Middle aged woman approaches equivalent at coffee the other morning.
“How are you doing, girlfriend?” and assorted pleasantries ensue between two obvious longtime female buddies who might not have seen each other for a while. A nice little reunion.
And the ‘girlfriend’ thing, which has evolved in popularity in recent years sounds to me like an Oprah salutation. Nothing wrong with that. It’s rather sweet and affectionate and captures the nuances of a friendship between two females. More about that anon.
A man would never approach another man with a “How you doing, boyfriend?” For a host of reasons most guys would find such a greeting at the very least, odd.
Males are more basic than that and, whereas female greetings tend to be overtly affectionate in world choices – and men use those affectionate words, too, but only direct them at females – male greetings often include what others might perceive as insults.
“How ya doin’ you old bastard; why you sonofabitch, look who it is; hey, you old asshole; you big shit;” or “Big nuts,” which was the default greeting of an old friend of mine to virtually any male he encountered. “Eww,” some females might be excused for thinking. But, not at all. Those comments are all meant with affection and indicative of a closeness of connection.
Part of my point here is that society allows women to be more overtly affectionate with each other than it grants men. Of men I am speaking only of heterosexual males, they sort of which I am. For gay males I would be presumptuous to assume, and there is absolutely no judgment implied in that statement. I have had a number of gay male friends (and gay female friends) but in either case i don’t discuss their interactions with members of their sexes.
Straight women, however, are permitted to interact in physical ways and via affectionate terms. They hug, and they cheek kiss and make comments on appearances and, I’ve been told, even check out the boobs and bums of members of their own gender. You don’t get a guy looking at the crotch of another male, and there is an absolutely understood ethic to be involved when standing next to another male at a urinal, which is stare straight ahead or look at the ceiling – never, ever to the side.
There have been some changes in recent years and that is a welcome thing. I know males with whom I feel close enough that i can do a ‘guy hug’.
But I’d always still rather hug a girl.