Let’s hear it for the boy! Nope, we’re not talking about the one you fantasize about walking down the aisle with (or the one you made sleep on the couch last night, whatever). We’re all about those other dudes who make your life easier with their brawn, their blunt advice, their soft touch, or their amazing fashion sense. Here, real Latinas salute the four boys they couldn’t live without.
The Jump Off
This man owes his moniker to Joe Budden, the Jersey rapper who brought us “Pump It Up,” where he talks about how his Jump Off “don’t want nothing on Valentine’s Day.” Yes, this is the guy who you call when you need no strings-attached lovin’, perfect for when you’re in between boyfriends. You don’t like him enough to want a relationship, but you enjoy spending bedtime with him. Tina, a 26-year-old puertoriqueña from Detroit, Michigan, met her JO while heading home from a boring club outing. “The situation works for me because I’m a busy full-time student and employee,” she explains. “He’s a stress-reliever, always delivers the goods and is a no-hassle kind of fella.”
Kasha Brown, 27, a half Puerto Rican, half Black mom living in Norfolk, Virginia, also relishes the time she spends with her JO. But she cautions that you have to be upfront about what you want. “A jump off is only good if he knows what he’s there for,” Kasha says. “You can’t string along a guy who really likes you. It can all go downhill if he catches feelings.”
The Sounding Board
Need to decode what the guy you’re dating really meant when he said he wants to get to know you better? Look no further than the Sounding Board. Maybe he’s a guy who used to like you—but got over it the first time he heard you burp—or a big brother-type (or even your actual brother). Either way, he gives honest, blunt advice for all your man woes, plus he’s someone with whom you can indulge in your love for basketball and trash talk.
Lauren Salazar, 25, of Novato, California, met her Sounding Board in college, and they’ve only gotten closer since graduation. “I really value his advice because he gets where I’m coming from more than most,” she says. “There’s no hidden motives, and he brings out sides of me that my girlfriends don’t, especially my interests in punk music and street art. It’s nice to have such a pure relationship.”
The Main Gay
Not to be stereotypical, but many girls have a gay guy that they love to have around because he is honest and cuts to the chase—qualities that make him a great friend. Lauren couldn’t agree more. “My Main Gay is my work buddy. He’s always the first to tell me if I have lipstick on my teeth before a meeting,” she says. “Plus, we share the same office crushes!”
Twenty-six year old María Elena Cruz López, is also close to her Main Gay. “He is my BFF; I can’t picture life without him. We’ve been friends since kindergarten—long before he came out of the closet. We even dated for a while in high school!” she says. “Even though he lives in Puebla, Mexico (my hometown), we have cyber-dates every week where we talk about everything that my fiancé considers to be boring and annoying.”
Computer on the fritz? Need somebody to help you put together that bed Ikea just delivered? Call the Handyman! María’s Handyman is her roommate, so she has ’round the clock access. “He reaches the top shelves in the kitchen for me, and while he does spend some time fixing stuff, he spends even more time convincing me that the stuff I believe to be broken is working, that the mouse I’m sure lives in our kitchen doesn’t exist and that the neighbor I think is a potential serial killer is just a normal dude,” she says.
Kasha’s Handyman is also her Jump Off, and she prides herself on never asking him to do anything, because she never wants him to think she’s using him. “He always offers,” she insists. He’ll be like, ‘What’s wrong with the TV?’ And I’ll be like, ‘I have no idea.’ Next thing you know, the television is working!”
Lauren’s roommate’s boyfriend is her Handyman. She gets around feeling like a user by treating him to drinks or dinner when he does a good deed. “I’m sure my roommate rewards him in her own extra-special way, though,” she jokes.
-Kenrya M. Rankin