Do you ever use the words "I love you?" when you're talking with another guy...
I was listening to a national radio program on Friday where these guys were talking about the "guy code". They were making fun of one of the guys who had just said "I love you" to another guy - and said it on the air just like that. According to their dialog, there is an unwritten "guy code" where certain things just aren't done, such as:
1. Never say "I love you" to another guy, even if you do. Instead, say "Luv ya", or "Love ya, man". Saying "I love you" to another guy just confuses him and makes him feel uncomfortable, no matter how close a friend you are.
2. When you hug another guy, make it quick and jerky - don't linger.
3. If you do hug in a more connecting way with another guy, be sure to hit him in the shoulder or slap him around in some way where he knows that you're just friends and everything's cool.
4. When you go to a movie with a guy, don't sit in the "gay seat". The "gay seat" is that seat that you leave open between the two of you, so it's clear that you're still together sharing a movie, but not in "that" way.
Having lived my whole life as a gay in the "guy world" I am very much aware of these and other "unwritten codes". Having not lived at all in the "gay world" I wonder how many unwritten "gay codes" are out there that I just don't know about. My gaydar is severely out of tune and I just assume that no one I know is gay anyway so why even try to receive a signal.
The radio program dialog got me laughing how seriously these men were taking the "guy code" and how much you must be careful to not violate these rules of conduct. As I think about it, I violate them all the time... I don't worry about the "gay seat". I give affectionate hugs to almost everyone, and especially with my closer friends. And I never say "luv ya, man" because it sounds so goofy, though I've noticed among guys just how much that is said and it really is forbidden socially, culturally, in the buddy-to-buddy code to ever allow the phrase "I love you" to escape your lips... why is that?
I like saying "I love you".
In Italian, (besides being much more fluent in the language of physical touch and affection without such "guy code" limitations of expressing affection among friends), as with other romance languages, there are three basic ways of saying "love": 1) piacere 2)voler bene 3) amare. There are various ranges of intensity within each, but there are precise distinctions of meaning within each range of each word. You can really, really, really "piace" ice cream, but you never "amare" ice cream. You can totally "voler bene" a dear friend and mean a deep abiding love, without getting romantic. And then, you can "amare" your partner, your spouse, the Lord.
I wish there were more distinctions with the word "love" in the English language. I find myself, particularly with dear friends, such as Will, or say a fellow saint in a spiritual connection, or with blogging friends that have become more than friends, that I tend to say "I love you... I hope you understand what I mean". I feel compelled to clarify that feeling of affection and emotion with that added phrase. I guess it means the same as "luv ya, man" and then follow up with a slap on the back of the head.
But, as I listened to the radio guys chatting away, I thought of Tim. We don't use those extra words. We don't use the words "with a different spelling or a subsequent clarification, or a follow-up slap on the head. We just say to each other "I love you!"
I like that. Now that he's moved on to another "love", I am desperately seeking my next friend where I can say with no appendages - "I love you!" Where are you? I need to find you!
I wish we didn't have to have "guy codes" or "gay codes" (whatever they may be - can someone please give me some enlightenment so that I can be a better receiver of these hidden messages I'm obviously missing???). I wish we could just say...
I LOVE YOU!