165/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ve never been a guy’s guy. And I’m 50 so that’s definitely not gonna change. I basically shied away from hanging with the guys when I was younger given that I was bullied by guys physically so it was just easier on me to not have any contact with the same gender lest I be fooled into trusting and then being made fun/beaten up. I’ve spoken in these posts about how I gained confidence towards the tail end of grade 12 and the first years of university. This was a very strange time for me. I was shedding the fat that haunted me during my childhood and teen years and I was coming into my looks and started getting positive attention from people in the newer situations I was in (university, part-time jobs etc). I was very wary of this attention as I did then (as I still do now) think of myself as that fat kid inviting negative attention to himself. I mean, being put down for so long, I didn’t even know it when someone was making a genuine attempt at befriending me as I always assumed there was an ulterior motive. This was the case when I was working at Bootlegger. There were about a handful of young men my age who were also employed there. Guys who – in my estimation – had it all: girls fawning over them, looks, style, charisma and charm. I was secretly in awe. Then I got asked to hang with a bunch of them one night after work. I didn’t take it as a compliment or an opportunity to have a good time – the skeptic in me thought this was some type of trick and was trying to figure out their ulterior motives. I don’t know what it was in me that gave me the courage to go but it turned out to be a great evening. Yes, it took me a while to get over my hesitation but after realizing that they were genuinely interested in my company and not use me as something to entertain themselves by, I let myself slowly open up and trust. I never became lasting friends with any of them but during my time at Bootlegger, we were friends and that was the start of gaining my confidence with males that I never had. Thanks to those Bootlegger boys, I was able to start working on my social awkwardness and gain a greater degree of confidence in who I was as a person that has directly affected who I am today – no problems hangin’ with the boys now! Cheers to you Bootlegger boys wherever you may be as you made me!