The world talks about women. But I'd like to talk about boys.
I love boys. I realized again two weeks ago that I absolutely love boys. I am in love with their slow lope, their fast drive, with their easy limbs and stretched out chests, and their slouched shoulders. With the way they talk to women and the way they talk to each other. The way they talk about women. The way they are affected by women. The way they smell – of testosterone and too much cologne. The way they preen – hair products and creams. Their quirks, their dreams. The way they want to grow up, and never stop having ideas for when they do. How boys self-destruct. How they go into their shells and how they hurt but never tell. How they're always up to no damn good. I like that I needn’t put on a show with them. I like how boys put themselves first, and I know there’s a lesson to be learnt there. How they are particular about the peculiar. How they protect and guard – both themselves and me.
I have been in love for so long with the easy nature of a group of boys in sync with each other, that for a long time as a teenager I thought I wanted to be one. I wanted so much to partake of their banter and baggy jeans, their heavy metal and ‘makeuplessness’. The way they sat around in groups of three and five and seven and ten and made a sport their lives. The way they committed to the perfection of it, equal parts enthusiastic exhilaration and healthy competition. The way they smoked their cigarettes on still summer evenings, dangling them between fingers then dragging on them from between finger and thumb. They’d hang them from between their mouths, the cheap brand, and lean down to tie shoelaces, or drum on their thighs. They’d strum at guitars in driveways and on rooftops. The way they caught with gymnast wrists a key chucked, a ball thrown, a can of coke, mid air. A whole world of male bonding that I became privilege to, fell in love with, and put up a house in.
And so I learnt their guarded ways. I learnt that they say everything except when it means something. I learnt how there is a whole 'nother boy inside every boy that does drugs. That there is a different boy under the skin of every boy after two drinks. That they don't understand women so they hurt them, and when they do they discard them. And when there is one, then there is nothing and no one else. That they're always looking for a yes...always looking for an out, always looking for a mountain to climb, a place to fly. That for every boy who is arrogant there are two who don't know how much they're worth. And then every once in a blue blue moon in an electric cloud sky, there's a humble boy. I learnt that boys sing in the shower, talk in their sleep, dance with left feet and take watches off when they play ball. They speak stupid and talk rough, but always with humor. What a blanket of humor their lives have. And then they talk about love – always under the guise of that humor. That everything that isn't humor ends up in songs – writing them, listening to them, belting them out drunkenly while cruising around town. I love how boys don’t care…and my god how they do.
I love that the fabric of their tee shirts is soft and worn, second skin. The tiny holes in the cloth they won’t give up. Boxer shorts/ aversion to creases/ favorite sweatshirts/ the sound when he sneezes. How they like kisses and how they forget everything but then remember that one thing. And sometimes you meet a boy who remembers everything but says nothing. How they hurt and are quiet. How they dispense of hurt. Boys’ hands. Boys’ sneakers. Boys' sarcasm. Boys’ bed sheets. Boys when they lie awake at night, not sleeping, playing the same song over and over again. Stupid tattoos in secret places, beautiful tattoos that mean everything. How it feels like their whole world has stubble. How much boys eat. I love that I have met boys who have given me pieces of this world…access to it. Gentleman, assholes, pained souls, dreamers, humorists. Layered, complex, idiotic, exasperating, gentle, invested, devastatingly beautiful boys. I love them. I love them from their terrible hair product that leaves your fingers sticky, to their awkward shirt collars and elegant collarbones. I love the sweep of their spines, the belly fat they despise, the armpit with signature scent, the tear duct that claims to never have wept, the tried-to-grow-a-moustache but it didn’t work lip, scars-from-bike-accident legs, forgot-to-cut-them toenails, scared-it’ll-never-be-big-enough penis, don’t-like-that-patch-of-hair body part, hate-my-family, hate-my-bedroom, hate-my-past, hate-my-home but so damn proud contradiction. All of it. I love it because it is enough. It is so much. And it has been and always will be enough. And now you know it.