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  1. #1
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    Default Men of the Forum... Please have a look at this article

    No discussion necessary just have a look.

    Here's the article:

    Men Without Women: Is There A Male Friendship Crisis?

    Male friendship is formed around jokes, favors, and associations -- all things under attack.

    I got a telephone in my room right when “Boy Meets World” was getting big. I saw the characters chatting on the phone daily and mistook a studio cost-cutting device for how friends interacted. So I grabbed the school directory and called up my best friend at the moment, Sean.

    “Hi?”

    “Hey, it’s Billy”

    “Okay…”

    The call was over in seconds. We played full contact 500 on an asphalt driveway the next day with nary a mention of the awkward conversation. Like I said, my best friend. I never realized that the exchange made me more likely to commit suicide. At least that’s what Occidental College sociology professor Lisa Wade says in Salon’s latest men-are-doing-it-wrong column.

    Wade says American men—specifically white heterosexuals—lack the intimate bonds necessary to lead fulfilling lives.

    “The friendships they have, if they’re with other men, provide less emotional support and involve lower levels of self-disclosure and trust than other types of friendships,” Wade writes.

    It’s an observation rooted in experience. Go to enough barbecues and you’ll notice that people tend to self-segregate: Women form circles around living room tables and discuss their feelings; men crowd around the grill, eyes locked on the meat, to discuss grilling techniques.

    It wasn’t always this way, Wade argues.

    Research shows that boys are just as likely as girls to disclose personal feelings to their same-sex friends and they are just as talented at being able to sense their friends’ emotional states.

    But, at about age 15 to 16 — right at the same age that the suicide rate of boys increases to four times the rate of girls — boys start reporting that they don’t have friends and don’t need them.

    That’s also right around the age where boys stop focusing on their friends and start chasing girls in earnest, which could explain why “if a man does have a confidant, three-quarters of the time it’s a woman, and there’s a good chance she’s his wife.”

    Why this is a problem is unclear. Male communication is defined by compartmentalization. When men get together, they talk about things. When they come home from work, they talk about themselves, which is why wives are so eager to get them out of the house.

    The fact that American men lack intimacy probably has more to do with dwindling marriage rates than the quality of one’s friendship. Wade, a Jezebel blogger who writes things like, “relationships are the context for domestic violence, rape and spousal murder,” is probably not very interested in facilitating these kinds of relationships. Instead, she’s out to change the nature of male friendship.

    “To be close friends, men need to be willing to confess their insecurities, be kind to others, have empathy and sometimes sacrifice their own self-interest,” Wade says.

    Bill Cosby addressed this very issue in his Thanksgiving Comedy Central special this year. His car broke down at 2:45 a.m. while returning home from a trip. He called two people: his friiieeend Ed and his wife. Mrs. Cosby shared her insecurities about Mr. Cosby’s substandard auto maintenance. Ed hopped in his car.

    Wade laments that men talk about things, rather than feelings. But it’s not just talk—we do things for one another. Men don’t demonstrate the strength of their bond by saying, “I consider you an intimate friend,” though that may be enough for women. They hop in their cars. The act itself is the expression of friendship, just as the salute conveys respect of rank in the military without verbal confirmation that a superior officer is present.

    Cosby’s friiieeend Ed seems a better pal than the men we see regularly connecting in the intimate relationships that Wade prescribes. They share their feelings, talk through their emotions, relate to their bros how they arrived at their decisions, and bare their souls to one another. They do so without the aid of a football game. We call these men reality television stars, yet another studio cost-cutting device. From “The Jersey Shore” to “The Real World” to “The Ultimate Fighter,” we see men talking about their most insignificant feelings and are revolted, not because it is unmanly, but because the stuff they say is repulsive to right-thinking members of society.

    Wade’s got a solution for this: In order to increase our candor and self-disclosure, we must embrace self-censorship.

    In Wade’s utopia men will open up to one another if we stop saying the naughty words I’ve mistaken for terms of endearment all these years. No more saying the dread homophobic slur “you suck,” if your buddy drops a pass during a game of pick-up football—and, come to think of it, no more tackling either.

