A bit of pedestalizing here? "(Women, on the whole, seem to do much better in befriending one another.)"
And then there's this:
As one author once wrote, “the average American male has one good friend, and that is his wife” (or, more likely in our era of declines in marriage, his ‘significant other”). Anyone who has spent an extended period in a country with a Catholic cultural background (whether or not actual religious practice has plummeted) has probably noticed how profoundly American men have been affected by our overwhelmingly Protestant culture, with its emphasis on individualism. There is a very powerful image of the strong, isolated male figure in American culture: the autonomous adventurer who rides off into the sunset; the “strong, silent type” who hides his private feelings behind a crusty exterior; the man who is ultimately answerable only to his own conscience.
Is this ideal more true of one group of settlers from the British isles than the others? (The Scots-Irish, perhaps?) Or is it an erroneous projection of an ideal perpetuated by 20th century American pop culture onto Protestantism?