One of the things I love about hanging out with Matt is that he reminds me of how good it can be to just up and act male from time to time. Not burping, farting, or leering drunkenly at females (though that can all certainly occur from time to time), but everything from listening to music, talking, and hanging out, to more specific things like grilling steaks, going to a game, catching a movie, driving for three hours, or stocking an apartment with groceries.
Yep, all the silly mundane stuff from which life is knit. Otherwise known as the important stuff, to one extent or another.
Bear in mind: I have no best friends local to me any more, so this is stuff I haven't really had the chance to do with anyone since I was married, and with a guy since Matt last visited a year and a half ago, or since Tripp was in town several years back.
It's not like there's anything particularly aromatic, loud or swaggering about the two of us when Matt and I hang out, but it doesn't matter: we're just guys, and for once I don't have to apologize for that. There's a different dynamic when, say, grocery shopping alone, and you enter the cereal aisle and there's already pair of women there; from two guys, chatting and BSing about life, happening along the same situation. It's more relaxed; less ambiguous. Or at least it is for me, and that's, I guess, what I'm talking about.
Matt has the immense social asset of not giving a running jump what the rest of the world thinks, and this expresses itself through all sorts of third-order niceties like always having a kind word, a ready smile and a confident handshake without having consciously to remember; like having it cross his mind to pick up some fruit or sammich fixin's (read: healthy food) at a dull moment; like being able to do pretty much anything he wants without a lot (or at least without my level) of annoying second-guessing. And the good news is that it's infectious: I've felt more at ease with myself and life after my vacation than I have in a long while.
Being proud of oneself and approaching the world on one's own terms is a magical thing for those who aren't naturally given to it. I hope Matt realizes what he's got -- or perhaps, like the millipede when asked how he manages all those feet, I hope he never does.