Have you ever attended a dinner party, attempted polite conversation with a woman you've just met, only to be flung backwards by a forcefield of invisible lady prickles? I have. It's horrible.
Daily Mail columnist Samantha Brick has been exploring this for months now, except her (much ridiculed) explanation is that she's so intimidatingly beautiful she actually frightens other women away.
To be very clear: that is not what I'm on about here.
What I'm talking about is the 'type' of woman my girlfriends and I have come to call a "Man's Lady" (or "ML"). That is, women who are only in their social element when they're the only girl in the group.
Men's Ladies don't tend to form female friendships - or only very superficial ones - because additional female company irritates or scares them. Also, it's superfluous to their needs.
The Man's Lady is the female equivalent of the Ladies' Man. The guy with few solid male friendships, but a string of female 'acquaintances', and a constant search for more. As one of my male friends explained, these suave gentlemen are often passive aggressive or detached with other men, but come alive when it's time to chase skirt.
You'll know you've unearthed a Man's Lady if you mention a woman's blatant rudeness to your boyfriend - usually following a social occasion - only to have him bewilderedly report the opposite impression.(And promptly regret it, because boyfriends should always take your side, at all times, no questions asked.)
I don't know what's at the core of a Man's Lady's demeanour, but I'm not convinced it's driven by sexual jealousy. I think you could probably look like Charlize Theron or a homeless chimney sweep and their paradigm still wouldn't budge. "Jealousy" has almost become the default explanation when it comes to toxic female behaviour, and that does a disservice to the complexity of the amazing lady brain.
Personally, I would say Men's Ladies - and Ladies' Men too, for that matter - are driven by a more overarching need to feel validated and unique. Being "one of the boys" (or for the Ladies' Man, conquering woman after woman) just happens to be a reliable, relatively simple way to feel that way. Anything else, like mateship or girlfriends, falls by the wayside in the process.
Female celebrities like Megan Fox have been known to declare their lack of female friends as though it were a point of pride. But it's not hard to see the thinly veiled self-compliment hidden behind the badge of honour. Clearly, the public's knee-jerk response will be:
'That's because women are less beautiful than you, and therefore scared of wilting in your shadow. (Also, please tell us again how you were an ugly duckling growing up? We love that story!)'
Personally, half of my closest friends are men. It hasn't always been that way, but when I look back on the past few years I realise I couldn't have done without them.
However, I would have gone absolutely spare without my girlfriends.
What's that you say? Girls talk about 'girly' things, and it gets repetitive? You just happen to prefer the company of men - and besides, when disagreements arise they punch each other and get over it in 30 seconds and light some farts, rather than nitpick and bitch?
Fair enough; it's not my place to dictate the world's social dynamics. But, for time immemorial, the hallmark of female interaction has been sharing the female experience. It's in our biochemistry (more of the female brain is devoted to language and communication) and transcends culture, era, religion and age. We huddled together for hours way back when, our cavelady mouths harping on about which brute we hoped would bonk us on the head.
If you don't agree, take it up with Beyonce. She'd back me. "When women don't have [female] friends, I'm afraid of them... I grew up around women, I believe that we can teach each other so much."
As for Samantha Brick, I think it's pretty clear her own issues with women lie at the heart of her plight. But that's a difficult, introspective pill to swallow - so she doesn't swallow it. Her loss.
Do you think females friendships are an important part of being a woman? Are you a Man's Lady or have you ever come across one? Why do you think some ladies prefer being "one of the boys"?By Rebecca Kamm @rebeccakamm Email Rebecca