Growing up, I had girl “friends” until I was about 8 or 9. Then, of course, they became icky. I started liking them again around 14.

But by then it was more complicated: the ones I liked didn’t like me back, and the ones who liked me made me scared and running for the hills. With several notable exception, this pattern continued, more or less, until I was about 42.

OK, I’m being facetious, because I’ve always gotten along well with women. Heck, I was raised by women. I have two older sisters and no brothers. My father traveled constantly until I was well into my teens. Yes, he was around, and while my parents had a marriage of equals in many ways, it was clear that child-rearing fell to my mother because she was more suited to it.

As I got older and lived in the big, bad city, women friends were and remain a constant presence in my life. More recently, a whole new realm of male friends (along with established ones) have balanced out my life.

So, why does a guy who’s comfortable around women occasionally feel out of place when he’s among them?

The other day I got off the subway after work and there was a voice mail from my wife. She was at a bar with other new parents, and suggested I join if I had time. I did. There were about a dozen women there with babies. And me. My wife sat at a different part of the table.

At a certain point, she gave me the most pleasurable thing there is to do in life — take over holding my daughter. At the same time, I felt compelled to make conversation with the women at the table. Most of the talk was about nannies and day care. I had some questions and got some very good feedback.

I have to admit I did kind of lose interest when one woman described the circumstances and ritual surrounding her two-month-old son’s briss. Yes, that definitely hits too close to home. It was one of the reasons I was grateful for a girl!

When the group said its goodbyes around 5pm, a few of the women said that next time they’d try to get their husbands to come along. That would be fine, but why do I get the feeling the men would go to one corner and the women to another?

When my wife was pregnant last summer, we agreed to take a two-week vacation in Italy. One of those weeks was a yoga retreat at an 800-year-old farmhouse in Tuscany. The group consisted of 17 women and……me.

Actually, it went pretty well. A bunch of the women complimented me for doing this, saying their husbands wouldn’t come along on a yoga retreat.

On the fifth day, we went into a small town with lots of churches. All day long, three of the women talked non-stop about going to the Prada outlet the next day.

That was it for me; I couldn’t listen to another human voice.

In one of the churches, I sat down for a very long time, held my head down, treasured the silence and wouldn’t look up. My wife asked what was the matter.

“I need a break from all this estrogen,” I said. She understood and a few minutes later we talked about it.

As we were talking, a man to our right started trying to pull open the doors of one of the church’s old wooden cabinets. He was using a pretty fair amount of force. The women he was with admonished him in German to stop doing that.

Not missing a beat, my wife asked, “is that the kind of male energy you’re missing?”

The rest of the trip was great.

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