....Is it a male thing? Or a middle-aged thing? Or both at once? My buddies are scattered around the country—Iowa, Houston, New York, Boston, D.C.—and I am apparently in no hurry to add to their number. On Sunday afternoons I watch the Texans on satellite TV with chile con queso and a beer as my only company. I’m not lonely, but I worry that maybe I should be. ...I tried this on a bunch of my "middle-aged" (i.e.: 65 to near 90) buddies; so far no one has disagreed (I do have one "interesting.") I'd add only that in the age of the internet, this pattern may be easier to maintain. I have very few contacts here at home in Palookaville (and those, really through my wife). My last really close friend here died just around Christmas, 2005. Were it not for the constant flow of electrons, I might be motivated to get off my backside and, you know, make some friends. Or maybe not.
I think men, as they age, come to value the history that they share with their friends—their friendships are repositories of memory—more than they value “shared interests” or whatever else it is that draws younger persons together. Not that men don’t look for excitement. Just not in new friendships. And many men, even when tempted by the excitement of new sexual experience, withdraw into familiarity. The prospect of developing a new history with a new wife, and uprooting and plowing under the old history, is horribly unattractive—no matter how good-looking the new woman might be.
Men aren’t lazy about friendship. They are committed to habit. Come to think of it, this also explains why male friends can go months without talking to each other, and yet neither one will feel as if the friendship has lapsed or even diminished.
Friday, September 23, 2011
DG Myers on Male Friendship
I think maybe DG Myers is onto something in his meditation on patterns of male friendship: