Women. There are so many of them in my life. I wake up next to one every morning, my close family consists almost entirely of them now the men are mainly dead or divorced. And I work at ELLE – an office of 35 strong, brilliant, complicated, kind, ambitious, intelligent, hilarious women who constantly surprise and impress me and make me proud to be one of them.
But allow me to gender generalise briefly, because this is based entirely on my personal experience; women like to talk (maybe that's why there are so many meetings at ELLE). We deconstruct emotions and motivations, we empathise and really feeeeel stuff. And then we talk about the stuff we feel, and that makes us feel something else, which will consequently need discussing... I say this as someone who willingly participates in this and enjoys it. Up to a point. You see the thing about being a woman who has also spent her adult life in relationships with women is that, well, it's a lot of women. And sometimes, I'm sorry but it's true, I just crave the company of my male friends.
All of my closest mates are men. But don't confuse me with one of those awful 'cool girls' who claim that 'other women just don't get me' (before they steal your boyfriend), or a Victoria's Secret model who might say 'all my best friends are guys' to titillate their target market. I think I've made it clear that I genuinely love women. I love them so much I date them! I might even marry one!
My favourite people all have penises because I need this otherness in my life. It's the reason most humans are heterosexual – we're attracted to our opposite. Difference can be tantalising. And I think it's vital, even if you're gay.
After a week of women it's a relief when Friday night comes round and I can call up my boy-friends and momentarily escape the hot mess of oestrogen that surrounds me. Not that these guys are exactly rugged, chest-beating, alphas – but there's something inherently different in how they experience their world and understand emotions and I really enjoy this perspective.
I spent last night at the gym with Philip (the most alpha of my buddies). He's an ex-Marine. We did a kettle bell workout together and exchanged a few words in between rounds . But after a busy day at work I really needed this silence. He could tell I was a little stressed, but it was so nice not to have to explain anything. We had a big sweaty hug outside the changing rooms and I went home feeling a hell of a lot better than I would have done if we'd drunk cocktails and 'talked'.
There's Sam, an art teacher and relentless optimist. Every moment I spend with him is a delight because he is never not ok and he needs nothing from me, or from anyone. Self-doubt, anxiety, depression, are entirely lost on him. We go on long walks together through London and talk loads, but mainly about how great and exciting life is.
Joe is my go-to for a lengthy analysis session, he's a children's book editor and is the most sensitive of the XY chromosomes in my orbit. But he also makes me laugh like no one else and when we're done deconstructing life will take me dancing with his handsome army of homosexual men. There's nothing more fun than cruising a club full of hot guys after a week spent in the company of smart, complex feminists. It's all so uncomplicatedly about sex – it's joyus.
I used to be Ben's wingman at university – we were a popular pair with the girls in the nightspots of Leeds city centre. We've had a lot of wild times together (what happened in Vegas will stay in Vegas) but now he has a brilliant wife who I also love, and a baby boy who I'm besotted with. I went on his stag night, which I have to say beat any 'hen' I've ever suffered through. Despite ending up at a strip club (sorry ELLE).
There are more: Will, Chris, Jesse, Ben and Jack, Ben and Iain, Oliver, Dan, Andrew, Josh... all of them awesome.
The difference is I can't help but be protective of the women in my life. They all need me in some respect and I often feel like I have to be the strong one. My male friends look after me, and even as a lesbian, there's something to be said for having a man wrap his arms around you in a strong embrace.
So if I do ever get married to my girlfriend I won't have bridesmaids, I'll have my boys decked out in a pastel palette of Paul Smith suits (not that I've put much thought into it, obviously), walking behind me with flowers in their buttonholes - my best men forever.