Now Playing: Like Real People Do by Hozier (honey, just put your sweet lips on my lips, we could just kiss like real people do)
People often like to tell me that friends of mine are, well, assholes.
I am, of course, well aware that a lot of my friends are assholes (I do mean that in the most endearing way possible, darling, if you're reading). A lot of them don't identify as feminists; many of them are identified by my fellow feminists as fuckboys (and they are, I'm not denying that).
But I keep them around, anyway.
Here's the thing; when you're a not-straight, feminist girl who hooks up with very straight, very not feminist guys in a very straight, very patriarchal setting like a club; obviously there's culture clash. But culture clash is something I'm very used to, you know, as an Asian kid in an Anglo place like Australia. If you look at my friends and I, we're like walking examples of the whole 'opposites attract' cliche; the ones who have stuck around the longest have absolutely nothing in common with me - and I've been quite open about the fact that a relationship that went 100 miles an hour and then hit a wall and exploded was with someone who was very much on my level in many ways.
Sometimes when you stay friends with someone you met when you were eighteen and blind drunk, they mean more to you than you would ever dare to admit; not in a soppy, let's get married and have babies way, but in the sense that you were broken and they - however messily, inadvertently, irreverently - went a little way into putting the pieces back together. They know that, I know that, but we don't talk about it because a) we're awkward teenagers and b) at the end of the day, we are friends, but I'm a feminist and they're fuckboys. But, I maintain there's something special about that kind of unspoken connection; and sometimes that's the reason why I can't let go of people.
And, as much as some of the things they say and do are terrifyingly ignorant - and sometimes just ludicrously funny - sometimes I think people don't give them enough credit. Yes, I keep them around, flaws and all, but they return the favour. I am a loud, rude, uncouth feminist with quite the reputation, and sometimes keeping me around is a threat to their carefully curated image of whatever the fuck teenage boys attempt to project themselves to be; but they keep me around. People know we are friends, and know that I am a feminist, and know that I won't stand for anybody's bullshit, at least within earshot - friend or not, excellent in the sack or not. Being a feminist is scary, and if you've had those rare, precious, incredibly vulnerable moments with some people, you'd know that occasionally, yes, men get scared too; and feminism is a scary, 'emasculating' bandwagon to jump onto. And that's the feminism in it all; I don't think I would be friends with some people if they didn't understand that I accept their vulnerabilities and inadequacies; which is often not a luxury afforded to some of the people I know. This absence of acceptance; this lack of acknowledging and embracing vulnerability cuts me like a knife, sometimes; I just get this swell of love and empathy and affection that is hard to ignore. It has been a hard lesson to learn, for all of us, to love in spite of flaws.
Us feminists sometimes get into a very self-aggrandizing, 'preach to the choir' loop; we simply cut out people who don't enthusiastically cling to and repeat everything you say.But we are most challenged as feminists and as people, to be empathetic, to imagine complexly, when we are not talking to our brethren.
Also, the fuckboys that I know? Not really that bad. I've always maintained that some of the best - kind, considerate, body-positive ,etc. - people I know, men and women, are sluts. The ones who have seen it all, done it all, with absolutely everybody.
And: don't hold me responsible for whatever shit that they start spouting when I'm not around. I'm not their mother, and it's not my job to educate grown men.
My friends keep me grounded, and keep me sane. And my fuckboys teach me endless, endless patience. And I am grateful for that, really.
(they are also really good in bed, but that is totally off topic.)