This is not an ode to boyfriends. Boyfriends have taught me many things and provided me with grand adventures, but that ride always ends in hot tears and cold feet. No, this is an ode to the men whose devoted friendships are a joyride on the Blue Ridge Parkway: soothing, winding and seemingly endless. Some of them came into my life through their wives, sisters, girlfriends and mothers. Some brought incredible women into my life via the partners they’ve chosen. A few were lovers once, a passing season in lifelong bond, and some are as of yet just friendly faces in my gchat list. They are, individually and collectively, some of my greatest blessings.
As men so often do, they show their affection most often in practical currency: checking the codes my tired old car throws, responding to budget woes with paid gigs and decent leads, picking me up from the airport after a standby failure, building furniture and websites, seeing to my comfort and safety when they find something remiss. They always seem to sense when I could most use their particular brand of love and talent, and they offer it with eager insistance. Somehow they manage to avoid condescension and control-seeking more often than not, and they give what they can in goodwill and faith.
They show no lack of tenderness, for all their practicality. They take a genuine interest in my perspective on the things that matter to them, and they are an invaluable source of insight in solving my own mysteries. They speak gently but candidly; they say the hard things that I need to hear when no one else is brave enough to speak, because they can’t stand to see me settle for less than I deserve.
My man friends have excellent taste, and they’re always enthusiastic to share the things they think I’ll enjoy. From raspberry beer (delicious but unkind to my personal chemistry), various smoked and fried meats (drool), and delicious desserts or cocktails to great new technological tools, great books and useful articles, these guys are full of great ideas. Like shooting guns and setting off fireworks, or gorging on fried chicken after a killer hike.
A tight-knit family and several precious female friendships take up a lot of room in my heart, and boyfriends are lovely before they spoil, but I’ll always keep a pretty patch of land for the men that honor me with their friendship.