The next paragraph is from a piece I just sent in for this week’s Floyd Press. I started researching the evolution of friendships in America, but as is often the case, the piece turned to a personal reflection of how we make and keep–or make and lose–friends, and how our culture makes that more difficult for some than for our own good it ought to be. What are your thoughts and experiences, guys and gals, about friendships male to male versus female to female?
“Everyone’s “social capital” is down these days but that is no solace that my circle of friends took in so few between high school and retirement. I wonder: is it any easier for girls and women to bring other females into their sphere of confidence and trust than it is for males? Has our homophobic, cocooning, driven and competitive culture taken permission from guys to say and show they care about other males any place than foxholes, or on any other basis than as drinking buddies, golf partners or because they root for the same football team or race car driver?”
Sorry about the odd illustration for this post, I just happened to find the scanned snapshot in the archives. Date: 1997, my first year in Floyd. Place: the medical office of my nearest referring physician (in what is now the Edward Jones office and was long ago a pharmacy) and first and continuing friend in Floyd County, Dr. Joe Baum. Occasion: my first summer in town, I needed a small growth removed from my back.
Ever the practical joker, when I entered the procedure room with some consternation, there was an instrument tray complete with wire cutters, bug spray and a few other primitive and barbaric instruments of quackery. You shoulda seen my eyes. Then, of course, we had to ham it up for pictures so we wouldn’t forget. Trust me: never did.
Joe was our first friend in Floyd. We don’t see him as much as we wish we did, even though he lives just a few miles from town. We probably should worry less about intruding in their busy lives and drop in more often. Where does one find the rules on maintaining a friendship in a realm and time where folks are busy and value their privacy?