Boys don’t have cooties.

I have always considered myself a guys’ girl.

I suppose it’s to be expected. I have an older brother (3 years, 2 grade levels). We grew up constantly bickering, physically fighting, those obnoxious kids on a roadtrip going “he’s on myyy side.”  God bless my parents for surviving us.

They never diminished or tried to alter our relationship, though. My dad would frequently say “Fight back” when I whined that Bro had kicked/hit/pushed me. We all had black belts. It seemed logical. The only downside, I think, is I tended to continue that physical aggressiveness into my adult life. Guys in college don’t really like being hurt by girls in college.

Our relationship, however, produced a lot of positive advantages. I have always felt comfortable with boys, particularly those who weren’t “popular”. I remember being in 5th grade, talking to the nerdy, pale, white-haired guy instead of my ‘cool boyfriend’. In middle school, I had a quasi-fan club: a bunch of really nice, quiet, B & C student guys who liked me primarily because I talked to them. They were funny, they were nice, and there was no pressure. In high school, I liked the popular boys, but I hung out with the social misfits, and I embraced the younger, awkward guys who were trying to fit in. They were fun, I had fun with them, and it was innocent.

Except when they developed crushes. I never knew how to deal with that. I’d find myself hanging out with one of them, and then realize at some awkward moment that he thought this was a date, not a casual movie or tennis ‘hang out’ situation. I never appreciated those guys at those moments. I usually just panicked and told them some variation of the truth: We’re good friends, this isn’t going to happen, I’m not into this.

Over the years, now that I’m a ripe old lady, I appreciate the advantages of all those friendships and relationships. I really enjoy being with a group of guys, sitting around a table, trading dirty jokes and crazy stories and laughter. I like the casual exchange, so much less entwining and ensnaring than girls’ conversations can be. The guys usually aren’t negative, aren’t criticizing, aren’t gossiping. It’s purely about enjoyment, humor, and being in the moment. That, in my opinion, is priceless.