Female friends become distant.
I am male, although not the most masculine. My best friend of more than a decade is female. My closest friend from college is female. I seem to have befriended more girls than guys over my thirty, single years. And it is becoming more apparent with time that I should have had more guy friends.
There is a time in our childhood during which most of us have disdain for the opposite sex, perhaps driven by fear of the unknown or a simple misalignment of interests. Boys will be boys, often together and without the company of girls. But this is not true for everyone. I was a hit with the girls in my early elementary school years, which may have had something to do with the fact that I had my own Barbies and was willing to bring them to recess.
It wasn’t for a lack of shared masculine interests. I played baseball for years, lived on the driveway basketball court, had formidable G.I. Joe and Ninja Turtles collections, and later came to objectify women with the most shallow of them. Although these aren’t appropriate characteristics of masculinity, and it was perhaps my confidence and open mind that resulted in a higher proportion of female friendships. It may be misguided to attribute a lack of male friendships to the abundance of female friendships, but I have no better explanation. And what I have recently begun to realize is that I should have been more intentional about developing lasting bonds with the boys.
There is a void that results from having a lack of bros.
By definition, I’m not aware of all the things that I have missed, but among them:
Someone to play sports with.
Someone to be your wing man.
Someone to compete against.
Someone to bring on a road trip.
Someone to back you up.
Someone to check your ego.
Someone to inspire you.
Someone to annoy you.
Someone to trust.
Someone to push you.
Someone to help you escape.
Someone to be your prospective best man.
That last one brings me back to my contrast of male friends to female. In our dominantly heterosexual culture wherein the vast majority of people will marry, our one-to-one friendships have inevitable limits of both depth and time. You will lose some of your best opposite-sex friends.
I understand that there is a practical inverse relationship between the availability that one can offer to his or her friends and his or her romantic partner. But what I struggle with is the concept that the presence of a newer romantic relationship precipitates the end of a [supposedly conflicting?] platonic friendship. In numerous instances recently, I have found that the friend is seemingly cut out of the life of the newly engaged/married friend. Is this only the necessary outcome if there is a history of romantic attraction between the two friends, no matter how inconsequential? Or is it simply evidence of the fact that there was no real friendship to sustain?
I’m not suggesting that I regret any of my female friendships; rather that I wish I had relied on them less in proportion to possible bromances. Perhaps the obvious prescription is to have more friendships of any kind, but I am hesitant to sacrifice quality for quantity at the expense of depth.
The coincidence of my experience is that while losing female friends, I have gained male friends on a level that I know I had reluctantly craved. I can attribute this, in part, to my own emotional growth and inclination to show [some] vulnerability. I wonder what it might have been like to spend more time with the boys. But I consider myself lucky that, no matter how late, and no matter for how long, I seem to have found the Bert to my Ernie.