It’s a Guy Thing

You know those nights that you just keep re-living, over and over in your head?  Yeah.  I had one of those this past Friday night and I simply had to share because I can’t get it off my mind.  My husband and I drove over 4 hours to a wedding of one of our good college friends.  And there, at the wedding, would be a college reunion of sorts.  I was going to see people I haven’t seen in in 4 years, and haven’t actually hung out with since college.  These people, these old friends are my boys.  My big group of burly and messy boys that I affectionately call my own.  In college, I was always the girl hanging out with the guys.  For no other reason than that’s just how it happened.  But I have always loved having boy-friends.  There’s just something about it that feels so easy and comfortable.  I have girlfriends too, though.  I feel that maybe needs to be said.  I have girlfriends for whom I would walk through fire, who are a piece of me, but it has always been easy for me to get along with guys as well.  And these particular guys are also a big ole piece of me.

We were in plays and performances and scenes together, me and those boys, some of them I have known for as long as I have known my husband, some of them I met on the same exact day that my husband and I first met…we all spent many a frustrated and exhausting rehearsal together, many a late night out together, many a pajama’ed early morning together, many a class together…

…these boys were a part of my world for years.  They always looked out for me, they treated me like I was just one of the guys, but also never once forgot I was a lady.  I was respected and treated as much as an equal as I was an individual.

Since college we’ve all gone off and lived our lives, some of us separate, some of us together (I married one of ’em), occasionally our home has been the stop on the way for a few of them…

…I’ve been able to hang out individually with some when they come through town…

but Friday was an epic evening to finally have them all back again.  Together.

And not only was I going to get to see them all again, but I was going to meet their wives and girlfriends for the first time!!  (Who, by the way, were all so incredible and warm and fun to finally meet!!)  I got ready in the hotel, had my music blaring, started the barefoot dancing early, so very excited for the evening… and then put on a sweet little dress and the most uncomfortable heels I own (you know me).

Aaaaaand set out to walk the 15 minutes it took me to go from hotel to wedding site.  In said uncomfortable heels.  On cobblestones.  And wooden planks.  In the hot sun.  Sweating just enough to make me wonder if I looked or smelled like a crazy person.  Took a quick unapologetic selfie to check hair and makeup before entering…

And I walked in, initially not knowing how things would be (it had been years, after-all…you never know!)… And they all, each and every single one of those boys, treated me like a flower.  They were the kindest and sweetest and most incredible bunch of men that each, individually, took the time to make me feel like a lady that entire night.  We talked about our children, our careers, I saw many a cell phone pic of their babies, rubbed many a pregnant belly of their wives, I was picked up and tossed around by a few, hugged and smooched like I was the sister they hadn’t seen in ages, and a few of them throughout the evening pulled me aside, took me in their arms and told me how proud they were of me.  They were all genuinely interested in who I was and what I had done and what I had to say.  I had forgotten what that felt like.  I felt so incredibly loved and it was such a touching evening that I will never ever forget.

It wasn’t until I was with all of them again, after we all have matured and grown so much since college, that I realized how much I had missed them all.  I miss them now as I write this.  I almost ache for them.  It was an amazing night.  We danced, we drank, we laughed, we sang, we played… It felt like old times, and yet was better and more exciting than it ever had been.  They say that you never really know what you’re missing until it’s gone, but I think you never really know what you’re missing until it comes back to find you again.  I don’t know when the next time I will see them will be, but I know it doesn’t matter.  Because we found each other once and we will find each other again when it needs to happen.  Nothing went wrong all night, nobody felt out of place or left out, the vibe was simply…easy love.  And damn, that felt good.  The evening was filled with so much positivity, excitement, camaraderie, comfortability, and love.  It was perfect.

The only thing that wasn’t amazing and positive and beautiful and full of love about the evening was the fact that my feet were killing me.  My tiny toes were attempting murder inside those awful and stupid devil shoes.  That goes to show you how much I love those boys- the fact that I wore those shoes for as long as I did.  My feet had gone from feeling sharp and intense pain to numbness to redness to puffiness and by the last bar stop, those stilettos came off and I danced my butt off barefoot.  On the old wooden patio, overlooking the Cape Fear River, of the bar where we spent many a Tuesday night over 10 years ago.  I danced and twirled and jumped, was swung and tossed around like a doll, completely barefoot.  And I wondered in those sweet moments why shoes were even a thing.

And then, after the party ended, after we had all had our fill of love and fun, I walked back to the hotel, down Water Street, still barefoot.  You know how you can burn your feet on the hot sand in the summer?  Yeah, it kinda felt like that.  Only, more specifically, it felt like I had just burned my feet in a raging fire pit and then decided to walk across a nail blanket for 15 minutes.  But you know what?  It was worth it.  So very worth it.  To see those guys again and feel the way they make me feel about myself, was worth every ounce of foot pain.  It’s not that I need other people to define my mood, that’s never the right way to live your life, it’s just that having so many old friends, so many tough teddy bears, make me feel so at home, and so special, and so important, and so…accepted for exactly who I am, was just such an incredible gift to receive.

It’s important to have people in your life who make you feel like your best self, who don’t put you down, who are simply easy to be around.  Effortless friends, I call them.  The kind you can just sit next to, in silence, and not feel the need to make a sound.  People who you can slip on like an old shoe.  And that’s what I realized I have with that big group of burly men.  Those boys are my old shoe- my old and stinky, but oh so comfortable shoe.  The shoe I will never have to take off in order to walk home.  But the shoe I will always have by my side, because it makes me feel like I already am.







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