A man and a woman playing video games at home.

As the eldest of three siblings and the only girl, I grew up playing with Barbies and X-Men. I took up taekwondo, enjoyed basketball, and taught myself to play the guitar – all “tomboy” hobbies that somehow made me seem cool to my brothers, cousins, and guy friends. Although I do have a feminine side, I was and will always be one of the boys, and this is what that means for me and my views on being a woman.

There Is No Right or Wrong Way to Be a Woman

What is so impressive about a girl doing “boy” things, anyway? For some reason, having all these hobbies earned the respect of males around me. Growing up, my brothers came to me when they wanted to talk about music, superheroes, and the Chicago Bulls (or the Orlando Magic). When my dad saw that I had learned to play Wonderwall by myself, he immediately introduced me to Led Zeppelin.

My well-rounded knowledge of so-called masculine pop culture and Tito Hits gave my friends the impression that I was also a good – a pastime I once enjoyed and participated in for the bonding. When they called me “cool,” they didn’t mean I was edgy like Shirley Manson. They meant I can rough it and be just as gross as they are, and that will always be a compliment to me.

As “one of the boys,” my uniform consisted of jeans and bootleg band tees, which I wore whenever I was going to for no profound reason. It’s just what you wear when you go to Aysee’s on a Tuesday night. Neither the clothes nor the company ever made me feel less (which means what, anyway?) After all, it wasn’t like I was merely maintaining a façade. I was being myself.

Women Can Have Genuine Male Friends

My friends were my comfort zone. They gave me companionship, fun, and sage advice without needing anything in return. Because of them, I know what it feels like to be a younger sister, a character on Seinfeld, and a passenger princess all rolled into one. The best part? Girl talk wasn’t off limits – it was mandatory. Topics included , work gossip, and all sorts of tea. Because I was always one of the boys, I genuinely believe that men can be friends with women, baggage- and motive-free. 

Just because you’re hanging out with platonic guy buddies, it doesn’t mean you have to neglect . Stay fresh and clean all day with refreshing and cooling products. Start with Sunsilk Naturals Coconut Hydration Shampoo, which cleanses and hydrates your hair without weighing it down.

Next, shower with Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash, a lightweight and easy-to-rinse cleanser that delivers 24 hours of hydration with regular use. Finally, never leave the house without applying deodorant so you’ll stay fresh whatever shenanigans you get into. Use Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Roll-On, which prevents body odor and smoothens your with ¼ moisturizing cream. The non-irritating formula also does away with aluminum and alcohol, making it soothing and gentle on the skin.

Being a Woman Does Not Make You Fragile, But It’s Okay to Be

The phrase “hindi makabasag pinggan” or its English equivalent, “couldn’t hurt a fly,” is always something I think about whenever I hurl a rubber slipper at a flying cockroach. “Does this mean I’m not feminine?” I wonder – and then quickly cease to care.

While I’ve always known that and even a bit rough around the edges doesn’t make me less of a woman, being one of the boys taught me it’s okay to let your guard down and just be. I can’t count the number of times my friends had to adjourn a hangout early to drive home my low-tolerance butt home. Even so, my OOTB card was never canceled – a reminder that friendships are not about gender but people accepting other people for who they are, alcohol allergies and all.

You’ll Always Need Your Female Friendships, No Matter What

Just because someone is “one of the boys,” it doesn’t always mean they only make friends with boys or – and this is the worst stereotype – they hate women. We don't need to justify why we have mostly male friends; sometimes, it’s coincidence. That old trope that “men are less dramatic” is, frankly, tired and done. Besides, we all know it’s not true.

I value my female friends just as much. In fact, I talk to them more. Bonds with guys are super low-maintenance. You can forget about each other for three months or until someone sends a random meme, throws a children’s party, or gets extra tickets to a concert.

On the other hand, while friendships with women can be just as easygoing, we have a pressing desire to update each other on daily life events. There’s a lot more talking than , which works, too. You’ll always need your girls not because they offer a different POV or are more empathetic but because they are your friends. Full stop.

I used to see being one of the boys as a cutesy badge of honor awarded to girls who “weren’t like other girls.” Now, as a grown woman, I realize how that view perpetuates misogyny and ultimately hurts our kind. I am not special for being friends with boys, but I do feel lucky to have them. Womanhood is a complex experience. Heck, you can’t even make friends with the opposite sex without having to write an article about it. Nevertheless, it's a journey I embrace fully, knowing that my boys – and girls – have my back.