You know a particularly interesting thing about being in a committed, totally secure long-term relationship is? Making friends. Mainly, male friends. When I first started dating Erik, I was living in Colorado. His other friend from Memphis, also entwined in my group of friends but I'd never met him, had moved a couple months before me to Denver. His name is Andy. He's pretty much a totally awesome dude. He's 24 or 25, a gunsmith, prematurely balding, and a little taller than me, but not much. He's one of the most fun people to talk to ever and a total catch, especially since the balding thing isn't too noticeable yet and he's not that short, he just seems it next to Erik who is ginormous. He's sarcastic, and smart, and ridiculously funny. He's also incredibly generous, with his time and his financial means.
If I hadn't been dating Erik, I would have been looking at him through the eyes of a single woman looking for a mate. I looked at every man I met that way. It kept me from really making friends with any guy. But I never looked at Andy that way. I saw him as a cool, fun guy that shared a recently-acquired interest of mine (guns). Hell, the day I met him he gave Erik a brand new shotgun he'd built for his birthday, which was just four days away.
I wouldn't have gotten to meet him like this. Well, I might have met him since he was associated with some of our friends already, but I got to look at him as a person and not a penis. It's a much better view of the world. Now he's almost definitely going to Kuwait to make guns for anywhere from one to three years. He'll come back debt-free (he has to pay back gunsmithing school, which he just finished last summer) with 100 to 150k in the bank, ready to buy a house and start a life. How brilliant is that?
I'm nervous about him going to Kuwait, though. I know he'll probably be fine, he's not exactly a soldier, but it's still very dangerous. That's what sparked this post. I realized how much a love him, and it's purely a platonic thing. I'm protective of him like I am my brother or Erik's brothers when he goes back and forth with this destructive, needy girl I'm kind of friends with cause I have to be. I worry about him getting hurt. He's one of my best friends - and he's a guy, and straight. I have had this with two other guys. One was gay and I was still in love with him secretly (then again, I was a silly teenager). The other, the one who got me into guns, I still ended up half-naked with one night once. I am not good at separating things. Not every man is a penis. They may all have one (well most of them, but that's pretty off-topic), but not every man is one.
It's something I hope I can instill in my daughter. Make male friends. Worry about picking a mate from your pool of friends. Strangers to friends, friends to boyfriends. Don't skip that middle part. I want that for her.