Deeper Than Guys Over Girls
Every year around this time, I head back down to my alma mater to celebrate homecoming. Over the years, the trips have been all about two things: my boys and the women. But this year, as I make my way down for my sixth homecoming, the women aren’t nearly as important as they used to be, at least, not in the capacity they once were. This year, I’m most excited about seeing my boys, so much so, I can’t imagine the opportunity of hooking up with any girl getting in between that.
The running joke amongst my boys used to be, “Where is Jozen going to wake up this year?” For quite a few homecomings, one of my boys would usually have to pick me up from somewhere, whether it was a hotel in Virginia, or somewhere in downtown D.C. And I used to pride myself on such a reputation. That was, after all, the goal, and as trashy as that may sound, it seemed like such a natural thing.
This year, I was almost going to skip homecoming altogether all because that desire to wake up in an unfamiliar place with some woman wasn’t really kicking like it used to. I thought, that whole thing is getting old and if I’m not really trying to hook up with a woman, why should I bother? Then at the last minute, it turned out I had to go down this weekend for an assignment, and as it turns out, three of my other boys are ready for homecoming too. So this year’s homecoming is part business and part business as usual, except for that whole waking up somewhere I didn’t plan on sleeping at.
All I really want to do these days is spend time with my boys. Maybe it’s because one of our closest friends died earlier this year. Maybe it’s because another one of my closest friends, Jermaine, moved here close to a year ago. But whatever it is, 2010 has been the year of my boys, but in a way it never was before.
From my best friend back home to my best friends in college, to my brothers I met when I was older, when I think about the men amongst my age group, and I assess the strength of those relationships, I realize it’s deeper than friendship. What I have is a family of men and for a long time I don’t think I realized that.
I used to associate my boys with trouble, largely because it was with them I would get into all kinds of trouble. Even girlfriends I dated would say they trusted me by myself but when I was with my boys, it was a completely different story. But in hindsight, I should have never let their insecurities compromise the bonds with my friends, and it’s not that they ever did. It’s just, so many women see guy time as a necessary evil, the operative word being evil. They let their man go be one of the guys with raised eyebrows and ask any man, it gets frustrating to be put in a position where we feel like we have to choose.
When I get into my next relationship, I fully expect my woman to understand that only I will reserve the right to cut one of my boys out of my life. There is no say on my friendships with the men who have stuck by me through all kinds of things she was never there to witness or be a part. This isn’t some bros over h*es thing, so much as it is a people who have been their for me over people who just arrived and need to prove themselves over a period of time
The problem is, because I don’t roll with choir boys, my crew usually is seen as the type of bunch who go to strip clubs and disrespect women. I should say for the record, we never disrespect women, especially the ones at the strip club. But do we enjoy socializing with women and talking to women when we go out? Absolutely we do. Women, after all, are one of the main reasons we’re trying to look as sharp as we can when we step out. What we have learned though is collectively the reason why women do gravitate towards us is largely because they see the camaraderie we have and they want to be close to it. Not in that way, but in a genuine way, because they see our bond isn’t a fly by night thing.
Case in point: When my boys and I went down to Little Rock, Arkansas to put to rest our best friend Enoch “Tre” Tims III, we went out all four nights we were there. We even went to a First Friday party. During the day we cried and mourned the loss of our best friend, and during the evening, we celebrated his life by partying as hard as anyone could in Little Rock. I didn’t know how hard until the day I was leaving and loading up my luggage to be checked. The guy behind the counter grabbing the luggage looked up at me and said, “Hey, hey man, you were at that party last night, weren’t you?”
“Umm, I was at a party last night,” I said. “Which one are you talking about?”
Disco was the name of the club he said, and certainly Disco (people called it that because it was short for the club’s real name, Discovery), was the name of the place we were at the night prior.
“Oh yeah,” I said. “My boys and I were there.”
The guy threw my luggage on the belt, then turned to my ticket agent and said, “Let me tell you, this guy right here and his boys? Wild. Wild! They were up in that club acting wild and getting all these women.” Of course, it was awkward for me to be recognized in a city after only spending four nights there for the first time ever, so all I could do was laugh it off. Then he asked, “What were you all celebrating anyway?” I didn’t have time to get into all the details of how all these men who gathered to bury one of their own could also look like they were enjoying life so much, but I think I came up with an answer that said it all. “Friendship,” I said. Pounds were exchanged and I went on my way.
This weekend, I’m going to celebrate the same thing.
The Process: Wish me luck with keeping my diet intact while I’m down in D.C. for homecoming weekend. I know that fast food is going to be calling my name.
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