    But saying nice words for the sake of saying nice words doesn’t really do it for men. There are plenty of people around to wish me a “good weekend,” but only my closest friends call me up on Saturday and say, “We’re going to the bar tonight. Are you going to be a Paddy or a Pussy?” Wade may have missed the fact that we live in the age of irony, but American men are well aware. We relish the empty insult over the empty compliment, an idea so self-evident that even the TED Talk community picked up on it.

    Contra Wade’s claims, men do not shun intimacy because of masculinity, but because of femininity. We fear women’s judgment more than that of the Lord, which may be why men are 25 percent more likely to censor their Facebook posts than women.

    If we are to engage in Wade’s personal disclosure relationships, we first must feel secure. That is why men have always felt comfortable in clubs, fraternities, and other exclusive groups. Membership implies discretion: What happens at the Rotary Club stays at the Rotary Club, enabling men to open up and speak frankly. While men enjoy access to these types of bonds in, say, college fraternities, these places vanish in adulthood.

    The disappearance began in 1970 when the National Organization for Women decided that the pinnacle of equality was drinking on a floor covered in sawdust. They sued to force the doors open at McSorley’s Old Ale House, a New York City icon that existed for 116 years as an all-male establishment, and won. The battle culminated in 1987 when the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to equality trumped freedom of association and forced the Rotary Club to accept women. Only thirteen cities in the United States have more than four all-male clubs and, with social organizations nearly extinct, feminists have set their sights on the most masculine and tightly-knit club of all: the infantry.

    The erosion of “male space,” as psychologist Helen Smith convincingly argued in her otherwise problematic book, “Men on Strike,” has played a key role in the social isolation of men. “Our culture has steadily made it almost obscene for men to congregate on their own together,” Smith writes. “Men are discouraged and actively made fun of or denied the ability to be in all-male groups by the law and by the disapproval of certain segments of the culture.”

    One thing that never occurs to Wade is that women have an easier time forming intimate relationships because men aren’t trying to elbow their way into their heart-to-heart sessions. Men do not enjoy this luxury in the days of public shaming against the likes of (formerly) all-male Augusta National.

    I have a friend—a close one in fact, but we’d never say that aloud—who no longer goes to bars because he can’t enjoy a drink with Rihanna playing in the background. I had him in mind when I formed an unofficial group of writers called The Drinklings. We congregate once a week at an undisclosed cigar bar, the last bastion of male territory (you can guess the sex of the person leading the charge against these establishments). The night begins with the same regulars, but every once in a while a woman joins us. The nature of conversation changes the second she arrives. The jokes become tamer, the social observations bland, and bar etiquette—paying cash for small tabs, never forcing a waiter to line-item drinks and food for a dozen people, not discarding $15 cigars after three puffs—goes out the window. The proverbial sawdust on the floor turns to egg shells: We’ve banished male attendees for less, but no one knows how to say no to a woman.

    “That’s right, I’m crashing guy’s night,” a female friend gleefully announced when she arrived several months ago. As the marathon meeting wore on, her countenance ranged from unwilling dental patient to suicidal dentist. She soldiered on, relating at every turn of the conversation how much she was learning by “crashing guy’s night.” She left, the sighs of relief visible in the haze.

    “I don’t understand why you’d put yourself in a situation you know doesn’t make you happy for the sake of preventing someone else’s good time,” a friend later said. “I feel like women just like ruining our things. It makes me miserable.”

    The statement had everything Wade calls for in a friendship: He disclosed an honest personal feeling that he wouldn’t disclose otherwise if he didn’t trust those around him. Debate, rather than a boycott campaign, ensued. (Private Conclusion: for a small minority of women, yes. Public Conclusion: how dare that misogynist!)

    Wade may be correct in her diagnosis about the isolation of American men, but the concept of how and why we form tight bonds—jokes, favors, formal association—is foreign to her.

    She thinks masculine social interaction is the problem, femininity the corrective, a diagnosis that has helped to demonize and isolate millions of young boys in American schools. We force-fed the ADD/ADHD/Aspergers/Depressive children—the ones we used to call boys—of my generation therapeutic drugs and now in adulthood, Wade wants to force-feed us therapeutic talk. The nice words may prove even more harmful to male friendships than the ADD drugs. At least a boy could win friends by giving the latter away to classmates cramming for a test—the college version of hopping in your car.

