For someone like me - the only girl in a family of brothers, male cousins and hordes of uncles - it just made sense. For a long time, my opposite-gender friendships worked a treat - until everyone started partnering up with the women who went on to become long-term girlfriends and wives and we discovered a complication standing in the way of our collective happiness. I was both distraught and incensed. Why were we being reduced to the sum of our private parts? Evidently not, because, as the years passed, my male friends dropped like flies as they bowed down to spousal pressure.