Manly-Man ManFriend

3 06 2012

Boyfriend. What a stupid word. A male you are in a relationship with but to whom you are not married. Boyfriend. Ugh, so stupid.

I can’t exactly pinpoint why I hate this word. Maybe because it makes no sense to be. After high school, despite their immaturity, “boy” is not a correct label for most dudes. And “friend” – doesn’t the very definition of the term “boyfriend” imply more than simple friendship?

Well, despite time and again assuring you I don’t write about my significant-other-to-whom-I-am-not-married-but-am-in-a-serious-relationship-with, I am succumbing to my own selfish heart and writing about him all the same. Yes, this is a story of our most recent out-doorsy adventure, but this post is really about him. What warrants such a lapse in my usual avoidance of discussing my own relationship? Because he’s gone, that’s why, and I miss him and I’m lonely and he won’t be back for a week yet, meaning he likely will never see this post so he won’t read all the things I have to say about him. That’s why. And it’s my blog, I can write about whatever I want to!

Ok, now that I’ve justified my topic to both of us, I’ll get to the story. This particular hike actually happened last weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, and Justin had to work. (I’ve been calling him “J” in my posts because I thought he would appreciate the attempt at anonymity, but he’s not here, is he?)  Like last summer, I signed the necessary paperwork to be a volunteer with the Forest Service, so I got to go. The trail he needed to hike that day would most likely need some TLC that only a chainsaw can give, and as a safety precaution, no one can operate a chainsaw alone. I was his safety check.

Remember my adoration of the forest from our hike up Lost River? Well, this was basically the same forest, as we were just one valley over, heading up Reynold’s Creek. So I loved it just the same. And we really didn’t have all that far to go, a short day since our friends were coming in from Seattle later that evening. However, I was promised some crazy-cool waterfalls – my favorite!

When we arrived at the trailhead, I readied my gear while Justin talked to campers. I made sure no one was looking and checked my self out in the truck window. Let me just say, I looked like a bad-ass. No joke. Good hair day, black t-shirt, pack on my back like I meant business, and sealing the deal – an axe slug over one shoulder. Bad to the BONE.

Justin, as usual, was a step or five above me on the ladder of bad-assness, with his much-larger pack carrying way more stuff, his snazzy and intimidatingly official uniform, and of course the chainsaw. Whatever, I still strutted my stuff up that trail, just daring the trees to fall across the trail so I could whack ’em apart with my mighty axe.

Hiking along, I watched Justin’s back. He shouldered that chainsaw like it was nothing. And his uniform really does give him this air of authority. Then we came to the first log blocking the trail. A fairly small log, but one that needed to be dealt with all the same. I whipped off my pack and pulled out my gloves, thinking I would get to swing that axe I’d been hauling around. Before I even had both gloves out of my pack, Justin was in position, telling me to get my earplugs in.

Oh, right, we weren’t in the wilderness, and we brought the chainsaw to use, not just look cool. I stood back a bit, stuffed the plugs in my ears, and watched as Justin yanked the cord and the chainsaw revved to life. Bracing himself, he went to work. Within minutes, he had cut the log in pieces that were easily rolled away to clear the regulated width of trail. Repacking his tools, he was ready to go again before I had my unused gloves back in my pack.

Right, I’m just supervising, I knew that. Before long, we came upon two more logs, one fallen straight across the path, the other at a dangerous 45 degree angle, caught in the trees on the other side of the trail. This would take longer, as the diagonal tree would need careful handling. So I settled on a rock with my trailmix where I could help watch for falling limbs and such, but be out of the way of danger. And I observed.

People say women tend to fall for men similar to their fathers, or father-figures in their life whom they admire. I totally believe this. My dad and brother planted opinions in by brain as a young girl of what a “man” should be like, and so naturally, that’s what I look for in a dude. “Manly” in my opinion is the rugged, outdoorsey type, like the Marboro man or Clint Eastwood. You know the type. Strong and capable, they always get the job done and done well. They are (usually) well-mannered but rarely show emotion and certainly don’t waste words on nonsense like “feelings”. Okay, Justin isn’t exactly like a John Wayne character, but he does exemplify “manliness” as I was taught it should be.

I mean just look at this:

forest ranger clearing trail Okanogan National Forest

What a beast!

Then came the tricky part:

forest ranger safely using chainsaw Okanogan National Forest

Working on the tricky tree – glad he knows what he’s doing!

I don’t worry about him, because I know how he is. He’s a stickler for doing things the right way, and if he’s going to do something he’s going to do it well. (This is super awesome since I don’t worry well…) Don’t these pictures just scream MANLY?!

There’s another part to being manly that a lot of people seem to forget about: how to treat a lady. I’m not much of a “lady” – I’ll be the first to admit it – but I feel more feminine in the presence of all that manliness. He’s sweet to me, bringing me wildflowers, helping me with the dishes, asking me to volunteer for the Forest Service so I can spend more time with on the weekends. Things like that make me miss him like crazy when he’s gone. But he’s gone because he’s on a 9-day back-packing trip through the Pasayten Wilderness – off being manly.

I never did get to use my axe that day. I should be grateful all the hard work was left to my man, but I felt my bad-assness slipping away from me. I finally got to help clear debris from the trail and got my shiny new gloves dirty. We stashed the chainsaw on the wilderness border, since there was no point carrying it where we couldn’t use it, and I really felt lame without my axe. But the roar of the swollen river below us soon directed my attention elsewhere AND I was rewarded with my promised waterfall. Justin and I ate a lovely lunch on the bridge at the bottom of the Beauty Creek waterfall – how romantic!

Beauty Falls in the Okanogan Forest

My sweetie-pie 😀

See why I can’t seem to call him “boyfriend”?? There is nothing “boy” about Justin. He’s my “manfriend”!  My manly-man-friend. My manly-man manfriend!!  😀

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