    Wade ends her diatribe against masculinity as any good abusive spouse that’s trying to control a partner’s friendship would: “Man up and make some friends. We can’t do it for you.”

    No, you can’t, but we can do it in spite of you.

  2. #2
    WhoCares
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    I'm not a man nor American. But maybe you should just not give a fuck about societal norms and form the friendships that please you.

  3. #3
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    I'm not a man nor American. But maybe you should just not give a fuck about societal norms and form the friendships that please you.
    If we don't care about societal norms, we don't care, and end up like WhoCares.

    Fortunately I have learnt to have friendships with men. As a little boy my best friend was Frank. I had a good father. And at University I attended an encounter group and learnt to be open and share with the group.

    However little girls learn to make friends and end friendships from the first day they attend school. Their mother asks them when they come home, Did you make any friends today?

    And the little girl also learns all the emotions one experiences when a friendship breaks up. And the mother is likely to listen to these distressing emotions as part of the little girls learning about making and breaking relationships.

    On the other hand little boys are not interested in relationships until puberty, and by then it is too late and the girls have stolen an emotional march on them. And what an emotional shock it is for the young man to experience his first breakup of his relationship.

    And most men never catch up to women emotionally or relationally, so the women treat them as their children or treat them with contempt.

  4. #4
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Reminds me of this one, but instead of women getting in the way of men, it's parents getting in the way of kids:

    If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd—full disclosure, a friend of mine—has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives.

    What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”
    http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/12/ap_thompson-2/
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    No discussion necessary just have a look.
    Why post something here if you don't want discussion?

    My gratuitous $0.02 as someone who is not even a man is that women should take the flip side as advice in their friendships. Hold the gossip, cattiness, and superficial judgments. Don't say how you feel, act on it. Don't be fair weather friends - show some loyalty.

    Maybe the moral of the story is we all should realize there are other ways of going about things, and we can probably learn from them. (I wonder how much of this is T vs F anyway.)
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  6. #6
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    However little girls learn to make friends and end friendships from the first day they attend school. Their mother asks them when they come home, Did you make any friends today?

    And the little girl also learns all the emotions one experiences when a friendship breaks up. And the mother is likely to listen to these distressing emotions as part of the little girls learning about making and breaking relationships.

    On the other hand little boys are not interested in relationships until puberty, and by then it is too late and the girls have stolen an emotional march on them. And what an emotional shock it is for the young man to experience his first breakup of his relationship.

    And most men never catch up to women emotionally or relationally, so the women treat them as their children or treat them with contempt.
    There is some truth in that.

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  7. #7
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    I think there can be the impression on the female end that the world is a good ol' boy's network and we have to make a place for ourselves in it. It is not insignificant that women have had to fight for inclusion in suffrage, the career world, and many other arenas of interaction. So "breaking into" all-male groups could be perceived by a woman as simply being assertive in an unwelcoming world, not disrupting a male opportunity to bond.

    Women desiring to join the infantry is a poor example, though. It's not a social club; it's a vocation. Women just desire the opportunity to serve their country in the same capacity. Plus I am not sure I really understand why women entering a group makes it cease to be exclusive, as there are many other qualifiers besides gender, or stops men from sharing their feelings and creating intimate friendship bonds with men or women. That said, I am in a sorority myself, and understand the "sacredness" of an all-female or all-male space - we support fraternity brothers. (And, on the bright side, the writer is not exactly right about fraternity bonds ending after college - most Greek organizations have extensive alumni networks.)

    Sometimes I think the people (male and female) addressing gender issues don't get that cooperating would go a lot further than framing the other party as the enemy. In this case, the women who are infringing on male space are doing so because they feel shortchanged by men, which is not without a grain of truth, though it is hardly the fault of the men who are living now. These sociopolitical frameworks were set long before any of us were born. It just seems to me that everyone would be better off cooperating so that we can all understand each others' desires and work with one another to achieve optimal balance.

