In chp 10 of Joseph Epstein’s book, Friendship: An Expose, Epstein asks this question: What are the friendships between males like? What do you think of the following quotations?
First, Epstein observes there are differences between men and women, and I’m not so sure I agree with him:
“Men see themselves as more logical, women as subtler, men as having a surer view of the larger picture, women more neatly concentrated on life’s details. Men drive straight ahead, women are more interested in the view out the rearview and side mirrors, not to mention the sunroof.”
“The primary difference between men and women perhaps has to do with aggression.”
If something remotely like these sorts of things really does distinguish men and women, then his “boys will be boys” chapter moves into what male friendships are like.
Male bonding occurs around similar successes in the world. Athletes like athletes of the same caliber etc..
Men, Epstein seems to think, prefer men because it allows them to be coarse and crude: “Only with men can one banter, use raillery, be heavily-handedly ironic, screw off, and be boyishly, stupidly, happily manly.”
But what distinguishes male friendship, according to Epstein, is reticence.
“Reticence is of the essence in masculine friendship, long has been, and probably ought to continue to be.”
By “reticence” Epstein is speaking of the hesitation of males to “share feelings” and such things.