Seinfeld’s Searching Too…

Men and women have different friendship needs.  This is not new information. The way psychologists explain it, men engage in side-to-side relationships—watching sports, playing video games—while women crave the face-to-face kind. According to these rules, my search—the hunt for a nearby BFF with whom I can share the minute details of my day-to-day and call every five minutes because I remembered just one more thing, but also someone I can cry to over french fries when I’m having a bad day and don’t even know why—is very female-centric. If I take the psychologists’ word for it, and I do, approaching friend-making as I might dating—Is this outfit ok? Should I call the next day? Did I drink one glass of Pinot too many and share embarrassing details of my crush on Jeff Probst?—is super girly.

A few nights ago I was having trouble sleeping (insomnia is a recent development I’m none too thrilled about), so I turned on an old Seinfeld episode. It was the one where Jerry meets Keith Hernandez (lets go Mets!). I’m lying down, half-asleep, when I hear this exchange:

Jerry: It’s been three days and he hasn’t called.
Elaine: Maybe you should call him
Jerry: I can’t…I cant.
Elaine:  Why not?
Jerry: I don’t know. I just feel he should call me.
Elaine: What’s the difference?
Jerry: You don’t understand, Elaine. I don’t want to be overanxious. If he wants to see me, he has my number. He should call.

I pop out of bed. This is me! The scene continues with the typical Seinfeldian banter, until Elaine finally tells Jerry that “he’s a GUY!” This making-friends-as-dating shtick continues throughout the episode—Jerry worries if his shirt looks ok and delivers a spot-on monologue about making friends in your 30s—and suddenly it occurs to me that maybe what I’m doing isn’t as girly as I thought.

A more recent pop culture example of man-dating is I Love You, Man. Paul Rudd’s character, who’s never had a male BFF, is getting married and goes on the hunt for a best man. He eventually makes a great choice, as I would befriend anyone played by Jason Segel, aka Marshall Erikson.

So here’s the question: Is the need for a BFF, and the difficulty of finding The One, actually gender-neutral? Or do TV and movies spotlight bromances because the fact that they’re womanly makes them funnier? I’d venture to guess that more men have found themselves in my shoes than would like to admit. The relationships may be side-to-side, but that still takes two. Larry David wrote that Seinfeld episode, after all, and  I’d bet he has plenty of trouble.

6 Comments

Filed under Everything I Know I Learned on TV, The Gender Gap

6 responses to “Seinfeld’s Searching Too…

  1. Alex

    That is one magic loogie

  2. I’d guess that they’re gender-neutral. Maybe with the guys it happens more often as an offshoot of their spouse/girlfriend’s bff? As in your bff’s husband might end up being your husband’s bff? Hm, this is getting complicated!

  3. Jesse

    i think you’ve touched upon an important distinction here. the goal of finding legit friends – particularly in new and unfamiliar places – is very real, regardless of gender, age, background or anything else. this, however, is not to be confused with the expectations of what friendship entails, which i believe does vary. gender, though, is just one factor among many that influences what we hope to gain from friendship. culture and tradition are strong determinants as well.

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  6. I as a single male find it hard at my age to find a friend. I am 42, disabled truck driver. That was one of my biggest problems, being an over the road truck driver. Never enough time to do anything. I get home for 3 days a month, take care of my needs, bills, and house. Then back on the road.

    Now that I am no longer on the road due to accident. Living 18 years on the road and never having true friends that you can hang with, do things with or talk to.

    I love the vehicles i buy, and take good care of them. A new car wash/detail shop opened in my small town, so I went to check it out. There was a woman there, and they were not opened (closed Sunday’s and Monday’s) this was a Monday. She was very nice, and VERY talky like I can be, (yes even a man can talk for hours). So I started taking my Tahoe there to get washed and cleaned inside and out.

    I became friends with the couple. One I get a woman who loves to talk as much as i do about things, and she is into doing vinyl graphics, I love computers, and I get a man to talk man things with, joke, poke, banter and what not.

    A lot of times I do not consider myself a typical man. I love talking to women. Growing up when I lived among my family, I hung out mostly with my female cousins. I had always had all kinds of fun with them. I would also spend hours on the phone with them.

    Yes, i am straight, I do have a girlfriend that our relationship has been blooming over a period of years. We also talk for hours and call each other our best friends. We’re also amazing lovers together.

    So after meeting this couple and becoming friends with them, I have been meeting other people that hang out at the detail shop. Like male owner of the businesses brother.

    What I look forward to the most now is when my lover moves in with me and enjoys the friendships I have made. Also worries me though if they will hit it off as good as I have.

    Any suggestions on the last part of this?

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