Here is a short article about why younger boys and girls benefit from being friends with each other. The female author didn't want anything to do with boys at school, but I felt the opposite. Boys were exciting.
My first 'best friend' was Colin Patterson. I have not seen or heard of him since we were seven; my family moved from Belfast to Scotland to flee the troubles.
I remember his freckles and his plastic binoculars and how he taught me to do 'commando runs'. Once we stole biscuits from a neighbour's house, exhilarated by the ease of our success: simply opening the back door and standing on a kitchen chair to get the tin from a high shelf. That was it? No police? No guard dogs?
We dug for treasure behind his garage - it was always inches away from us in the clay mud. His family had 'a good room', so we listened to his Rolf Harris record in the back room. For a joke, I hid his wee brother's shoes in the coal bunker. I was hot with shame when caught. Justice then, eventually.