When most of our interactions with the opposite sex are generally based around a primitive and physical attraction, there’s a whole different side to them that we don’t ever see, or really even know about. For example, the romantic interests in my life probably don’t click on to the fact that I purposely schedule dates with a minimum of a five day gap to allow for the hairs on my legs to grow out enough for me to shave them again. Any interaction before this allocates me to the awkward prickly stage where there is nothing I can do about it and this jeopardises my image of a smooth Goddess who only grows hair on her head. They probably don’t realise that when my best friend goes for a shower, the reason she’s taking a really long time is because mother nature came calling and she didn’t want you to hear or that my step-sister plans the restaurants they go to accordingly because she knows the type of foods that make her gassy.
If you’re lucky enough to have a boy who is your best friend then none of these things matter, your guard goes completely down and quite frankly, you just don’t care about these things anymore so than you would care about doing them in front of your girlfriends. If you have a male best friend then utilise him, he is a free pass into the male psychology and you can learn a lot about guys from him. My male best friends have guided me through so many romantic disasters because women have a tendency to read between the lines when all there is a blank space.
Over the last few years I have accumulated more male friends than female ones, mainly because the female ones are incredibly beautiful women and men become quickly infatuated by them and normally turn to the girls best friend when it falls to bits (Hi!). So after years of male roommates, moldy cups scattered across my living room and being forced to watch the Star Wars franchise more times than I can count, these are the things I think I have learnt about men.
1. Men are impulsive creatures. If me and my girlfriends have a plan then we will have everything down to a T days, even weeks, beforehand. Time, place, what we’re wearing, minute by minute schedule etc. and men just don’t work that way. They seem to like the element of spontaneity and prefer to make plans on impulse and I think this is generally how I work now when it comes to arranging things. It’s great to wake up in the morning and not know what’s going to happen and just roll with the punches but sometimes it’s inevitable that you have to make plans for a point in time somewhere down the line and if that notice period is greater than 24 hours, they’ll just crash and burn and quickly lose interest. Your best bet is to text them the day before and hope they’re free!
2. Men are actually quite complex and understand us way more than we understand them. Women are hard to understand and that’s a universal, unanimous rule, women don’t get women but in all my experiences, men are not much easier. Men do play games and they know when we are playing games with them. They don’t like feeling like they have to make the effort all the time, you want equal rights and distribution of power? Well you can send the first text then. I don’t know where they gained all this knowledge about the silly things that we do, I don’t know if they just sat there one day and marathoned all 6 seasons of Sex and the City but the jig is definitely up. Or maybe we are just that obvious.
3. Men are actually quite simple. “Lad Culture” really plays up to a certain stereotype about men that all they care about is food, sex, gaming and beer. Well guess what, turns out that really is pretty much all it is! Men are easily satisfied creatures and I wish I had realised this years ago. I have wasted years overthinking grand gestures and love letters but in reality, nothing makes my roommate happier than coming home from work and I have set up the xbox, grabbed a beer out the fridge as I heard the motorbike pulling up so it’s nice and cold and started cooking pancakes. Or bacon. Or bacon pancakes. Maybe this is why men need Christmas lifts spelling out to them or a female accomplice when they’re shopping for their girlfriend. This isn’t to say that they don’t appreciate romantic gestures, I’ve seen them reduced to tears from a big ole sloppy love letter but on the whole, the path to a mans heart is pretty straight and smooth, aligned with steak trees and a golden crate of Bud at the end of the rainbow.
4. Men can be even bitchier than women when it comes to sex. Women are spiteful and don’t even try and deny it. We’ve all had bad break ups and told people really embarrassing sex stuff about them, be it true or not. Men on the other hand, well they’re brutally honest. The fact that I am not a completely asexual being is nothing short of a miracle after hearing the way my friends talk about the girls they’ve slept with. In fact, men have probably ruined sex for me full stop because what should be a pleasurable time is actually just a short period of my life of me thinking ‘oh my God what’s he going to be saying about me when he tells his friends about this? Will he even tell his friends about this? Am I pretty enough to be boasted about or am I going to be put in the storage cupboard in his Hall of Fame and left to gather dust? Is my vagina normal? I’ve only ever seen the one, he’s seen so many, what if its funny looking? Oh crap I’ve drifted out for too long, quick, grind or something before I get the formidable title of “sack of potatoes”‘.
A group of men and a girl with poor personal hygiene as the conversation topic is like watching a pack of lions tear a poor zebra apart, I swear it’s like watching Miranda, Charlotte, Carrie and Samantha but instead of cocktails and vogue, there’s cheap beer and fifa.
5. After writing this I am now more certain than ever that all men secretly watch Sex and the City. No further explanation needed.
