When I hear a woman insist that she’s a “guy’s girl” who doesn’t get along with other women, I immediately want to give her a cuddle. She’d detest every second of that soppy squeeze, of course, because it would all be too melodramatic and overemotional and downright silly for her. But my sympathy is genuine, because there is nothing impressive whatsoever about only having male mates. Choosing male companions doesn’t mark a woman out as somehow superior, down-to-earth and low-maintenance and fun, and perhaps just a bit too hot for other women to handle.
Having no female friends means one thing: that you’ve been hanging out with the wrong women, and are too stupid to see it. A narrow mind about human interaction - a sort of emotional algorithm bubble - in which we discount people on the basis of their gender, politics, race or whatever else alone, isn’t healthy for anyone.
This week, Lucie was the Love Island contestant to casually toss a gasoline-soaked rag into the maelstrom of badly-spelled public opinions, mentioning that she has “never had a female friend” and that, “girls are drama” while men “say it like it is”.
I started out my career as a reporter at lads' mag FHM, I’ve had mainly male flatmates over the years, and writing about adventure travel and international culture, I still work with a lot of men. But I’ve only ever divided the world into two groups, and it's not men and women, but people I want to talk to, and wrong’uns to avoid. Both of which appear on either end of the gender spectrum - an understanding of which I really imagined we’d worked out back in the cave.
But the joy of Love Island, if you remain baffled as to its charms, is that a seemingly lightweight show regularly kicks off furious debate across the nation. A hairdresser on a sunlounger makes an off-the-cuff comment about money or love or friendship, and unwittingly sparks days of national soul-searching and weighty philosophical discourse.
“Trash TV” naysayers, remember this: TV is only as trashy as our intellectual response to it. All the most satisfying conversations, I find, are a highbrow take on a lowbrow subject, or the reverse, a gloriously simple, almost childlike treatment of a supposedly lofty subject.
And this week, people leapt to defend Lucie’s monumentally reductive stance on gender. Twitter turned ugly, women “calling out” men for being “drama”, and shouting about how they “tell it like it is” too. The idiocy of reducing such a huge chunk of the population to a single character trait, however, was less widely discussed.
Which is a shame, because gender relations today are in a pretty perilous state. I don’t think that males, or females, or any of the 58 genders Facebook has listed as options, are feeling particularly comfortable and cosy and secure in their gender. It’s 2019: is whether you define yourself as a man or woman really the main filter for friendship?
It’s for this reason that I’ve fiercely resisted being called a “guy’s girl” purely for working at men’s magazines, which I continue to do because I like them. Just as I like my friend Nick, with whom I'm about to go to Mexico - not because he’s a man, but because he's my mate.
Recently, a female friend tried to forgive the outburst of a chef in our company, shrugging off his bad behaviour with the explanation of “he’s a man.” His fit did not happen "because he is a man,” I quickly corrected her, but rather a wrong'un of the highest degree.
So I revert back to my original point, that having no female friends only means you've been hanging around with wrong'uns. And that's who you should stop being mates with - not the entirety of your own gender.