I gained a fiance. Then I lost my male friends.
For the first few years of my life, I only had male friends — but today, none of my nearest and dearest are in possession of a Y chromosome.
The thing that changed in those intervening years was not just 13 years in an all-girls’ school. Sure, all that time in gender-specific isolation certainly laid the groundwork, chipping away at my ability to banter platonically with boys and narrowing my social circle to resemble Ladies’ Night at the local.
But the nail in the coffin of my male friendships came in the form of a solitaire diamond, set on a platinum gold band: A single token of my relationship that marked me out as committed to one guy only.
Yep, ever since I got engaged earlier this year, I’ve lost my male friends.
Before you ask: No, I haven’t just put off my mates by getting engaged to a douchebag. On the contrary, the guy I’m planning to marry is not only inoffensive, but gets on with everyone I introduce him to.
He’s not competitive, nor jealous. He wouldn’t care if I grabbed a drink with my old mate from uni, and he’s not the creepy sort to check my phone or get weird over in-jokes with male buddies.
The problem is this: Friendships change, subtly but surely, when you decide to marry — and while I’m finding it easy to gently mould my female relationships to fit my new life, I still haven’t learned to navigate the changing dynamic of my male friendships.
Exhibit A: I used to be all about late-night drinks with my mates — but now have a fiance to factor in.
I now occasionally swap my girly wines for a walk with a girlfriend or a sleep over with my girl gang as a chance to catch up. With my male friends though, there are fewer substitutes: I can hardly imagine my old uni drinking mate coming on the Bondi-to-Tamarama beach walk with me. And yeah, sleepovers with my male friends just seem… awkward.
It’s the same with weekend mini-breaks. While it’s cruisy and fun to grab the girls for a weekend away by the beach, it’s all a bit too cosy to shack up for a weekend with my childhood guy mate. (My fiance may not be jealous, but I have to draw a line somewhere, right?)
Then there’s Exhibit B: One particular male friend that, I realised, must have been in the friendship for the wrong reasons.