I Am Wat I Am

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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"I like you too, Cecile," he says looking straight into my eyes. "We're great friends, but...that's it." These words, spoken by my ultimate crush, are not what I want to hear. All of a sudden, I am devastated, embarrassed, disillusioned, insecure...and brokenhearted. I contemplate eating all the brownies in the world, blowing up like a blimp, then sticking a pin in my side until I hear the BOOM of brownie fragments and air. I want to plaster photos of me in a two-piece all over his car just to show him what he just passed up.

With these thoughts running through my brain, I go right into my Math exam...and blow it big time. My score: 54 out of 200. For days, I didn't want to go to school, didn't want to do anything. No one could make me laugh. Until he did, bringing with him a box of blueberry cheesecake (which he knew I'd give my left thumb for).

Then I realized what he said was true: we were great friends. And that, really, it was okay to have him as my friend...nothing more. Which isn't depressing once you get over being a hopeless romantic.

Sounds familiar? Chin up, girlfriend! All is not lost. Having a boy bud instead of a boyfriend has it perks: you get a bodyguard/older bro/science tutor/driving instructor/short-notice date/gimmick partner/soul mate without the arguments. And all in the name of friendship.

Buddy Boon #1: He can be your buddy guard.

Perfect if your bud is...a spitting image of Hulk Hogan (meaning he's at least 6 feet tall, 200 pounds) and has an uncanny talent for snarling.

Perfect for you if... you like to frequent crowded places (such as malls) or want to fend off unsavory dudes.

Seventeen-year-old Rissa's best friend-cum-bodyguard is Joey, an intimidating hulk. "When we go malling, sometimes it gets really crowded. I'm small and thin, so it's easy for the crowds to swallow me up," she shares. "What Joey does is he makes me to walk in front of him while he reaches over my shoulders to nudge people away. He instantly clears a path for me to walk through." Rissa shares further about the night the two of them were hanging out at a restaurant in Makati with their barkada. Rissa went to the ladies' room. While walking back to their table, a waiter starts flirting with her. Feeling really uncomfortable with the waiter following her around, Rissa sought Joey out for help. "He was up in a flash and confronted the waiter," she says. "He even got the waiter to apologize to me." Buddy Boon #2: He can be your Big Bro.

Perfect if you're bud... loves playing kuya to the hilt, asking questions like "Did you do your homework?". "Have you had lunch na?", or appeasing you with "You deserve a much better guy anyway." Perfect for you if... you love being pampered with all that caring (who doesn't).

Janelle, 15, is the youngest of five brothers. None of them, though, is more protective of her than her bud Mickey. "Mickey sometimes gets overprotective, but maybe that's okay. Although we're the same age, he's more mature than I am. And he says I need protecting," she chuckles. But the high school sophomore admits she has a knack for getting into dangerous situations. "I once had to take taxi home after a gimmick with friends. Mickey was sick that night so he didn't come along," Janelle recalls. Unfortunately, the cab driver was drunk. "The taxi swerved from left to right and I felt like I was in a movie. "When the driver slowed down and fell asleep at the wheel, Janelle opened the door and jumped out. She quickly dialled up Mickey to pick her up. "He scolded me as soon as he got there" she says. "Since then, he makes sure someone takes me home after gimmicks. And he calls me an hour after to see that I arrived at my house safely." Buddy Boon #3: He makes a great tutor/ driving instructor.

Perfect if you're bud... has the highest grade point average in your (or his) class, or drives really well.

Perfect for you if... you're flunking any of your subjects, or if Dad refuses to pay for your driving lessons.

Eighteen year-old Sherry was doing poorly in Chemistry. She needed a C+ badly to stay in school. Who could she turn to but Mari, her smart seatmate and platonic male pal? "Mari's a playstation fiend," Sherry says,"but when I asked him to tutor me, he cut down his playing hours to help me." Everyday for two weeks, her bud stayed with her after school, going over all the lessons with her. "And he never scolded me for being so dumb." Sure enough, the effort paid off. Sherry got a B+...and a driver's license to boot . "I went to driving school, but Mari let me practice driving his car on the side, and he was always patient. Never on edge or screaming in my ear." Buddy Boon #4: He makes a cool instant date.

Perfect if you're bud is... at least presentable (he bathes and combs his hair) or a major babe. Even better if he's funny, likes to dance and treats your Mom and Dad with oodles of respect.

Perfect for you if... you're happy unattached but needy of a date to a party/school dance/prom or any compulsory social activity.

Lisa's never been one to plan ahead. Her friends are used to this lovable sixteener's flighty attitude. Yet they can't always accompany her on her spur-of-the-moment gimmicks. Her best male bud DJ can"”and does."DJ's as much a gimikero as I am. Even when he's not in the mood. When I ask him to go with me because I have to buy something, he's there. I can always count on him," she says. A few weeks after she broke up with her boyfriend, Lisa found herself dateless for a big party. She was prepared to go solo when one of her female friends called DJ on the morning of the party. Guess what? DJ arrived on Lisa's doorstep that night, punctual and with flowers for Lisa. "He even asked if I wanted him to pretend he was my boyfriend so I wouldn't look so pathetic while my ex flirted with all the girls," she says with giggle, "He was really game. So I said yes." But after a while, she noticed something. "Surrounded by so many girls at the party, DJ forgot and danced with every one of them!" she recalls with a laugh.

Buddy Boon #5: He's your soulmate.

Perfect if you're bud is... sensitive and enjoys long conversations about life, love and the next Freddie Prinze Jr. flick over Mocha Frappucino.

Perfect for you if... you need someone to understand you emotionally (don't we all) "Nick is my soulmate," says 18-year-old Angelica of her best bud of seven years. Although she has dated other boys and even had a serious boyfriend, Nick was still the one who understood her moods and could read her like a book. "Once I was having trouble with a guy and I couldn't tell anyone," she says. "Nick sensed I was stressed about it and offered to talk to me." In fact, Angelica is amazed at how well he knows her. Whether or not their friendship will blossom into anything more is yet to be seen--and neither one is in a hurry or looking for more. "I feel I don't have to impress him like I would a crush," she says. "That's what makes opening up to him so easy... and why he's a very special person in my life. And that I find very, very cool."