  8. #8
    WhoCares
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    If we don't care about societal norms, we don't care, and end up like WhoCares
    What? Someone who clearly sees when societal rules are unnecessarily limiting and provide little value to our lives. Sure. I'm suggesting that American men maintain the relationships they personally find rewarding rather than trying to force that relationship into either a stereotype of who they should be 'as men' or the type of relationships women think they should have. I wouldn't want a man to blog and suggest that my female friendships should be strictly limited to shopping and gossiping for my own good. That's not how I naturally bond nor is it where I find value in relationships. Some people might be not me.

    Likewise I would expect that men, american or otherwise, would have personal ideals about what consititutes friendship to them and there is absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining friendships on the basis of what provides them with a sense of connection and support, irrespective of what society expects in that regard.

    I never once said societal rules perform no function. But I've very frequently implied that societal rules are not sovereign in all situations and subjects. That's where personal determination comes in to test a rule that may have lost its relevance.

  9. #9
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I don't see any conflict between what the article is saying & what this Wade person is saying, as far as she is quoted. I don't know Wade's entire stance, but I don't see the case being made that "men need to have friendships the way women do in order to get the same emotional support women do from friends". The point is for men to have that support, not to mimic the way women do it.

    "“To be close friends, men need to be willing to confess their insecurities, be kind to others, have empathy and sometimes sacrifice their own self-interest,” Wade says."

    None of that implies it must be talk over action. Nope, not even confessing insecurities, which can be done in asking for help in some action.

    "Research shows that boys are just as likely as girls to disclose personal feelings to their same-sex friends and they are just as talented at being able to sense their friends’ emotional states.

    But, at about age 15 to 16 — right at the same age that the suicide rate of boys increases to four times the rate of girls — boys start reporting that they don’t have friends and don’t need them."


    The point here is that men start competing. It's suggesting the sense of support may be lost when the other person is a competitor (perhaps competing for women). Perhaps that's where all the jabs men may make in jest at each other may stem from...but frankly, I see women make jabs at each other too in jest. The difference is, other forms of communication are not mocked. It's not excluding one form in favor of another, but allowing it as an addition to serve a need not filled.

    Anyhow, the author makes so many stupid generalizations about men & women that it's hard to take it seriously. Women mainly talk about feelings...? Perhaps more than men do, but we talk about "things" too. Sometimes I think men imagine all women do is talk about men, relationships & people. No, we talk about other stuff. We DO things together also. Women may have more talk & less action as ways of bonding, but the point is that we have an emotional support network outside of romantic relationships.

    Having been on the supportive end of several whiny boyfriends, let me say that it does get old to be their main listening ear for their emotions. Of course, one liberally whined & only discussed feelings with pretty much anyone (male or female), but the other could've benefitted from some other outlet. Because guess what? I want to talk about stuff other than feelings also.

    The male club thing seems kind of a minor point. I get that it's illustrative, but it does work both ways. I've been to baby showers & wedding showers where husbands insist on going (why? IDK, even I can't stand them). I assumed they were dragged, until the wife complains under her breath that he couldn't take a hint to stay home. Some people are just idiotic about tagging along to any & all social things & take offense when their personal demographic is not included. It's not too different from those who insist on bringing their dogs & kids everywhere. I don't think this is about women insisting on being in the boys' club so much as individuals wanting to be included everywhere.
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  10. #10
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Mmmm. I see the problem somewhat differently. I think both men and women are increasingly spending less and less time socializing face-to-face and, more generally, in specific groups related to their preferred activity.
    If men are socialized to be slightly less emotionally open and relationship-forming than women, they'll be proportionally more impacted by a generalized decrease in face-to-face socialization. The same reasoning applies even if this tendency is inborn. Couple all of this with a world where people move around a lot, in order to find fulfilling work; add a general difficulty in finding true good friends - you need to be on the same wavelength, have some shared interests, shared humor, and so on - and you may end up in a situation where plenty of men have next to zero good friends.

    It's not clear to me how the article is trying to "shift the blame" on women. Or if it's indeed trying to do such a thing, or not. Yes, some women will try to nag men into "behaving well" when there's a mixed group. I don't think this behavior should be tolerated or welcomed, unless it's jokey. I personally found that plenty of today's women (I mean, around their 30s) enjoy a male-like kind of socialization. If they nag, I don't think the whole group of "men" should comply (as implied by the article).
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