I’ve noticed this for some time, and been mulling it over. Once I got married, it no longer became okay, apparently, to hang out with me, if you are a man. My male friends just kind of vanished into the sunset. I miss them.

Back in the day, when I worked for the park service as a seasonal, there was always a big gang of us who would go look for hot springs, listen for elk bugling, and sleep under the stars (yes, we were pretty wholesome). As time went on, and we got suctioned off into “real” jobs, I still could count on some platonic male friends. They would ¬†help me fix my car, go on a hike, play racquetball. But then I got married. And everything changed.

I don’t think, perhaps naively, it was because they thought they had a “chance”. There were never vibes like that–it was more like being one of the guys. Sure there was the odd fellow who clumsily said he liked me once and I replied with a cringeworthy, “I’m flattered”. (I was twenty-something, sue me.) ¬†Instead, I think it’s some kind of guy code, as ridiculous as I find it. My husband is not a jealous man, so that does not explain it.

And honestly? I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling up Todd or Brent and inviting them anywhere without their others. Maybe that’s why the guys have backed off–a territory thing, or not wanting the spouses to think, man on the prowl? I don’t know. Last week when I went to help with a ski area maintenance day, I dragged along a female friend because I knew the rest would be all men–and it felt weird. So maybe it’s my own hang-up as well.

At any rate, it seems like the friends you have together as a couple or have had in long standing can weather this, but not all. I sometimes get the impression I am supposed to just hang with the ladies. Which is fine, but men bring something to the table I miss–faster paces (not always, don’t get upset here), less jockeying with emotions, fine with saying how they feel about doing something.

I don’t know. Am I crazy, or has this happened to you? Let me know.