Monday, June 20, 2016

Do Guys Have Guy Friends?

Friendship is very important to me and I have many friends.  Sort of.  Most of my friends are women; some are former lovers but most were and are truly ‘just friends’.  My closest friends are scattered across the globe, from Wisconsin to Louisiana to Colorado to Hawaii to England. 

When I say ‘sort of’, I mean that I do have friends but few are the kind of friends that are close like family.  That’s my take on it.  My GF says I have a lot close friends, the kind you could call at 2 in the morning if you needed help with something.  I’m not so sure.  Fortunately, I haven’t had that kind of emergency or crisis.

But what about guy friends?  I don’t engage in the usual male bonding activities like football, basketball, hunting, fishing, bar hopping to pick up girls … you know, stuff like that.  I do like to watch sports and have been to baseball and basketball games with guys.  I love music and occasionally go to a concert with a guy or two.  I’ve developed a few male friends at my neighborhood wine bar hangout but I am usually there with the afore-mentioned GF, so my friend connections there are more couples friends.

Friendships between straight male friends do typically run along a different path that female friendships.  I think it’s a cultural thing.  Male friends can be close like brothers but I see less of that than sister-like friendships.  Parents are significant role models and I recall my Dad being somewhat of a loner.  He was close to family but I only remember him having two male friends and he outlived both of them.  Their friendships were centered around hobbies like carpentry.  I had three male high school friends and we went fishing and bicycling together, but I’m only regularly in touch with one of them now and our lives have taken significantly different paths over the decades and we live 1200 miles apart.

I seem to be whining about this, but I’m not.  My own self-analysis tells me I haven’t done much to develop close friendships locally, even though I’ve lived in Maryland for a couple of decades.  I thought I had several friends when I lived in Baltimore, only 40 miles from where I currently live, but those relationships are more about the past than the present.  I am in touch with three or four but have spent very little in-person time with them.  It’s not all on me; they didn’t do all that much to stay in touch either.  Part of it might have been the result of me being married to a fairly unsociable woman for a long time. 

So what is my current friendship building status? I’m writing this in the beach house I mentioned in an earlier post.  There are three couples here.  The other two couples are friends of my GF and so they are now in my circle of friends too.  But close friends?  Hard to tell.  Our biggest bonding is spontaneous music trivia, which I guess is a good place to start.

All of this gets me thinking about my high school friend Jim, the one I am still in touch with.  He and I met as a result of alphabetical seating in high school; our last names start with L.  We became close as we navigated the typically turbulent teen years; we discovered girls together and frequently compared notes and discussed the mysteries of the opposite sex.  We went fishing together, watched TV shows, discovered bourbon and beer, double dated, solved all the world’s problems through hours-long conversations.  As I mentioned, our lives took significantly different paths after college and even more so after I left Louisiana.  I have never had another male friend like that.  Maybe it is because I moved to new cities every few years, maybe because most of my friends were work friends who also moved around a lot.  We just didn’t spend the time or effort to get close.  I don’t know.

I realize this post is going nowhere.  I’m mostly just thinking out loud.  Thanks for reading my rambling.  I think it’s time for another cup of coffee.  One more day at the beach!  Yay!

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