In Defense of Being a Guy with a Lot of Female Friends

In Defense of Being a Guy with a Lot of Female Friends

In their “Non-Exhaustive List of Things I Don’t Understand About Dudes,” the PhiLOLZophy bloggers included “only having female friends.” They explain: “This is a huge turnoff. I just wonder what’s wrong with you if you can’t get along with other guys. I know girls who only hang out with dudes because ‘girls are drama’ and it is 100% always the case that those girls are dramatic bitches so what’s your excuse?”

I’ve always had mostly female friends. When I was in first grade, my best friend was Maria Michalski, and ever since then I’ve often ended up hanging out with women rather than guys. How much so? Thanks to Facebook, we can quantify it. Using the bookmarklet that allows you to see which friends Facebook thinks are most relevant to you, I hacked into Facebook’s rank-order list of my closest friends, and out of the top 25, only two were men. So there you have it. Is that a turnoff?

When I was a kid, the choice of which side of the playground to hang out on was obvious. The boys would be tussling in a giant heap, usually with some sort of ball involved, yelling and grunting and scraping themselves against the blacktop. The girls…were playing make-believe! Uh, yes please! That pattern has consistently held throughout my life: the girls are always doing things that are more fun than what the guys are doing.

And they’re girls. Though I was a late-bloomer in some respects, I was a very precocious crusher, and from the start a major part of the appeal of hanging out with girls was that they were so crushable—and, being unaware of the major-turnoff factor, I figured what better way to win the girls’ favor than to actually hang out with them rather than creepily ogle them from the other side of the dance floor? (This isn’t just a metaphor: there was actually a basement party in eighth grade where there was a boys’ side and a girls’ side, and obviously I hung out on the girls’ side.)

Eventually I learned some of the shortcomings of this approach from a dating perspective: as a teenager I deeply identified with a character in a Saturday Night Live skit who finally blew up and told his female BFF that he was sick of being the guy she came crying to after yet another guy slept with her and dumped her. “I want to be that guy, okay?! At least once!” In my adult life, I’ve actually kept my female friends and my girlfriends almost entirely distinct: of the several women I’ve dated, in only one case was there a period of platonic friendship either preceding or following the romantic relationship. Still, I don’t see why being attracted to women as romantic partners precludes being interested in them as friends too.

I also like to be different, as a general rule. I don’t own a car, because who says you have to have a car? I majored in early childhood education, because who says a guy can’t be a preschool teacher? Two of our partner blogs, The Sport Hole and The Party Whip, are written mostly by guys. Who’s the one straight male editor on The Tangential, the “creative writing and pop culture” blog? Of course it’s good ol’ Jay Gabler, hanging out with the girls again.

My dirty secret, though, as a guy who has mostly women friends, is that my closest friends, for most of my life, have actually been guys. Before Maria, in kindergarten, my best friend was Shawn. Then later in grade school my best friends were Nathan, and Pat, and Kevin, and Shawn again. In high school, it was Bob and Ken. Then in college and grad school, it was Dave and Nathaniel and Felix and Eric. It’s really just been in the past few years that I haven’t had a really solid go-to best-friend dude.

So I’m certainly capable of being close friends with guys; in fact, some of those guys I mentioned above are my all-time best friends. But as a general rule, my female friends have always vastly outnumbered my guy friends—and why wouldn’t they? Sorry, guys, but on a case-by-case basis, girls are just more fun.

As for “girls are drama,” well, do you happen to know any guys who are often moody, sarcastic, hot-tempered, overly sensitive, closed-minded, easily excitable, and full of strong opinions that they like to bellow in your face? Yeah, maybe just a few? When it comes to whether or not guys are drama, I’m with Renée Zellweger in Cold Mountain: “They made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say, ‘Shit! It’s raining!'”

Oh, and the PhiLOLZophy bloggers…Sarah and Chrissy. I guess it’s okay that me hanging out with mostly women is a turnoff for them, because it’s pretty unlikely we’d end up dating anyway. We’re friends!

Jay Gabler

Photo by Alex Roob Photography