Working with teenagers three nights each week as I do, it’s no surprise that the lads in particular seem to have difficulty understanding that there’s a difference between love and lust. If gender is involved, the feelings are not recognised as different.
One thing I’ve noticed which occurs when the
7-year Life Change happens around age 28, and love and lust have become clearly defined, is that a small number of guys are able to actually speak about their feelings. Not most guys, for sure, but at least some.
Saying ‘I love you’ has always been a big deal for me as I was never able to say it to either my Mum or my Dad.
That’s no surprise because neither of them were what you’d call ‘physical parents’. Neither of them ever held me in their arms, and I was only able to say ‘I love you’ to my brother shortly before he died.
As for my father, I was living abroad when he died. Time-wise I only attended his funeral by the skin of my teeth. There must have been the most pathetic scene at the crematorium. As soon as I arrived I was taken to see his body. I looked down at what had been my Dad, bent over and kissed his forehead and said ‘I loved you Dad’, at which point an official came in the room and said they wanted to begin the service.
This all flooded back to me a few weeks ago.
It was late evening and I was with one of my mates with whom I share an office. He and I are tight; very tight. However, things had been getting a little tense and the atmosphere was like one of those times when you knew something akin to a climatic storm was about to blow up to clear the air.
Aside from being one of my closest Friends, understand this is no ordinary guy. From the early months of working alongside him I know he can’t be bought. A couple of times way-back I tried. Nothing sinister you understand; just me trying to be sneaky.
As you’d expect of his type he has powerful convictions so if there’s a difference of opinion about how to move forward he has to be ‘won over’ ……. which takes time and can be a pain in the arse.
Anyway, a few weeks ago the storm broke. Unpalatable truths were spoken by both of us in language more suited to enemies than blokes who are tight. It reached a point when we were both on our feet and, almost nose-to-nose, he raised his fists and said “just say that to me one more time…….”
I raised my fists as well, though I admit this was largely for my own defence cos I knew if he snapped and ripped into me I’d get a pasting. Mind you, I was so angry myself I was up for a scrap just to settle things.
But ……. we both held off and went our separate ways.
The following morning I was in the office before him. When he arrived he checked that I was there and we were alone, then threw his jacket in the vague direction of his desk and came towards me. Shit, I thought; this is gonna be nasty.
But when he got close he said “sorry about last night, I reckon we were both pretty out of order”. I hastened to agree with him and we settled on one of our occasional manly hugs.
However – and I’ve no idea where this came from – I didn’t totally release him but heard myself say “I love you man”.
There was a fleeting silence as he pulled away from me and then, looking me directly in the eyes, he said “I love you too …. you awkward little fucker”.