Yet, men actually do need male friends, particularly in light of clinical psychologist H’vovi Bhagwagar’s observation that, “Men don’t share much with their female partners, as women tend to nag or to over-exaggerate problems.”

“A male friend might tell a guy, let’s go for a drink, and they’d go to a bar and talk about the problem — that’s it; problem solved! Men don’t really get into the details of issues,” Bhagwagar says. “Men feel better when they can solve a problem; women feel better when someone acknowledges their feelings,” says Bhagwagar, explaining why sometimes a guy needs to talk to another guy about whatever is bothering him.

Bhagwagar points out that both, men and women, tend to discuss very different subjects when out in same-sex groups. “Women may discuss their sex lives, for instance, which a man wouldn’t do, so a man may feel lost at a gathering of just women. Men do discuss sex, but they’d discuss porn or attractive actresses; they don’t usually discuss their own sex life.”

This, says Bhagwagar, is why men don’t want their wives to tag along for those boys’ nights out, and their buddies don’t want a woman tagging along either. “I have seen cases, where the man is forced to take his wife to such gatherings and it’s a mess: the wife will criticise her husband for the way his friends talk, and his friends don’t want the woman tagging along, so they’ll eventually stop inviting him for these things. It’s a no-win situation for the man. A boys’ club is a boys’ club,” says Bhagwagar. “It’s a place where your buddies can shed their inhibitions, and be themselves. Therefore, its privacy must be sacrosanct.”

Featured in the Mumbai Mirror on January 18, 2017.