Dear Dude Whisperer,
I know it’s been said that men and women can never truly be just friends. The tension of attraction or non-attraction always gets in the way. I’ve had the good fortune to have had good male friends and sometimes it’s worked and sometimes it hasn’t. My best friend is a dude but he’s also gay and isn’t really into dude stuff. I have plenty of female friends but none that like to do dude stuff. Therein lies my quandary. I’m a single woman whose heart yearns to hang with the dudes. I have a standing appointment for a weekly manicure, an out of control passion for reading fashion magazines and buying expensive shoes but the truth is, there’s no place I’d rather be other than hosting a fight party, attending a Superbowl party, watching the game at a sports bar, or watching the Mets at Shea Stadium. (Don’t hate on the Mets!)
I live in NYC and I’ve been single for about six months now. Much more than a boyfriend, lately what I’m really missing is male companionship and camaraderie. I miss the good old days of hanging with a bunch of dudes, drinking beer, playing pool, talking shit, watching the game/match/tournament, and never once discussing relationships or feelings. My girl friends simply don’t get it and think I’m being ridiculous, praying this is a “phase” which will pass.
I’m not really into the “trying to find a boyfriend” scene right now because my ex is so completely amazing and incomparable that I haven’t been able to meet anyone without experiencing an overwhelming sense of disappointment. (He’s a U.S. government employee and has been assigned, for about the next four years, to work in a dangerous part of the world, thousands of miles away. We parted on the best of terms and he will remain the love of my life. Yes, a DW dilemma for another time, I’m sure.) Right now, I just want to roll with a group of dudes but I don’t know where to begin….I had it like this all through high school and college—I’m in my early 30s now—but now it feels like a figment of my imagination. Yes, I know I could just date a sports enthusiast but I don’t want to lead anyone on because I know I’m not really looking for more than friends at this point in time.
Is it delusional for me to even hope that I could ever have this again? Did I ever really have it in the first place? Yes, most of my dude friends from back in the day wanted to jump my bones but overcame it and eventually saw me as a little sister. Does this only happen on TV sitcoms? Can a dude ever really be friends with a woman? Will these relationships always be sullied by attraction? I have a “friend” now that I could do dude stuff with and is a lot of fun. We could take in a game but he has made it clear that he would love to jump my bones at the first chance.
DW, you’re so spot-on with all of your of advice. If YOU say it ain’t so, then it ain’t so.
A tomboy trapped in a girly-girl’s body
P.S. Please say it is so!
Hi there tomboy,
First of all, the DW is not gonna hate on the Mets. He’s a Giants fan being here in SF and all, but his parents are from Queens, so he’s got a soft spot for your team. In fact, no joke, he’s wearing a Mets hat right now. He loves Carlos Delgado and hates the Yankees, so we should be okay. He doesn’t even hate Shea like everybody else. Hey, if a place has an edible dog and legitimately affordable cheap seats, what else you need?
Now, as for this wanting to do dude stuff. The way the DW see it, there are two major hurdles if you want to hang with the dudes.
The first is exactly as you suspect. If you hang around a bunch of dudes and do dude/sports type stuff with them, unless you are disfigured and smell like ripe durian, you will eventually have to stave off an advance of one kind or another. Think of it this way. You know how an average looking dude suddenly gets appealing when he’s on stage singing for a band? (Think of that douche John Mayer and his enormous cranium. No sing, no schwing.) Same thing happens to women who race Indy cars, go to engineering school, or like dude stuff. One night you will find yourself not understanding how, as you and your buds get pay-per-view and yell at Antonio Tarver to rip someone’s head off and there’s nacho cheese down the leg of your jeans and your hair is unwashed and up under a Mets cap, some guy is completely getting wood and wants to skip the eighth round to “have a chat” on the back porch so he can put some halfassed clumsy move on you ten feet away from where everyone else is getting to have a perfectly normal night of hanging out . It’s gonna happen. The DW can only tell you to be ready with your Let ‘Em Down Easy skills. And, fairly or not, there might be a disproportionate amount of responsibility on you to make the post-brush off situation un-awkward. Things are always more difficult for the auslander.
The second was touched on in Dudefile #13 – The Sports Fan and it is this. Dudes are going to make it hard for you to get into their dude group for stuff like watching the Antonio Tarver fight because a) it’s Dude Time when they escape from jobs and expectations and scratch their nuts with impunity and complain about the women they love and say crass sh*t for the benefit of other dudes and to feel better about how somehow they have pillows at home with freakin’ lace frills and b) they assume you’re going to ruin it by doing one of the following –
1- talking about feelings
2- talking about shoes and feelings
3- talking about shoes, feelings, and Sex in the City
4- not knowing anything about sports
5- overcompensating for not knowing too much about sports and making up fake annoying hyperbolic expertise
6- you won’t be able to properly give/take shit and things will get all sensitive and awkward
7- well, you get the idea
If you sense a dude is giving you the runaround about joining the dude group, don’t dance around the edges of the issue. Insult him. Say, “Look, macho man, I know how it works. We sit in the bleachers and drink beers and shout smack at the visiting left fielder and make fun of how p%ssy whipped our buddy Kevin is for driving that frickin’ minivan. Don’t treat me like the f*cking Queen of England, you condescending douche. I’m not doing this to be cute or coy or be near a bunch of swarthy dudes, because, frankly, swarthy you guys are not. I just like baseball. So, you getting me a ticket or what?” If you sit back and act all timid and expect dudes to walk up and invite you into the Inner Dude Sanctum you’re in for a long, long Cubs fan caliber wait.
All this said- this can absolutely work. You just have to be a little patient and think about it like you’re a woman running for Senate in 1932 or a straight dude trying to become part of an all-female book of the month club that’s reading Fried Green Tomatoes. It’s gonna be hard, you’re gonna have to deal with some initial sexism, and you’re gonna have to do a fair bit of legwork- but it’s possible. Sure, it’s harder to find a group now than it was in high school or college, but that’s true for everything. Be direct and you’ll find your dude posse.
Best of luck finding the dudely dudes for dude stuff,