I must confess that a smattering of cheer floats in this third cup of coffee or, more likely, comes via this morning’s Wall Street Journal article called ‘Friendship for Guys (No Tears!)‘
An explanation may be in order.
Allow me to begin it with an uncharacteristically (for a man, apparently) dramatic statement: I have guy friends who would die for me. They’ve never told me so, yet I know this to be true. I would die for them, too. Pardon the whiff of melodrama, these are just the facts.
I have from time to time fallen under the gentle suspicion of having no friends in the city in which I live. I have hotly disputed that claim, in the process placing on the table the observations that I travel much of the time for professional reasons, my best buds do also, and that for people in our demographic the world of friendship is as flat as the rest of the world has become. I have felt most persuaded by this argument, although my conversation partner has not been similarly moved by what must appear before the conventions of female friendship like a clumsy evasive maneuver.
Now comes WSJ, that Purveyor of Cultural Interpretation and Disseminator of Stock Quotes, speaking of ‘rust friends’.
Ah, sweet victory. Herein lieth the (male) truth.
Allow me to pull myself back from the brink of Enthusiasm: the Journal got it quite wrong. My guy friends and I share our feelings deeply and often. Perhaps this is uncharacteristic of that testosterone-saturated half of humanity that we abbreviate as The Men. If I may speak from the heart, circumstances in my own small life have upon occasion required me to speak openly of pain and to weep serially (and genuinely) in the company of men. Not one has turned away, awkward or embarrassed.
Today’s Journal article suggests that, in such moments, GuySpeak turns quickly back to the next shuffle or the next pitch. This has not been my experience, though I do not doubt that it is the narrative of many.
What I find so refreshing in WSJ‘s reportage is the insistence that men’s friendships ought not be be evaluated according to the criteria of the dynamics of friendship that are common—though hardly exclusive—to women.
We have our own ways, our own means, our own manner of exercising that counter-cultural and counter-sanguineal marvel that one labels ‘being friends’.
Evaluated by a grid that appears to represent the other roughly one half of humanity, we men are stunted, cramped, and hopelessly out of touch with our emotions.
Don’t tell that to Timmy, John, El, or Liebs, men who would take a bullet for me. Or, more prosaically, insist ‘Dave, call me any hour, any day. I’ll answer. I’m there.’