In The Company of Men

We shared stories of parenting… and Jello shots.

I love men. I have always loved men. But I didn’t start loving men first because of my father. It was because of my brothers, and my friends.

I never trusted girls the way I trusted boys. With boys, all their words were right up front—they weren’t crafted to both reveal and hide painful intentions and hidden messages. If a boy wanted to punish me for some adolescent offense—whether making fun of his parachute pants or questioning his taste in ‘80s pop—he’d punch me in the arm, right then and there, instead of crafting an underground campaign and drafting four of my closest friends to shut me out of some event that didn’t even matter but suddenly did, so much, when I wasn’t asked to be there.

No, boys I got intuitively and completely. They wanted to have fun. They wanted to laugh. They wanted to laugh until boogers came out of their nose or farts out of their butts and then punch someone in the arm because they loved them, the throbbing ache in the punched arm not too, too different from the beat of your heart.

This weekend I was reunited with my intense love and trust of boys, the boys who are now men, as I, apparently, am now not a girl, but a grown-up woman. We all converged in New Orleans, that town made for fun and riotous happenings, for the Dad 2.0 Summit. The point was to discuss the brotherhood of fatherhood, as it relates to blogging and making room, more room – MORE ROOM – for complexity and variety and dimensionality and other important –ies in how we think of men who are fathers. What we expect of them. But more important, to understand how very, very much they expect of themselves.

And after the panels, filled with such depth and vulnerability and truth-telling, there was the company of these men, that warm, familiar feeling to me, of being surrounded by straightforward affection and camaraderie, and the willingness for an adventure at any moment.

Last night I found myself on Bourbon Street surrounded by 20 or so really good men, and I felt so at home in their laughter and their trash talk, their easy conversation, their brotherly attention. I don’t think I’ve ever realized how safe my two brothers make me feel (because there were parts of our shared and different childhoods that didn’t feel so safe, perhaps), but last night I was in an army of brothers, and I wanted to stay there forever.

Thank you, Dad 2.0. And thank you, all of you, the dozens of really warm, funny, interesting, passionate, hilarious, adorable, lovable men who were there. Thank you for letting me hang in your tribe, a place I feel so very much at home.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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40 Responses to In The Company of Men

  1. Always home and uncool says:

    Thanks for giving us the chance to prove we are worthy of that love, friendship and respect. Kevin

  2. It was a true pleasure being one of your manly minions and fellow red-tonguer last night. You are an excellent complement to our group and I’m glad we got to spend some time together in NoLA.

    And don’t forget: We’ll always have the car hood twerk-fest.

    • stacy says:

      “Fellow red-tonguer” is …. a mouthful of a phrase. I had to add the photo so people could see the context. LOL! Also: I look good with that filter and the red complements my pale skin, so there’s that. xo

  3. Rita says:

    Have long maintained that girls are cats and boys are dogs–and I’ve always been a dog person. I feel a little disloyal saying that. And my closest relationships have always been with other girls/women. But there is something about the ease of communication with males that I love, too. Sounds like a wonderful event.

    • stacy says:

      I feel disloyal, too, because of course my best and my closest friends are women now (through college and then since I had a baby, actually, and no, that irony is not lost on me)… but yeah, different.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I love this. I agree that there’s something straightforward and direct about men, something I’ve always liked, too. My oldest and dearest friend is a man, like a brother, and we grew up together, literally. Our mothers were best friends, he’s my son’s godfather, and I wish I saw him more often, but every time we do it’s like being reunited with some essential piece of my story. xox

    • stacy says:

      OMG yes, this >> “I wish I saw him more often, but every time we do it’s like being reunited with some essential piece of my story.” My two best friends from high school are men, and the deep, deep way I love and need them is indescribable. Don’t see them enough, but when I do it’s like drinking from The Source.

  5. alexandra says:

    Sounds like this was the thing you needed, right now. Happy you felt at home.

  6. Marinka says:

    Beautiful, as always xo

  7. Karen says:

    Love this, Stacy. And so insanely jealous that I wan’t there with you!

