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Adventures in Finding Male Friends

I am not someone who has always forgone female friendships for male ones because I thought other girls were “too dramatic” or “catty.” In fact, most of my friends throughout high school were girls. That said, I always had a few guys I was super tight with. One was a preschool friend I became reacquainted with in high school, others were dating a friend, or were underclassmen I took under my wing. Regardless, I’m not used to not having guy friends.

It’s not for lack of trying either; my friends and I figured our relatively small theology class would be a good place to start since all the girls are from Pangborn and all the guys are from Keenan. The class is bizarrely segregated: girls on one side, guys on another. There is so little contact between the sexes that I wasn’t aware that some of the guys existed until a few weeks ago. One day, a group of the girls sat with one empty seat between us all so that they’d be forced to intermingle, which they did. But there still was barely any talking. They all seem to be extremely nice and if you try to talk to them they’ll respond, but there’s never been an apparent desire to befriend each other.

It’s not as if I don’t ever talk to boys, just that it’s never in the context of “friends.” I almost always have the same French partner and while I like him, I certainly don’t know him. I trade essays with and occasionally text a kid from my seminar class, but we don’t actually hang out beyond walking back to our dorms from class together.

In our endeavor to find male friends, some drastic measures have been taken. This past weekend, my friend and fellow HCND writer, Allegra, posted to Yik Yak about our Netflix party (we go hard) which started a conversation with a fellow student and eventually ended up with him coming to our basement to watch The Office. He was very nice and solidly not creepy, but that didn’t stop it from being a bizarre situation. I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing him again.

Other freshmen girls have already made guy friends, but it seems to be mostly from parties, which is fine, but it’s not really my (or my friends’) scene. Upperclassmen have said that they didn’t have any good guy friends until the end of their freshmen year, so I’m not really worried about it, but I am curious about why it seems to be such a struggle.

It’s not a secret that the gender relations at Notre Dame are, how shall I put this, awful. A combination of parietals, single sex dorms, and strong Catholic tradition have certainly strengthened friendships within a single sex, but discourages friendships across gender lines. And despite the “best efforts” of the administration, it’s not something that’s going to be fixed with monthly brother/sister dorm events or serenades at Frosh-O.


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Megan Valley

Notre Dame

Megan Valley, Notre Dame class of 2018, is majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and English. Some of her addictions include chai tea, naps, popcorn, flannel shirts and floral print dresses. She enjoys reading, writing, smashing the patriarchy, binge watching television shows of questionable caliber, and speaking about herself in the third person.
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