One thing cool about having a woman for a friend is how it helps with chastity. Yes, helps with it. It helps because as you get to know a woman you quickly come to realize that THEY ARE ALL MENTAL. All. And this is good, because if you are ever tempted to think that the grass is greener on the other side, you quickly learn that, no, the grass is just as crazy over there.
Okay, I'm not the best at metaphors, but, this is all very important to someone like me who never had a sister. I did not know that there were no women like this:
That's Natasha Rostov, the heroine of War and Peace, who was my late-teenage fantasy ideal woman - obviously Tolstoy's as well. Now, I don't wish to disparage Tolstoy's character-crafting ability, but Natasha, for all her faults, was far too innocent, sweet, romantic, idealistic and pure to be real... At least that was how I could see her then.
So, for a man who had no sisters, it was easy for me to believe that there was a Natasha out there for me. But there is a certain one-dimensionality involved in this. If Natasha were real, she would be just as nuts as my wonderful women friends - you know who you are! Natasha would have bad-breath sometimes. She would fart. Sometimes she would have a disgusting boogie hanging out of her nose. And even worse:
- she would be insecure,
- she would be mad at you for suggesting that she was not as trim as she might be (you made no such suggestion),
- she would be mad at you for criticizing her parenting (you did not),
- she would be mad at you for disagreeing with her about Pope Francis, church music or whether men should ever wear baby harnesses or not (they should not),
- she would resent you for suggesting that her gluten allergy is all in her head (it is).
But just as in marriage, a real relationship comes about only after accepting the other for all her pluses and minuses. I wish I had a sister. It is my biggest regret from my childhood. But, having two awesome brothers and two wonderful parents, this kind of sounds like a big douse of ingratitude. It is.
I like my girlfriends. And, for some reason I do not fully understand, they like me: since I am obnoxious and very insensitive in some ways, very non-PC. And yet, I am hilarious and caring. They take me for what I am. And... da da daaaaa.... I take them for what they are: messes. I am not going to become a woman for their sake, and I do not expect them to become men for my sake. One great thing about being married and having daughters is you realize that women are kind of cool for being the messes they are.
I am almost finished my first Graham Greene novel, The Heart of the Matter. It is okay. One of the things that the author seems to want to get across is that women are all the same: that is to say, how they are with you is because you are who you are. I will be able to say for sure if this is actually the author's message when I finish the book. But the point is, we meet others with what we are, and they are what they are and so our friendships are products of all of this.
I grew up with a bad case of romanticism. So far I have not met any other man like I was. If I ever do, I will share my thoughts with him about Natasha's boogers. My girlfriends are actually my friends because they know how annoying I am and yet still deign to talk to me. I know how hurtful I can be at times. And they are my friends because they know I won't change to accommodate them. There is only one woman I have a duty to please and that is more than enough of a job for...
One of the reason why I wrote this, is that I see guys who are so insecure these days that they become like girls for sake of their girlfriends and wives. That is not necessary. If you have to change yourself for your friends, they are not accepting you for who you are. Men should be gross and burly.