For the last few days, Iâve been watching my brother sleep, which sounds creepy until I explain weâre sharing hotel rooms on holiday and I rise before he does.
Anyway, Iâve been waking early in the morning and watching him with a dumb grin on my face, his ridiculous sleeping poses and sounds that are so familiar to me after all these years.
âI love you!â I sing-song at him when his eyes slowly flutter open.
âThatâs great,â he says before turning his head away. âNow f**k off.âÂ
Five-four-three-two-oneâŠ âI love you too,â he adds, as he has done for the last 40 years (almost).
âBut seriously, f**k off.âÂ I canât help but beam some more.
Obviously, I love my brother (as well as our elder brother), but my love for our male counterparts doesnât stop there. I love men in general.
I realise this could be quite an unpopular opinion in the face of all the man-bashing Iâve been reading lately, but I love just about everything about them.
I love how they tell you what they really think â even when you donât want them to â and I love how they give practical solutions to problems youâre experiencing rather than just talking about feelings.
I admire how simple things are with guys.
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Thereâs no denying you always know where you stand and what their thoughts are on the guy youâre seeing, the work youâve started, or the âdumbâ dress youâve turned up to dinner in.
Thereâs no confusion, no backstabbing, no gossip or word shovel that gets placed in your mouth, making it seem as though youâve insinuated something you canât recall saying in the first place.
If I want to get to base level, I also love how they look, smell, put shelves together, lift heavy things and everything else I donât want my parents reading.
Letâs just put it this way: Iâm a huge fan of men. I think more of us should be.
It probably wonât surprise anyone to learn I grew up the only girl in a family teeming with males.
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Nothing but brothers, male cousins, lots of uncles â so much so that I grew up a tomboy, completely unaware of how a girl was expected to act (and letâs not kid ourselves here â there was definitely an expectation back in the 80s).
By the time I was in high school, most of my friends were male and we would spend weekends building billycarts and bandaging each other in mosh pits.
Itâs not that I didnât have female friends or crave them, itâs just that most of the time I didnât understand them. Why did they say they were fine when they clearly werenât? Why did they hear things I didnât say, but they believed I said because of the tone in which I said the original thing? Why did they cry so often?Â
I was left confused by them and leant in closer to my male mates with whom I always knew where I stood.
As I got older, got married and started a family, I came to rely on men even more.
When I struggled after the birth of my firstborn, it was my male mates who rallied around, taking me out for dinner and telling me jokes until my mood lifted.
When I suffered two miscarriages, they appeared once more to paint my house, move furniture around, and yes, take me out to dinner with more bad jokes (now they theyâre mostly dads themselves, the jokes have gotten much, much worse).
And whenever I go through a rough patch, the phone continues to ring with offers of babysitting, nights out, more jokes and simple but oh-so-effective, âHow are you really doing?â
They donât need to ask what weâre thinking because all too often they know, they care and they want to help. They just wish we could meet them halfway.
This isnât a piece to bash women. I think theyâre pretty great too, but I do believe men get a pretty raw deal in the press with little positive feelings being thrown their way.
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Yes, there are horrible men out there, but then there are plenty of horrible women too and sometimes, just sometimes, we need to slap our brothers, partners and mates on the back and say, âYouâre freakinâ amazing and I value you.â
They may tell you to f**k off, and they may laugh maniacally until you regret your words, but thereâs every chance theyâll come back to you when no oneâs around and say, âI think youâre freakinâ amazing too.âÂ