Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 1:27 am | Fog/Mist 53º


She Said, Z Said: Does the Art of Manliness Include New Friends?

Searching for the meaning of meaningful male bonding in the age of modern man

She: You’re not exactly a shrinking violet. Some have even described you as the life of the party. So why do you have no friends?

Z: Why are you so mean? I have friends.

She: Any friend you made last century doesn’t count.

Z: Oh.

She: You haven’t made a new friend in over a decade. Maybe two decades. Certainly not since you met me. Really, I’m guessing you’ve never made a friend. They all found you.

Z: Did I accidentally kill your puppy or something? Why are you so mean?

She: I’m not mean, I’m just curious. I make new friends all the time. Work, school, volunteering for stuff, random connections. I’m always willing to at least go out for coffee with a new person, and sometimes those new people become new friends.

Z: You make promiscuity sound like a good thing.

She: You seem like you’re more of a people person than I am, but really you’re not.

Z: I’m a 45-year-old man with a wife and a child. I live in the town where I grew up, and where a number of my childhood friends still live. I think this completely explains why I don’t make new friends.

She: Laziness.

Z: You know I’m lazy, but that has nothing to do with it. Who am I going to go make a new friend with? The mailman? I don’t exactly go trolling at bars for new man friends.

She: Work, school, random connections. It’s not that hard. You meet new people all the time. You could do stuff with them.

Z: I’m happy with the friends I have. They take up plenty of my time, and they’re still perfectly nice. I might even be friends with a couple of them if I met them now.

She: Only if they called you — repeatedly. Which I guess is what they do now. You don’t even initiate any plans with your friends you do have unless I goad you into it.

Z: It would throw off the delicate balance of my social life vs. hiding in my garage man cave if I were to do any of the work.

She: I’d be OK with that.

Z: Besides, I don’t want to give you a heart attack when I tell you that I’m going out for a beer with Frank.

She: Who’s Frank?

Z: Exactly. My fictional new friend Frank. It would freak you out. Which might be kind of fun.

She: I would be thrilled if you became friends with Frank.

Z: No, you wouldn’t. You’d be annoyed that I was out having a beer while you weren’t.

She: I would be thrilled, especially if I liked Frank’s wife and they had a few kids for Koss to play with. That would be great. I can’t wait to meet Frank and Bev.

Z: Bev?

She: Fictional Frank’s fictional wife.

Z: What am I going to talk to Frank about? How exhausting is that, to have to explain 45 years of history when I’m already surrounded by people who know most of that.

She: That doesn’t stop you from repeating it, repeatedly.

Z: Besides, I think it’s perfectly normal for middle-aged men not to make new friends. The only married guy I can think of who still makes new friends is A, and he’s always been hugely indiscriminate in his friend making.

She: Which explains why you’re his friend.

Z: Why does this bother you so much?

She: Because you’re a complete fraud. Everyone thinks of you as this super social guy who’s very friendly and outgoing, but really you’re a cranky misanthrope.

Z: I like some people.

She: Mostly attractive women who in your mind are always so much more interesting and funny than their husbands are.

Z: You’re right. Forget about Frank. I’m going to give Bev a call.

She: Yay! A new friend! Just make sure you don’t go out with her any time this month, ‘cause I’m busy and we don’t have a sitter.

Z: Yes, dear.

— Do married men really stop making friends? Share your thoughts with She and Z by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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