If you grew up with one or more older brothers, you know two things very well. The first is that sometimes boys just genuinely smell like rotten animal carcass, and there is absolutely no explanation for it. The second, and probably more important, is that having an older brother changed the way you see and deal with men, and probably for the better.
Allow me to state the obvious and say that having a big brother wasn’t always easy. He seized any and every opportunity to pick on you, and he probably spent a large portion of your childhood torturing you to no end. (If you think you had it bad, you should know that my brothers once put me down the laundry shoot — and that our house is three stories tall). He told you that you were adopted. He showed you that any household object can be turned into a weapon at moment’s notice. He stole your food. He had a new nickname for you every week, and each one was worse than the last. Boys, especially young boys, are mean. They’re competitive in nature and they love to fight, for reasons we will never fully comprehend.
Despite all this, the years of pranks and bickering are nothing compared to the lessons our big brothers gave us.
When we were little, he gave us a sense of what it’s like to have a sincere friend. Before we were old enough to pick our own lasting friendships, he exemplified a true loyalty that was impossible to duplicate. On the lucky occasion that he allowed us the honor of joining in on a video game or trip to the movies, we were ecstatic. Why wouldn’t we be? He was the coolest person we knew, and even though we fought occasionally, he would still be there to hold your hand when crossing the street or beat up that relentless playground bully who made your life a living hell.
When we got older, these experiences began to influence our own relationships, because we learned exactly how fragile boys can be. One of the most eye-opening aspects of having an older brother is watching him suffer a heartbreak. We don’t always see the guy’s side of a bad break, and that rare glimpse at male heartache gives us new perspective into relationships. Witnessing that kind of pain affect someone we care about so much helped us learn to treat boys with the same respect that they should show us. It made us see that men aren’t always the bad guys; that boys, though often secretive in regards to their own feelings, suffer through the same emotions we do. And boy, do we fucking hate the bitches who broke our big bro’s heart.
Perhaps most importantly, our brothers taught us to recognize how we deserve to be treated by the boys we choose to surround ourselves with. Growing up surrounded by a loving older brother made you realize how genuinely caring, supportive, and just plain good men can be. Every girl has had the awkward encounter of bringing a new boyfriend around her older brother for the first time. He probably gave your new beau a death glare and a harsh handshake before threatening to beat the living crap out of him if he ever treated you badly (and maybe he eventually did beat the crap out of him when things went wrong). But it wasn’t just his threats that taught you to pick boyfriends accordingly; he taught us to expect nothing but the utmost respect from boys because we know exactly how good they are capable of being in first place.
Your big brother was, and will forever be, a rock for you to lean on when things get rough and you experience a moment of weakness. Never miss an opportunity to be his rock in return, thank him for all he has taught you, remind his girlfriend how lucky she is to have him, and most importantly, beat her ass if she ever breaks his heart..