(warning - this post includes sweeping generalizations about males and females which will inevitably get me into all sorts of rhetorical trouble. Let's just work from the assumption that the characteristics I am about to describe are generally considered to be gendered, whereby generally I mean by the mainstream/media/pop culture/general public/etc., and temporarily shelve the wrongness of those generalizations, mmmkay? some days I just want to work out what's in my head, not fix the world)
So sometimes I'm a bit of a guy. After this weekend's halloween party a friend spent the night here, with an attractive female, and upon discovering this the next morning I high fived him. The boy who had spent the evening in my bed found this hilarious. The same boy, who, by the way, had previously been rapidly approaching a deal breaker due to lack of physical contact. Yes, I was going to stop dating someone because we hadn't had sex yet. Or even appeared to be moving in the direction of one day having sex. That's just the kind of girl I am.
And tonight, twice, I was told I was reacting to a situation in a very girl way. So I started to wonder - am I trying to have female-type friendships with males? And is that, perhaps, part of my friendship problem? I have said before, in a sexist kind of way, that I prefer male roommates to female, because guys will just tell you to wash your fucking dishes or shut the hell up or whatever, and then stop being mad at you. Which is clearly not a true statement, and is unfairly based on one bad experience as an undergrad (I had one female suitemate who was convinced I was a heinous bitch who hated her because I could not muster a cheery Good morning! when we passed each other in the bathroom. she was generally a very high maintenance person with whom to share a living space). But it is true that despite some really wonderful female friends, my friend group inevitably skews to the male side.
So what happened tonight? A very good friend hurt my feelings. This guy and I clicked very rapidly, 3.5 years ago, and I think we know each other quite well. Which, I think, means we have the sort of relationship that can withstand truth, even unpleasant truth. And it has before. We have good talks, and people have even tried to abuse this aspect of our friendship by bringing things up with me, then asking me to talk to him, because he listens to me. In situations where he gets impatient with and offended by other people he hears me out. There's a foundation of trust. We even joke, whenever we're making fun of each other, that it's all out of love, nothing but love. And in fact it's only because we both know each other so well and care about each other that it's possible and safe to make fun of each other. The specific details of this evening don't sound like enough to be this upset. But it's been building for a while.
My friend has notoriously bad taste in dates. And he is currently in a relationship that he consistently describes negatively. So I try to put on a friendly face and ask how things are going and appear interested in this girl and his relationship with her. But when he continues to verbalize problems with her, I inevitably come around to Dan Savage's point of view - DTMFA. So I've been accused of being bitter and abrasive. Ouch. (ok, maybe sometimes true, but I hope not often, and I don't really think in this particular case)
So I've been saying for a while (to myself and a few others) that things are bad enough that we need to have words, and I'm trying to figure out how and when to sit down and have a real conversation about how he keeps hurting my feelings and how I feel like I'm working overtime to protect his without the sort of reciprocal care we used to enjoy. And how to keep up the nerve to say all that, and get it all out in a way that he can really hear it.
Which is right about the time that my boy (remember? first paragraph?) laughed and said that was such a girl reaction. Two boys would just stop speaking for some length of time, then run into each other and be friends again as if nothing had ever happened.