They Share More with Strangers in the Restroom

The very astute Jeffrey Zaslow writes in today’s WSJ about men’s friendships.  The ‘nut graf’ as we journalists like to say, was a perfect summation of the column. 

The quote in italics comes from a wife, reacting to her husband’s answer to what five long-time men friends talked about during a fishing trip.  The inquiring spouse asked, “did you talk about so-and-so’s problems at work, or another’s daughter’s upcoming wedding, or a third man’s health problems? “Two female strangers in a public restroom would share more personal information in five minutes than you guys talked about in a week!”The contrast between what men and women want out of friendships was striking, yet rang true in my experience.  One psychologist’s survey found that a third of the men learned something positive from their female friendships, but 25% had negative impressions of women as friends, citing cattiness, too much drama and that women hold grudges longer than men.

The article recounted many examples of men in bonding activities–weeklong camping and ski trips where nothing intimate is ever revealed. The author even went so far as to ask his two-decades long poker buddies the names of his kids, to find that none knew–or cared.

I like the way another pack of men get together. They gather all of their kids and head up to a camp on a lake, so the kids can stay up late, eat ice cream for dinner, and generally revel without mom’s stern hand. Still, I bet they don’t talk about their feelings, even without the wives around.