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Studies Prove That Not Keeping Saturdays (or Whenever) for the Boys Will Kill You. I Am Not Joking.

The other day some buddies of mine turned me onto this article in the Boston Globe that pointed out that the number one killer of men in America isn’t heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, gun shots or even old age. It’s not hanging out with other guys.

These guys host “Nick & Matty” in the afternoons on WAAF and had the author on the show and he confirmed everything he wrote. It’s by no means a recent article, but it’s new to me and since I’m a narcissist, that makes it new. And while I never read these kinds of newspaper junk social science articles because they’re garbage, I don’t think that I’ve ever read anything I agreed with more:

 Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of the United States, has said many times in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It is isolation. …

That’s Dr. Richard S. Schwartz, a Cambridge psychiatrist, and I had reached out to him because he and his wife, Dr. Jacqueline Olds, literally wrote the book on this topic, The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century.

When people with children become overscheduled, they don’t shortchange their children, they shortchange their friendships. “And the public health dangers of that are incredibly clear,” he says. … One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking. …

IN FEBRUARY AT A CONFERENCE in Boston, a researcher from Britain’s University of Oxford presented study results that most guys understand intuitively: Men need an activity together to make and keep a bond. Women can maintain friendships over the phone. … We need to go through something together. That’s why, studies have shown, men tend to make their deepest friends through periods of intense engagement, like school or military service or sports. That’s how many of us are comfortable. …

Researchers have noticed a trend in photographs taken of people interacting. When female friends are talking to each other, they do it face to face. But guys stand side by side, looking out at the world together. …

That’s why Schwartz and others say the best way for men to forge and maintain friendships is through built-in regularity — something that is always on the schedule.

Yes. Yes times infinity. I mean, this is something I’ve always kind of intuited was true, but it means everything to have it backed up not only by science, but to find it in one of those newspaper lifestyle articles that usually tell you the key to happiness is an equal marriage filled with open communication and free of traditional gender roles or some such claptrap.

To be clear, I like my wife. The Irish Rose is a champ. She likes a lot of the stuff I do like Tarantino movies, superhero films and sports, but doesn’t force me to watch her garbage. She’s got a life outside the house and a group of friends that have nothing to do with my bullshit. Most importantly, she wants me out of the house on a regular basis to hang out with friends. I still hang around the guys I grew up with, some of whom I’ve known literally since first grade. There are some guys in that crowd I’m not even sure I like and some that I’ve probably never enjoyed a moment in their company. But they’ve been my friends for life and always will be. I might not like all of them, but I love the sons of bitches.

That’s what I think most women – and even more tragically way too many men – don’t get. It’s more than good to see your buddies a lot. It’s more than important. It’s vital. Yes, life gets in the way at times. Especially when you’ve got little kids who are solely reliant on you and take up all your time and energy. But that’s a temporary part of your life. When they get more independent, you need something. A night golf league. Bar trivia. Join the Elks. A regular night at the pub. Whatever. If you don’t get back into a social circle of idiots like you, telling the same stupid stories, breaking balls and laughing at the same nonsense over and over again, your brain rots. Show me a young guy who only goes places with his wife and I’ll show you a future old guy who’ll someday find himself sitting in a booth waiting for the early bird special with a thousand yard stare in his decayed eyes while she yells that he should have remembered to take his Beano for the whole restaurant to hear. Life with just a woman as your only social contact isn’t life at all; it’s form of walking death.

In a million years I couldn’t hang around a guy who says his wife is his best friend. No wife should want that either. It’s just good to know that attitude is what keeps men alive. It’s science. SAFTB.

@jerrythornton1