Why is it that very few 30-something women I know have real good guy friends? Not guys who are married to our girlfriends, or our husbands’ buddies who hang out at the house but real friends. Guys who share interests and passions. Who we connect with and enjoy just as much as our very best girlfriends. Guys who we have a relationship with that is independent of our spouses or partners.

Is it just me who is missing this?

When I was in college, I had a bunch of male friends. In fact it was my gang of guy friends with whom I often felt most myself. Whether it was staying up in the pub arguing about politics, hanging out listening to music in the dorm, whispering across a table in the library, or brewing beer, I felt truly at home with my male buddies, accepted in a basic earthier way. While I put on my best face for all but a few of the girls I knew, with the guys it was always a little bit more real. I let down my hair with them. With them I felt I could really live in the moment and not be judged.

I relished being around their differentness. They had a fresh (although sometimes simpler) perspective on the world–a perspective I often found to be just what I needed to get out of my rut. They taught me to love the game of hockey (or football or baseball depending on the season), David Letterman and Martin Scorsese. They taught me to mix drinks and play raquetball. In their ruthless world of jokiness I learned to hold my own, push back, sharpen my ironic wit.

Those guy friends of mine were able to immediately weed out the jerks I was dating and didnt dance around, trying to be polite about it either. And when I didn’t listen to their advice, they were able to hold me and let me cry in a way my girlfriends never quite could.

But now in this phase of my life, all that is changed. I have noticed that the only time I am socializing with manfriends is when I am getting together with couples. The only men in my social life are girlfriends’s husbands. If I am not surrounded by his-and-her pairs then it is because it is ladies night out, an evening with a girlfriend or two. I don’t really have deep independent friendships with men.

Partly this is because I have happily, yes, I have grown into mature female friendships. Friendships based on the shared bonds of mothering, of nurturing or of hitting/breaking through the glass ceiling. These are now the friendships that nurture my soul. I am blessed to be surrounded by a community of wise and interesting women with whom I connect at a deep level. I wouldn’t trade this beautiful female connectedness for all the beer in Wisconsin. But I have to admit, I kinda miss having close friendships with men.

This really hit me the other night when my dear friend Jackie and I ended up kicking back with some neighbors. She and I had planned on just having a glass of wine on her front porch but we had been spontaneously invited into the end of a dinner party just down the road. One by one various spouses peeled off exhausted and we were left sitting up in the backyard with just a couple of the guys. We stayed up late in the night talking about guitars, music and dogs, marriage and raising kids, local politics and why hockey might possibly be the best sport ever. Something old and comfortable from my past bubbled up to the surface and I felt nostalgic for my old male friendships.

And I found myself wondering…why is it that so many of us fall into purely same-sex friendships during these childbearing years? Is it truly because we identify so strongly with the experience of other women? Is it because the possibility of a deep connected relationship with someone of the opposite sex who is not our partner feels somehow disloyal or maybe just a tad strange? Do we avoid these friendships because of a taboo or because we really don’t have much in common anymore?

I found myself wondering…when and why do we let our friendships go? Is it because in the blissful period of our relationships with our partners that we no longer feel a need for that kind of connectedness? Is it simply more convenient and easy to socialize as partners? To segregate by sex?

At this point in my life, I long to have a few good guy friends back. As a single mom with a boy, I need someone to help translate his seemily odd behavior to me. I don’t want to count on men that I am dating to help me through the magical world of boys–to help me find little league teams–and give me advice on teenage boys. In fact as I begin to think about dating I want to keep that part of my life separate from my life as a parent. Perhaps it is because I am starting to consider venturing into the scary world of dating that I long to have the safe haven of platonic friendship as a touchpoint. A pal to hang around with with none of the drama of sex attached. But I dont think it is that alone.

I wonder, am I the only gal in town who finds herself looking for Mr. Good Friend?

Water Garden at Blarney

Water Garden at Blarney

This week I have started in at my new job.  Its exciting to start something new and comforting to return to work with my mentor and good friend and a team who knows and loves me.  After two years out on my own, it feels like coming home.

I have a new office to call my own and have been thinking this time around about setting it up deliberately.  Too often my workspace just looks like a big table covered with papers–all chaos, no calm.  Its no wonder that some days I can barely think.  This time I am vowing to use good habits–to keep my space clutter free and to decorate it with peace of mind in mind.  This new office, this beautiful blank canvas is a perfect opportunity to pull out my feng shui books and focus on how to create and environment that will support me.

The East is the direction of new beginnings, of family harmony and of health.  Because of where I am in my life it is the part of my office where I am focused.    I love the idea of placing objects with intention.  This thing here is here for a reason.  Its a little subconscious reminder of what you want from life. 

The energy in the east is associated with wood, with growing things, with new life, new beginnings.  It is the direction of the dragon, my all time favorite mythical creature.  

Here is a little list of things to use to activate the chi in the eastern part of a home of office

to welcome and celebrate new beginnings.  Its what I plan to do.  Not all these things need to be done–in fact, less is more.   This is more a menu to pick from, a list of all the lovely possibilities. 

  • Green green green.  My favorite color.  The color of growth, of trees, of spring.  So so lovely.  Get green color on the walls, green pictures, green items.  Some green in the east to generate growth.
  • Blues too.  Water helps nourish plants and water energy helps nourish the wood energy of the east.  Maybe a picture of still water.
  • Live healthy plants.  Young spring like plants.  Broad leaved plants.  Ferns or peace lilies.  Any kind of plant.
  • Things in groups of threes.  Three is the number the Chinese associate with the east.  Three plants would be lovely.  Hmmm…
  • A dragon.  A picture, a statue, a small jade little guy.  Any kind of dragon–it doesn’t have to be a Chinese dragon. 

My mind is a flutter with all the exciting ideas for how to decorate my eastern wall.  How I can look east and celebrate each new day and every new beginning in my new exciting job.