He sets the standard of how a boyfriend should treat you.
Though I'm undeniably (depressingly) single, I've been in a nearly 5.5-year relationship with a wonderful man. He's devilishly handsome with an accent, a great head of hair, and attitude so sassy that you can't help but laugh.
We met at work — where most couples actually meet — and though we hated our job at the time, we fell in love with one another. His name is James and he's my best guy friend. Or as I like to call him on my iPhone, Instagram, and Facebook, my gay hubby.
When it comes to friendships, his is pretty special to me. Not only is he my favorite travel buddy, but my fellow party planner, one-half of my yearly Halloween costume, and the first person I text when I need advice on what to wear or what to text a guy back.
One of these days, when I say "I do" to a straight man and throw a party, James will be standing next to me, on my side, as my bridesman. He might not be the guy I'll eventually marry, but as far as hubbies go, he'll always be my first love.
So, if you have a James of your own, or a guy friend who makes you feel pretty damn special, here are some things that you forget to thank him for. (Go ahead, text him now!)
1. He makes sure you always feel loved.
James and I are both suckers for hand-written cards. It's old-fashioned and takes a long time (even when we're sending them from two neighborhoods in the same city), but the sentiment is always there. Every birthday, holiday or time when I'm feeling frustrated or lonely, I look forward to James' sweet reminder that I'm always loved, even when I haven't been laid in months.
2. He reminds you of your best assets.
It was James' idea that I dye my naturally dirty blonde hair much darker for the fall a few years ago, and I battled him for ages before finally going under the box. And you know what? He was totally right that it makes my blue eyes more prominent. Now I go brunette every Autumn and it's my favorite look all year.
And when we're out man-hunting together, he's the one who casually says over gin and tonics, "Darling, you could use a little more boob in that outfit." Or when I lost 30 pounds this year and bought new bathing suits, he was the first to remind me how hot I am. Thanks hubs, you're not so bad yourself.
3. He encourages you to let go and live.
When I don't want another drink, I order another round. When I don't think I should be forward, I go for it. When I don't think I'm pretty enough or smart enough, I remind myself that I am. Why? Because when you're out with your gay best friend, the only answer is "yes." And surprisingly, I've never had any regrets about those adventures.
4. He sees you through your bad relationship decisions.
James never liked my ex-boyfriend, and frankly, he hasn't approved of any guy that I've dated since. In fact, his standards for me are even higher than my own at times. When I start talking about some dude, James usually crinkles his nose and is dismissive until the guy proves he's worth the time.
And even when I shouldn't have slept with my ex-boyfriend for two years (whoops), James never judged me. But he did tell me I could do better, and he was (and is) right.
5. He knows your preferred Instagram filter.
And he's often better at editing photos of you than you are. Thanks, hubs; when I'm with you, I look 10 times better than I usually do.
6. He will gladly talk about inappropriate things in public.
Like about that guy you were seeing and finally slept with, and want to dish on all of the dirty details ... yep, James is right there, nodding along and giving you the best advice you could ever want.
7. He's not afraid to give you some tough love.
As much as James and I get along, we're also very honest with one another and hold each other accountable. If there's a guy I shouldn't be dating or a promise I made and should keep, James will tell me what's up, and hug me after.
8. He helps guide your wardrobe and taste buds.
When James and I first met, I was fresh off the boat from North Carolina. He kindly said, "You wear too much color. New Yorkers wear black." I was offended at first — my flowery dresses weren't cute? But now, if you take a look at my wardrobe, it's mostly black, blue, gray and red.
No more prints, and more classics. And when we're picking a restaurant, he'll easily talk me into trying something more refined or adventurous. He has an eye and taste for style, culinary and otherwise, and I'm happy to learn.
9. He's the best wingman.
When James and I travel or dress-up for Halloween, we alternate straight and gay nights. It's fun because we both get the crowd we want and we play wingman/woman for one another. I have to say, he has a knack for picking great ones and a pretty stellar success rate.
10. He sets the standard of how a boyfriend should treat you.
James lived in London for a little over a year, and we decided to meet at Heathrow to catch a flight to Copenhagen for a weekend. It was a whirlwind adventure, and after one redeye flight, another short flight and a night out, James knew I was exhausted.
He not only let me sleep until 11 AM the next morning, but woke me up with coffee with soy milk and a croissant. If my future boyfriend doesn't do that, I can't say I'll love him as much as I love James.