When I look at some of the truly transformational people in my life, many of them have been women. I think that women have been absolutely necessary for my own personal transformation. My mother is an incredibly nurturing and self-sacrificial woman. My sister is an extremely courageous person in my eyes for her ability to build relationships with others and take leadership in her circles. I have fallen in love with a few women, and they have broken my heart, or I have broken theirs. I am grateful for this. Few things will lead you to deeper connection with God and the world than great love and great suffering. Women have given me the ability to share my thoughts and my emotions. Their femininity has given me something that has allowed me to connect to a deeper part of myself, and find God and myself in places that I couldn’t have gone without them. Contrary to this, there have been things that women can’t do for men.
One of my favorite movies over the past few years is I, Love You, Man with Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. The movie is about Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) who has spent all of his time and energy being the guy who invests all of his energy on his girlfriend. When his fiancée shows off all of her future bridesmaids, Peter freaks out and seeks out a male friend. After a string of awkward encounters, Peter finds Sidney (Jason Segal) while he is trying to sell the house of The Incredible Hulk star, Lou Ferrigno. Sidney praises Peter’s food choice for the event but the male bonding truly happens, when Sidney reveals the step-by-step fart-in-waiting by one of the guys in viewing. After that, what you see are two men who do not bond over sharing their emotions, or thoughts, but two guys who live life with one another. They found themselves in a bromance. Men don’t seem to bond over conversation or gazes, but they bond over shared experiences. This is so clearly seen in soldiers. A man who has another man’s back, is a person who we can feel deep affection for. When a man knows that a man will stick with him in the struggles, or even in the common experiences, it develops a radical love with those they are in friendship with.
What I love about my male friendships, is that I can share all of my male idiosyncrasies with them. I can’t talk about my fellow friends, my bad habits, my sexual desires, my crass humor with a woman like I can a man. A woman can’t offer all of the perspective that I need because they don’t know the male language, the male experiences (just as men can’t do for women). While women have offered me a much deeper inward presence of love, grace, and peace, it is my male friends who can help me more deeply experience this in physical embodiment. They incarnate for me the presence of being a man. They offer me a gift that women can’t give me. This is why I am so indebted to all of my friends. This is why I have such a deep bond with them, one that I can’t fully express.