget about it. Except for one hitch…TMR’s pestering had caused adverse effects, a blog was now on my mind.

Before I go on, I must specify. I can be horribly neurotic. I blame it on my Zodiac sign. We Virgos are worrying, critical perfectionists-we torture others and ourselves (true story !). Add oodles of insecurity and you have me. So here’s what I did after I thought of blogging-I thought (to blog or not to blog, wordpress vs blogspot, where does tumblr figure, will i be able to maintain it…), researched, spoke to people, thought some more, freaked out…and months elapsed. What changed things was a rare episode of insomnia, an attempt to write, a panic attack, and a 3 a.m call to TMR. What followed was some explosive activity of TMR’s vocal cords (with pendulous jerking of his uvula,cartoon-style) telling me what a waste of talent I was (veiled praise or euphemistic insult?), what a big talker and thinker I was though I did nothing, how I was hopeless and how stupid I was to disturb his beauty(?) sleep. Then the line went dead.

That’s when I began writing this blog. I’d love to say that it happened on a perfect day, when the sun shone a little more brightly, over a steaming cup of coffee et cetera. But it didn’t.

My blog began with a bruised ego and a 3 a.m call. After overcoming, what now seems like an anxiety crisis. With sleepy eyes that I struggled to keep open, knowing that if I stopped then, I’d never be able to make myself write again. It began with a little self-belief, some courage and a dream…that I’d write something that not just a critical me but even you, my reader would like to read again.

If you’ve had the courage and the patience to read this, thank you. Do leave your comments behind, if any.