Better Than the Boys

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.”
– Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

In her memoir, If You Have To Cry, Go Outside – And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You, Kelly Cutrone wrote, “Finding your tribe, like following your dreams, isn’t always about what makes sense; it’s about what your soul needs. As much as we’re looking for experiences that turn us on, we’re looking for people who do the same, whether creatively, emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually.”

In my life, for whatever reason, my tribe has consisted of a few more boys than girls.

That said, I have great girlfriends. Actually, studies show that women make better friends than men. Gretchen Rubin touches on the idea in her book, “The Happiness Project.” She says, “…both men and women find relationships with women to be more intimate and enjoyable than those with men. Women have more feelings of empathy for other people than men do… In fact, for both men and women — and this finding struck me as highly significant — the most reliable predictor of not being lonely is the amount of contact with women.”

I read InStyle, I call my girlfriends and talk about boys. I’ve got the girl gene, I just like doing a few things that guys like to do. Namely, playing sports.

I am three parts XX, one part XY. Being a bit of a tomboy has it’s perks and its pitfalls. For instance, my nails pretty much always look like shit. I have surfer feet. I have never seen “The Bachelor” which is inconvenient for “The Bachelor” parties. I hate baking. I cook nothing actually, not only because I know zero recipes, but also because I have no interest (this is a big thing, or so I am told by my male counterparts). Half the time I’m hanging out with guy friends, I’m in the water, on a ski mountain, or glued to a couch watching TV and these are not my most attractive moments, arguably. I know after hearing this, that you all are probably dying to propose tomorrow, but I’m not ready for that kind of commitment.

Valuable Things I’ve Learned From My Guy Friends:

1. When you hang out with guys all the time, you become a formidable Mario Kart-er. “NATALIE!!!! YOU BANANA-ED ME!!! (I banana-ed him before the jump on Koopa Troopa) YOU BITCHHH!! I’m sorry, I don’t mean it…but I do. YOU STOLE MY BOOSTIE??? I mean this in the nicest way possible: I hate you right now.” With one tribe, we once spent the entire summer killing every pigeon in Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto. It takes awhile. You have to look up where they are online. I think you get a rocket launcher or something for killing them all. I also used to like driving. “You’re a slippery fish, Holtz.” I learned a lot from the Boulder tribe. We went bowling every Sunday for awhile. They were into launching water balloons off the roof, and I think I got pretty close to hitting someone on the hill. One tribe member took me fishing. I learned a lot about music. I didn’t know about CSNY, Joe Cocker, Mos Def… One night, an especially good night, four of us stayed in and listened to records and looked at the covers.

2. You have a lot of near-death experiences. This tribe member and I joke around about this, but he is like my Angel of Death. I find myself in sketchy situations with this tribe member, but unforgettable sketchy situations. Surfing in high school, we must have been sophomores, maybe juniors. We went surfing at Sunset Cliffs and the place where we got in the water, to this day, is the sketchiest place I’ve ever paddled out from. And I had my longboard. Long story short, I got wiped off the rocks by a giant wave, the tribe member and I got yelled at for being idiots, and we sat in Jack in the Box in OB for about twenty minutes until I stopped hyperventilating. This tribe member took me down the Black’s trail for the first time. He’s sort of one of my surfing senseis.

Same tribe member and I met up in London when we were both studying abroad. We drank some sherry and climbed onto his roof which looked over maybe the Kensington Gardens? There was quite a bit of space from the hand railing to the edge of the roof so mystery tribe member and his roommate each took a foot and boosted me up. It was a cloudy night, and I felt like the chimney sweepers in Mary Poppins. The roofs are sharp and pointed there, and there was a level of discomfort, like you could fall. I laid down and looked up at the sky.

I don’t think this person knows how to say something inauthentic. There is no bullshit with this person.

3. You learn how to ski fast(er).

4. They push you to be a better surfer. “I think you are underestimating the paddle power on that board. You should paddle further out, you’re making things much harder for yourself.” “Take your pink board out (shortboard). Soon, it will be your go-to.”

5. You learn how to roll a cigarette. “When you’ve packed it down, take the end, and shake it really hard (that’s what she said). You think it will break, but it won’t (that’s what she said).

6. You learn about sports.

7. Whiskey. Canadian Mist was my first love. I moved on to bigger and better things, but there is still a place in my heart for C-Mist.

8. “Being a baller means never having to say you’re sorry.” Men apologize less. They’re raised to be more self-assured.

I wrote about this for a several reasons. First, tribe is important. Its a good reminder to myself. Second, because, and yes its cliche, but life goes by so fast. I think people tend to live in terms (myself included) of when I get xyz, when I do xyz, when I find a new job, new relationship, etc. I’ll be happier. But what if we miss everything thinking this way? I think its important to savor the really good moments. Below are some of those. Third, I couldn’t say these things to your face for a lot of you, so I wrote it down:

Remember when you put a quarter in the pocket of my ski pants for good luck? I didn’t know it, but I found it later.
I remember “Oh, What a Night.”
Remember when I came across the street and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up and you were carrying me upstairs and you tucked me in.
Remember when we went to San O?
Remember Aspen.
I remember you made me a mix CD. “American Girl” was on it.
Remember getting spun?
I remember you guys throwing a football across Broadway late at night, waiting for our bus to Mexico.
Remember giving me cigarettes? (Cough Jack Ryan)
Do you remember telling a broken-hearted girl: “Every person you date is going to be wrong for you, except one. That’s the purpose of dating.”
Remember the lazy river?
Do you remember laying on your bed after Halloween (platonic) and telling our deepest, darkest secret?
Remember coming over after a break-up and listening to “Africa” by Toto? One of us got sick from that chai…
Remember picking icicles, throwing snowballs, and climbing in caves?
I’ll remember a certain “I love you” text.
Remember when you said something so touching you made me cry, still don’t know what, and you jumped down the stairs and broke your face?
Remember when we went skiing on February 14th?
Remember when we started on the table and finished on the table.
Remember surf, In & Out. Repeat.
Remember when I fell down the mountain?
Remember Vegas?
Remember high school?
Remember when Mark broke his ankle?
Remember Smash and Mario Kart?
Remember Italy?
Remember Cross Club?
Remember listening to Explosions in the Sky on a rooftop in Rome.
I remember when you said that I was beautiful. In front of a quiet room full of people.
I remember when you told me I was “always right.”
I remember you played “Take It Easy” on the way out of the ranch.

Best Advice I’ve Received From You

No man is worth your happiness

Guy Friend: Life is what you make it, Natalie. The human mind is an amazing thing. If you’re going to do something, you have to approach it from the perspective of: “I’m a bad ass, I’m the best person out there who can do this or that thing. The Universe wants to bring you good. You can’t think, “The world is against me.” You have to think that the world is for you, and it is.

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2 thoughts on “Better Than the Boys

  1. Why is it that I had two of said guy-surfer friends that almost enjoyed making me go surf in places I never would have gone on my own!? I can remember going out to Point Loma Nazerene College and doing something very similar to your Sunset Cliffs story. I remember looking at 8ft + surf as we slipped down the cliffs at low tide) thinking, “this is my 3rd week surfing, I am not ready for this.” It was one of those paddle out or look like a chicken delimmas. I hated it but when it was all said and done, I was glad I did it.
    Now I am old and married with triplets and I will probably never surf again. My two long boards are mounted on my wall. Maybe someday we’ll get back to the coast.

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