Growing up, I always considered myself 'one of the boys'. Not because I had any motive to resonate with that identification, that was just how I felt. I was a tom-boy, I was a Daddy's girl and I favored things that were considered 'boyish' to those which were considered "girly".
Fast forward to my twenties and not much has changed, in that sense. Sure, I wear make-up, I love Pumpkin Spice, I became emotionally unraveled during Marley and Me and I wear dresses to EFS if I'm feeling fancy.
I hit all the feminine points where I need to, but I am still often considered "one of the boys". I share in the humor, I'm laid back and despite not being a Leafs fan (sorry), I can talk sports til' I'm blue in the face. I would take beers and a game at Real Sports over the latest rom-com any day.
With that said, I am here to share a few realities of what it's like to be "one-of-the-boys" in Toronto.
1. We Aren't Trying To Make Ourselves More 'Date-able'
I get it. Dating can be calculated and sometimes we can be caught trying to shape ourselves into a more desirable package in an effort to gain the romantic approval of others. Well, in this case, f*ck that.
My love of football doesn't come from my desire for you to like me; to assume my character is an attempt to garner male approval is insane. If you take my twisted humor, my ability to keep up and my no-bullshit personality as a reason to consider me "one-of-the-boys" that's totally cool. But for the love of God, don't take that out of context to assume I'm putting on a show for your benefit while I sweep you in Fantasy this week.
This is who I am, this is who I've always been and I'm damn proud of it. Sure, there may be some Toronto girls who try to cozy themselves in with you and the boys to get your attention, but I'm pretty confident you can identify the real OG's from the fakes.
2. Loving Our Boys Doesn't Mean We Don't Like Our Girls
Honestly, if I hear one more girl who says "I just don't get along with girls, way too much drama; that's why I hang out with just guys" I might throw up. These are also probably the girls who buy their Jays gear from Victoria's Secret. Red flag. I repeat, red flag.
Generally speaking, most girls who make that claim that are probably full of drama. I don't know why it's become the case, but I've heard that line far too many times from girls my guy friends' were involved with and it always went up in over-dramatic flames quicker than the Leafs' chances at making the play-offs.
I will never claim to dislike girls because, frankly, that's a ridiculous generalization to make. Do I like drama? Of course not. Not every girl is dramatic. Furthermore, guys can be just as dramatic whether they openly admit it or not.
I love my girl friends and I love my guy friends. There is no divide, I don't choose my friends based on their sex or how it looks from an outside perspective; I choose them based on who they are to me.
3. We Are Not A Threat To Other Girls
I know a lot of romantic comedies put the idea in our heads that the girl best friend is always the inevitable love of the guy's life (we've all seen Just Friends, ugh) but in real life AKA in Toronto, that usually isn't true.
Just because I can kick it with the guys and they come to me with their problems as they would any other best friend, doesn't mean I am a threat to any love interest in their life. I am not whispering nothings in his ear to urge him to toss you aside; I would never do that unless you did something which would call for that response.
In other words, I assume the exact same friend role that any friend would. So relax, if you're a good person, I will absolutely be on your side. In fact, I am the ultimate wing-woman, if anything.
4. The Over-Protective Big Brother Vibe Is Real
When you become friends with a lot of guys in a strictly platonic, hilarious way, they more or less adopt you as their sister, like it or not. Rolling through the six with my bro's, pretty much.
I grew up an only child, so perhaps my adopted bro's are a blessing, but sometimes they can be a massive (but still beloved) pain in the ass. They are protective, they consider you their responsibility and they will drag you away from a guy they don't approve of the same as any brother would.
Listen, we love you, and we appreciate your unbridled support of our emotional well-being, but let us make our own decisions along with our own mistakes. If things do go wrong at times, just be there to help us pick up the pieces (and help us kick a few a**ses if necessary).
5. Being "One-Of-The-Boys" Is What You Make Of It
Sure, I'll hit up the Bloor Village Goodlife with you, I can arguably squat better than you, I'll venomously defend my chosen teams against yours (Pats > everyone else), I know my craft beers and I have a wicked sense of humor. That just happens to be my personality. While I like being considered 'one-of-the-boys', the definition is what you make of it.
It would be, if anything, antiquated to limit these characteristics to masculine, because our world should be a bit past those barriers by now. Gender roles shouldn't be so rigid, am I right!?
To each their own, everyone is different and our friendships and identities form different ways. We are on equal playing fields now, or at least should be. It shouldn't be a revelation that a female can talk sports or harbor a laid-back, strong and independent personality. No one owns exclusive rights to those traits and you certainly don't have to identify with this persona to be a "cool chick".
I have my (perceivable) feminine moments and my more "boyish" moments, but the end of the day, it's up to you to decide what makes you who you are and how you identify. Just keep doing you.