Everyday I wonder why Josh is my best friend. He was the best man in my wedding, I once watched him buy a prostitute at a casino, and he and I have been through enough stupid scenarios to fill several poorly written books. And yet, I never stop wondering how he and I ever became friends.
Some background info. I have always considered myself a “city boy.” I grew up in Baltimore, and later relocated to the Midwest for school, which is where I met Josh. Josh grew up in rural Minnesota on a farm, the first time we met he was wearing camouflage and overalls. He looked like an extra in Duck Dynasty. We somehow decided to sit next to each other in our college communications class and we immediately connected, if he was a woman, we’d be married by now. I feel comfortable saying this, because I know he’s never going to read this and I’m using a fake name for him.
Naturally, as all friendships do, we argue about everything (especially being from very different backgrounds). However, the biggest thing he and I continue to argue about is masculinity. I grew up in Baltimore, not exactly a safe place to live, and being in an urban neighborhood, there’s this belief that you always need to be “hard.” I never believed in this philosophy. I’m a tough man, but I have never felt the need to show the world that I’m a man. Whereas Josh feels obligated to let everyone that happens to cross his path know that he does indeed have a penis.
I could write a thesis about the very notion of masculinity, but I want to focus on one specific thing: dogs. Yes, dogs. Why dogs? Because dogs are the truest judges of character and are the people we all deserve (I love all animals but until they make domesticated elephants I’m focusing specifically on dogs). I’ve had two dogs in my life as an adult man on my own: I bought a pug when I moved off the college, and I later bought a Pomeranian so they could be friends. When people see me walking my two toy dogs around town, almost always just like clockwork, some dude is going to stop and say something along the lines of:
“Your girlfriend makes you walk her dogs?”
“Nope they’re both mine,” I say with the utmost pride.
This is where Josh comes in, as my friend it is his social obligation to make fun of me, we do with each other, it’s a cornerstone of friendship. He still to this day makes fun of me for owning two toy dogs. Being a country boy (READ hillbilly) Josh feels a man must own a manly dog, like a pit bull OR A WOLF! And I think he’s a dumb hillbilly. I love my tiny dogs, especially now in their old age (the pug is 11 and the Pomeranian is 13) and I think it’s moronic that I’m less of a man because I bought small dogs. Masculinity is a funny thing, Josh is truly a good man that has many skills that I certainly do not possess, but this notion that men need to be tough all the time is insane. I’m not saying we need to be writing poems about our feelings and crying about sad internet videos, but for fuck sake if I want to own a small dog, I’m going to own a small dog mother fucker.
In my opinion, if you’re not comfortable enough with your own masculinity to own a small dog or do something that isn’t considered “manly” that makes you a bitch. You can bet the damn house every time Josh stays with me I find him on my couch holding my dogs. All dogs are great, I don’t want to get on a soapbox, but seriously, dogs are awesome if you don’t have one but want to get one, do it. I thank God everyday for my two dogs.
Share your thoughts on this. Do we need to be “hard” at all times or are those of us that are comfortable enough to step outside the standard ideals of masculinity better off? Let’s talk about it. I love you all.