All the Girls who aren't my Wife
Sandra Bullock, whose brother owns a muzzle loader and shoots Bambi for fun, and whose father built our kitchen with his own hands, is sometimes fond of reminding me that I am a "girlie man." I am CERTAIN that she is not questioning my manhood by saying this. No way. Instead, she is commenting on the unique type of guy I am.
Well, it's true that I've never fired a gun. And I'm not just inept with power tools; I'm terrified of them. I am the least macho big dark guy you'll ever meet. And what's more -- I've hung out with girls all my life.
Sandra Bullock and the Jawa sometimes refer to them as "Kathleens," as in, "Jen is your new Kathleen," in honor of the first of my girlfriends to make the full leap to family friend. Both the Jawa and Sandra Bullock value Kathleen almost as much as I do. And before this Kathleen, there was a Kathleen in college. But if you dig deeper, there have been at least as many Lisas as Kathleens, a few Jens, Mollys. The original template for platonic girlfriend was established by Lisa McHenry, back in junior high school.
They play all sorts of roles in my life, but in the end, it comes down to the fact that I just flat-out like hanging out with girls, and I'm amazed to realize that most of my male friends have very few girl friends. I should qualify that. Most of my straight male friends have very few girl friends. Strange, that.
Occasionally, this fetish for being one of the girls leads to awkward situations. Sometimes I'll notice that, close pal or not, girl friends will occasionally have to leave you out of the inner circle in favor of one of their own. There are just some bridges you cannot cross. And naturally, there is the confusion of the world at seeing a male-female combo that is not a couple. Kudos to Lisa V., who confused a bar batron with this:
Bar Patron (to me): Oh, so you're married. Is this your wife? (indicating Lisa)
Lisa: (dryly) No, I'm his mistress.
There are limits. You can't really share a hotel room with a platonic female friend. Of course, I'm not all that keen of sharing one with a platonic male friend, either. And sometimes you realize that you're with a woman who thinks of you as another woman, which, given my already not-too-macho persona, doesn't exactly send me into fits of masculine confidence. Seriously, I've heard from more than one girl, "You're one of my best girlfriends!" It's like this public service I provide, to show them that the male gender is capable of hanging.
No, they don't generally want to talk about sports. And no, I don't secretly want to date them all.
Ah, who cares. Hanging out with girls is the greatest. And the rest of the room just thinks you're some kind of stud. Or that you're gay, which I've never taken as an insult, anyway. As Frank said to me while we were chatting up the hottest bartender in the world, "Wow, your crap is completely different than my crap."
Chris P. of Seattle, Washington, wants me to write about how crazy it is in Seattle during Super Bowl week. See, I'm not actually in Seattle, so I have no idea how crazy it is there this week. I followed the Seahawks during the Kitna years, but by I've been a card-carrying member of the San Francisco 49ers faithful since 1991. Even though they suck, especially when they suck, I remain a fan. Go Niners! Raah!
There's your macho, right there.