The Not-Husband helps you carry furniture up a flight of stairs, but won’t argue about where to put it.
What is it about men? They’re just like women — eat, drink, sleep, have smartphone addictions — but also not at all like women (there’s more scratching and less shaving of body hair). We don’t need them, per se, but we don’t not need them. In fact, we are better for having them around: they make great partners, whether it’s bonding over a shared love of their Hometown Team or wondering what’s going on with the Outlander people between seasons. It turns out that men are people, too. And we need to celebrate the men in our lives who make up our “guy tribe.” Here are the seven types of guys you need in your life.
Your own. And if there’s not one handy, find a suitable stand-in (grandpa, uncle, coach or mentor, the friend of the family who is the dad you always wished you had). There’s just something about the almost irrational support and unconditional love of a man who sees you as a gift to the family, the church, the team, the office, the state, even the universe at large. It’s not that dad has to defend you — you’re a grown woman — it’s that he wants to because you mean that much to him.
The brother man
Yours or your brother-in-law or your cousin, you get the picture. He’s the man who’s about your age and knows where your skeletons are hidden, but won’t tell anyone. He’s the guy you’re most likely to call in the middle of the night for road-side assistance or to take you to the ER because you think you broke your toe going to the bathroom in the dark. When your own partner isn’t available, this guy is on call. And your Mr. Reliable wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is your best friend’s husband — the guy who makes up one half of the duo you go on double dates with. He’s not a husband or boyfriend or fiancé (one of those is enough to handle). He’s a husband without benefits, by which I mean a husband you don’t have to share your Netflix queue with. He will help you carry a loveseat up or down a flight of stairs. He’ll stand with you while you peer into the non-functioning refrigerator that went dead overnight, and he’ll laugh with you and his wife over a beer. He offers advice as he can, but won’t argue with you about the side-by-side vs. the bottom freezer. That’s what regular husbands are for.
The office buddy
Let’s be clear, we aren’t talking “office husband,” an iffy designation to begin with, unless your office husband is your actual husband. The office buddy is kind of a manly sounding-board. He’s the guy who likes to chat at the water cooler and helps you stay awake during meetings. He’s also got the advantage of having a male perspective on corporate politics. If there’s a boys’ club at your job, he’s the guy who gives you the inside scoop.
The stay-at-home-dad friend
He gets you, momma. He knows when your kids nap and which is your favorite bench at the playground. He’s the SAHD yin to your SAHM yang. In other words, he’ll balance out one side of the seesaw while all five kids (yours and his, collectively) sit on the other side. He’s not the dad of your children, but he’s a dad in the trenches with you and he has a unique and helpful perspective on why your son sometimes acts the way he does.
The modern handyman
If you’re not good with tools or tech or taxes, you may need the modern handyman. I once watched a male surgeon friend stitch up my daughter’s elbow at my own kitchen table. Sure, gals can do anything guys can do, but if you run out of qualified girlfriends with sutures or sledgehammers in their skill set, find a few good men for the job. Stock up on these amiable, modern handymen and remember to pay them in kindness, baked goods, or adult beverages.
The extra helper
Today he’s the waiter who brings your kids crayons while you wait for lunch to arrive at the table. Tomorrow he’s the plumber who has a spare part he’s willing to give you at no extra cost. Like Batman, his identity is less important than the function he performs, namely, going the extra mile to help others. Like the bagger at the grocery store who gives your toddler some extra stickers so you can finish unloading the cart without having to endure a tantrum. He’s the everyday gentleman who surprises you with his thoughtful attitude.
Who’s in your guy tribe? We want to know about all the no-nonsense, no-romance, no-drama men who make your life easier. And if one of them happens to be Matt Damon, well, all the dreamier.