  8. Momo says:

    Oh, yes. I get this. I get this so much and I love Dad 2.0 in more ways than I can count. I’m glad you got to make it this year. Next year, I’ll be your sister among the brothers.

  9. Pingback: Dad 2.Opinion: Recaps of Dad 2.014

  10. Whit says:

    The feeling was mutual. And then some.

    • stacy says:

      Well, that’s a super nice thing to say there, Whit. We still didn’t get to have a bourbon together. Which seems impossible, but there it is. Goal for next time?

  11. Brent Almond says:

    Wow. I just spit-took (?) all over my monitor. Such a pleasure to meet you and to be a FRT. I was told you went on to have several other shots after this one. As you can tell from the photo, I was already pretty much at my limit.

    I’m gonna make sure our paths cross again, and will pace myself better next time.

    • stacy says:

      Pace yourself? Aw, hell no! The whole point of conferences is to do toomuchtalkingandtoomuchthinkingandallthefeelingsandthensomeeatingandallthedrinking and there is no such thing as pace, unless you mean in the way tennis commentators do, where pace means “Whacking the shit out of that ball until there’s nothing left to do but dance.”

  12. teamgloria says:

    LOVE t h i s.

    & you.

    🙂

    *wavingfromlosangeles*

    -tg xx

  13. Lizz says:

    Yes yes yes! I have more to say, but am working on my own post so I don’t want to get carried away.
    The conference was everything I hoped it would be, and perfect.

  14. This is perfect, Stacy. I feel the same way—I’ve always had lots of guy friends and appreciate the same qualities you speak of. Plus, I love the drinking, the shouting, and the constant trash talk that is doled out affectionately, not cattily.

    Also, it was super-nice getting to spend some time with you and the other ladies-that-hang-with-the-guys. 🙂

  15. mom101 says:

    I love that we both wrote specifically about the good men of the weekend. It was such a pervasive feeling, wasn’t it? This is such a lovely post and I really understand.

    I loved getting to spend time with you too though. If I may be so bold.

    • stacy says:

      Not bold! Understood. But yes, let it not go unnoted, either, as the ladies were all good company as well. But yes, the weekend’s takeaway was all about the good, good men. xo

  16. Love this post! Great to see you in New Orleans, however briefly.

    So many women throughout my life have said something similar about boys and men. I’ve never heard it presented so well and so concisely.

  17. Chris says:

    Thank you for picking my wine for me and for not being weird about me asking “what you do” ;D I really enjoyed our group dinner and am glad I had the chance to meet and laugh with you and the others before the chaos of Bourbon St kicked in. Maybe one of these days I’ll make it to BlogHer but for now I will settle for the quiet gatherings in the busiest of towns.

    • stacy says:

      Chris, LOVED meeting you, and OMG who gives a *beep!* what I do? I mean, yes, BlogHer is awesome and I have a great job, but it’s person-to-person that counts most. xo

  18. Rita Arens says:

    I had a very close male friend growing up but then from college until I had my daughter, I didn’t have any male friends, really. Acquaintances, sure, but not friends. Then when my little girl entered the waddler room at daycare, we bonded with six other couples who had their firstborn children in my daughter’s class. We still get together, all of us, a few times a year even now that our firstborns are 9/10 years old. I remember the first time I realized that I loved each of those men totally platonically in the way I loved my childhood friend and feeling really, really good about that. I missed having someone watch my back in that way.

  19. Marina says:

    Odd that we grew up together and feel same way.
    I would say in my adult life 90% or more of my friends are men.

    • stacy says:

      Because of my work — entire teams of women, with 1 or 2 men — I think I have ended up with an unnatural balance. What I experienced in New Orleans last weekend was the reminder that men are my natural ally, which doesn’t take away from the truly magnificent female friendships I have, which I am lucky enough to count into the dozens. But since I know you since the beginning of time, this doesn’t surprise me at all! We were similar about so many things from the get-go, right?

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