Sloane Crosley: ‘I can think of three male friends who fell in love the way one might fall into an open manhole’

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The Independent Online

Hello, my name is Sloane and I am a social back-up girl. Am I a priority for my closest friends? Of course, and they are a priority for me. But a disturbing trend has come to my notice. Not physically, but emotionally, I seem to be the default option for male friends when it comes to attending stuffy dinners with mum, or a co-worker's housewarmer.

For years I never minded these invitations, because I was under the impression I was using the inviters right back – for friendship. Women are infamous for pulling disappearing acts when they start romantic relationships and OK, I do more e-mails than late-night drinks with platonic male friends when there is someone waiting for me at home. But I make a concerted effort to water and feed those friendships I perceive as established and genuine. Not only in case the guy cooking me dinner doesn't work out, but because I genuinely care about these people.

Perhaps it's precisely because women have this ugly reputation for abandoning our girlfriends, we know how to offset it. But I can think of three male friends who, in the past few years, fell in love the way one might fall into an open manhole. I do not begrudge them their happiness, just as I hope they do not begrudge me mine, but I did find myself administering "how long before you call me" tests and other such games in which no one wins.

About two years ago, one of them stopped calling me back full stop. After years working as a book publicist, the one thing I can do very well is take "no" for an answer. So I let it go. Meanwhile, he got engaged, married and moved homes all without the added bonus of me in his life.

Then, last week, he got in touch for the first time, suggesting we get dinner. Missing my friend, I put aside old grudges and accepted. After all, these ex-pals don't mean any offence. But within a minute of my reply, he asked me for a favour regarding a novel he's about to publish. I told him that alas, I couldn't make dinner after all. I had a stuffy evening with parents to attend – as the guest of one of my oldest girlfriends.

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello)

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