6. Men do actually watch porn for educational purposes. Okay so they’re not exactly sat there taking notes and this is still genuinely one of the oldest excuses in the book and if I ever catch my son watching porn, this line will not hold with me for one second and maybe I have just been deceived all this time and they’re laughing at my gullibility as they read this but I swear it’s true. Everyone starts off as a virgin and from my experience, a lot of men use porn as a “How-to” guide. They pick up technique and positions and everything. I swear that’s why they can never remember to do anything you tell them to do, there’s too much designated memory space on porn. So if your bloke is really good in bed, it’s probably because he spent a lot of his adolescent days locked away in his bedroom with some headphones and a box of Kleenex.
7. Some men really do just think with their genitals. There is one thing I have tried to explain to my friends so many times and a lot of them don’t get it and that is that women can just have (and want) no strings attached sex. A lot of the time though, they don’t listen to me and let the woman get invested and the whole thing implodes. Some “relationships” have no depth to them, we are human and we have desires and that is okay and I think that I can spot the difference between a booty call and something worth investing in now. When a guys mind is in the northern region of his body, you can generally tell. They end up so invested in you and I have seen so many of my friends look at a basketcase and think they can fix her and these seem to be the ones they invest in (women everywhere; we do it too).
8. Why having a gay best friend may well be one of the most dangerous things you’ll ever do. Take every single negative attribute of a male. Now take every single negative attribute of a female. Now put them in a pot, stir them together and you have a gay BFF. Don’t get me wrong at all, I have so many gay friends that I love so much but they’re also some of the bitchiest people I have ever met. Yeah okay, they’re great, it’s good to have a man tell you what you look good in when you’re shopping and know there’s no sexual gain in it for them but that rant you had about one of your girlfriends while you were out doing the shopping will get back to her before you leave the changing room.
This is not all gay people, I’m generalising more to the “token gay” that women seem to want as an accessory. Firstly, camp men aren’t purses and secondly, be careful what you wish for! The best thing to do is have a slightly flamboyant male best friend. Someone who appreciates when you look good but there’s no sexual tension from it. Someone who can give you their honest opinion but know what they’re talking about. Someone who will sit there and pretend to listen to you bitch and whine about someone but won’t have an attention span long enough to even attempt to relay that information back to them. Someone who knows the exact cues to pipe up with a random insult or appropriate agreement but is actually thinking about the KFC he’s going to get when you leave the underwear section of Primark. I call mine Tee Jay.
9. Men and women can be just friends. So despite nearly every Disney coming of age show of my generation telling us that if you have a male best friend, you will eventually fall in love with them (Lizzie and Gordo, Chelsey and Eddie from That’s So Raven, Zoey and Chase etc.) this isn’t actually the case. What does tend to happen however is at some point down the line, you do question it and you get angry at yourself. You question how you can be completely at ease with them, so comfortable, how they would do anything in the world for you, how they can know everything about you, see you at your worst and still think the sun shines out your backside and not be attracted to them. When you push past this, you enter phase two which is anger that you can’t find anyone like that and there’s a perfectly wonderful guy in front of you but you just can’t see him in that light. I think I have had this argument with myself about 90% of my best friends but if you are fortunate enough to fall in love with your best friend, then believe me from experience, you are one of the luckiest people alive.
10. Dads get way too much of the credit. From an early age, Daddy’s girl and Mummy’s boy is socialised into us but it’s something I believe to be incredibly outdated. There are things that you would never tell your Dad or your brother in a million years like that booty call that went horribly wrong because even when you have 4 kids and have been married for 15 years, the fact that we have had sex is something parents and children alike repress. So who is the person that you do tell everything to? Every last gory little detail? Who’s the person that turns up at your house with a tub of Haagen Dazs and your favourite Disney film? Or a bottle of your favourite alcohol?
With all the will in the world, your female best friend can be an emotional outlet but there’s something about the physical protection that your male best friend gives you. Whenever I meet a new romantic interest, I am comforted by the knowledge that my physical and emotional wellbeing is protected by my best friends. Having a male best friend is like having a female best friend, a Dad and a big brother all rolled into one. They’re your emotional outlet, they’re your shield, they’re your comfort and they’ll support you through it no matter what. I grew up without a Dad and I always felt like I was missing out by not having anywhere there to watch over my shoulder or protect me from the big, mean boys out there who were going to take my heart, tear it to pieces and hand it back to me. It is now, at nearly 20 years old that I realise that I did, all along. They may not have shared an ounce of genetics with me but they were my family, they were my rocks and they’ve done anything and everything any Dad I could have had, would do and more.
They guided me through every break up, wiped every tear, bought me countless tubs of ice cream, funded copious drunken nights to forget about it and made sure all the silly things I did afterwards were the right amount of stupid. Are my best friends going to actually go beat the crap out of someone? No of course not, that’d be stupid and they’d get their arses handed to them, they have the combined weight of a damp flannel. Does it make me feel better about the fact I’ve just had my heart broken? Every single time.