The other day Harish called and asked me to go out with the boys. I had to decline, since the (few) girl friends I have were planning a night out. He offered to meet us wherever we were, boys in tow. And I said it was strictly women only. No significant others and no guy pals who might be tempted to hit on the rest of the girls.
‘Are you trying to avoid us?’ He asked, suddenly sceptical.
‘What? I love you guys. I just need to be with my girls once in a while.’
‘But you hardly ever go out with girls!’
‘My point exactly!’
For some reason, eyebrows shoot up when I declare that I need time away from a boys’ binge night. Even my parents are surprised when I announce that I need the car because it’s girls only and there won’t be anyone dropping me home.
But being one of the guys is uninhibited, ridiculous fun.
The long drives in a packed car, screaming songs out of the window, making up our own lyrics if we don’t know the words. The playful fist fights and meaningless curses when we disagree. The unexpected protective behaviour they take on if a stranger tries getting fresh with me. The embarrassing question and answer rounds that my parents put them through, which are brushed aside and laughed about later. The late night chai or phone call when one of them needs to talk about girl trouble. The lingo unique to the clique. Spit bubbles. The comfortable silences. Entire meals comprising only junk food. Burping contests. Waking them up on a Sunday morning to take me to breakfast. Sunday breakfast plans which eventually materialise into late afternoon lunches.
Coins on paper napkins placed precariously over a beer mug. Drinking the vile ash-beer mix by whoever loses the game. Bottoms up. Smiling with the coin glinting from between front teeth.
Of course I can never keep up. And although shouting philosophical discussions across a table full of liquid distractions with Bob Marley wailing in the background is most enjoyable, I like being a girl
once in a while.
Once in extended, interrupted whiles, I suppose. Therefore the raised eyebrows.
And though they may complain about being excluded from a girls’ night when I’m included in all their plans, they do take complete advantage of my being a girl in their midst. Lingerie shopping and creative gift ideas for respective/assorted girlfriends? Take Chamique shopping.
Struggling through a semblance of a love letter? Shomikin’ll write it!
Spot analysis of when exactly the foot was carefully inserted into the mouth so as to anger respective/assorted girlfriends? Shamiska, what the hell did I do now?
Bored and hungry and passing through the area at some obscene hour? Shanmugs, I’m coming over now…make me some pizza, will you?
And I love not having to worry about the zit on my forehead. Or my unwaxed legs. Or my runny nose dribbling onto a sweatshirt if I’m crying on a shoulder. It’s comforting not sweating the small stuff.
But it’s also been remarked that I cease to be one of the guys when it comes to love interests. But of course.
Being one of the guys with the clique is an equation that I don’t drag other relationships into. Plus, I can’t have someone enamoured of me seeing anti-zit gook on my face. (That look is reserved exclusively for the boys
Something else that comes from hanging out with mostly guys is that compliments are automatically discounted. (Since compliments from the boys are usually non-existent.) What? You think she’s what? Dude! That’s Chamique you’re looking at!
So when G was forced to come inside to meet (all of) my aunts when he came to pick me up one night, he obliged and later remarked, ‘Wow, you come from a family of very attractive women.’
So the next night when we went out and I was done with my prettification and wafted into the living room to rescue him from my parents, he said I looked beautiful. Now, judging by his previous remark, it would be kind of pompous to accept the compliment as entirely my own.
So I stuck to: Why thank you, I have good genes you see.
And he looked at me like I was a little crazier than I was the day before.
But he’s a boy. So.