I apologize in advance, this is kind of long and there are no pictures. I couldn’t find any that worked!
Let me paint you a little picture. My apartment is on the top floor and next door is the rooftop deck of the neighboring building. I’ve lived in this apartment for the past two years (as of June 2nd). The past two summers I listened to my neighbors laugh and converse and they tempted me with their grill-icious scents. I always talked about making friends with my neighbors, because a) you can always use new friends and b) rooftop deck?! Yes please!
Finally, last night I decided to do something about my deck-lust. I was lying around in my apartment after spending an afternoon out in our first lovely day, and heard some male voices. Considering their volume I knew these voices emanated from the neighboring rooftop deck. A glass of wine into my personal happy hour (cheese just calls for wine, duh) my immediate reaction was to don a cuter outfit and move to the chair near the window. Because I’m passive, I positioned myself facing the window and picked up a book that did not scream YA (i.e. not the latest Princes Diaries book). I sat there continuing to “read,” waiting for one of the young men to move and work the grill again. This way, he would be above the fence line and I could make eye contact, or at least be visible. I knew that eye contact, over a balcony, would not be enough, but I hoped that inspiration would strike, and at least they could see me when I decided to talk.
However, as I waited and waited and started to smell their delicious food, I soon heard female voices. And then I knew that my grand plans would not succeed.
I am a dichotomy in many ways. I am sure I will discuss my subdued version of a split personality someday, but today, I’m thinking specifically of my tendency to make friends with guys. But, I do not make friends initially with guys. For example, I work in a high school and when I first started I talked the other female teachers. Fast forward to the second school year, and at a recent work party I found myself surrounded by my male coworkers. I walked into the bar and looked around for the people I felt comfortable with, and actually wanted to spend time with outside of school, and they were all male.
I cannot explain this, nor do I know why boys appeal to me as friends. I’m not saying I don’t have girlfriends, but in each new chapter of my life I find myself surrounded by a new group of male friends*. The guys tend to fall into “in-the-moment” friends while the girls, although fewer per any given location, generally become lifelong friends.
Bringing this back to my neighbors, I started wondering about my reaction to the women on the deck. Probably 10 minutes later I moved from the chair, relocated myself to the couch (away from the window) and got myself a glass of water. I like to think I’m a confident woman—am I pretty? Yes. Am I an awesome person? Yes. Yet, other women intimidate me.
Do I want to date these guys next door? Not necessarily. I don’t know them and for all I know, they could be complete assholes. Do I want to meet new people and expand my last Boston summer opportunities? OMG yes. Do I want the opportunity to spend time on their rooftop deck? Hell yes. Yet, somehow, even while leaving this situation in the “friend” zone, I felt that if girls were there, the guys would not be interested. The immediate assumption is that the girls are the significant others of the guys, but even if they’re not, dealing with girls and guys is difficult. Perhaps it is my experience with my girlfriends, but I know that girls can be very, very, protective of their guy friends (and there probably is some unrequited interest lingering in any given group). Also, to be completely honest, it’s incredibly intimidating to try and break through that wall.
Can I become friends with one of those girls? Yes. Can I become friends with one of those guys? Yes. Can I become friends with the group as a whole? That is much more difficult. Does this say something about my relationships with men? Possibly. Is this a negative aspect of my personality? Maybe. But maybe not. I honestly do not know. Nor can I pinpoint the appeal of male friendship.
* I’m not talking a pack of men following me around, I’m talking a group of 2-3, more only if I’m also hanging out with their friends.