The dinner party was shaping up to be like so many others — eventually, the women gathered on the couch and the overstuffed chairs around the coffee table and the men hung by the counter with the booze and food.
I have no idea what the men were talking about, but I was in very familiar if often boring and exhausting territory — kids, homework, teachers, grades, chores, SATs, men, clothes, diets, work-life balance, juggling, Botox, yoga. Aka, the world of women.
I looked over at the men. They were animated
and laughing, while the gals mostly had furrowed brows — well, except
the Botoxed among us, whose brows had their perma-poker faces on.
What the hell are they talking about, I wondered.
But, really, what the hell were we talking about?
“Why are women always talking about men and kids?” my friend Dan asked me weeks after the party as we sat at Sam’s, soaking in the sun and a few beers.
“That’s not all we talk about!” I said a bit defensively, holding back from throwing out some snarky line about what guys talk about.
Not to betray the sisterhood, but he wasn’t totally off the mark. Sure, science has debunked the myth that women talk more than guys, even though we do use a few more words than they do: 16,215 a day to their 15,669. But those 546 words — as well as a good part of the rest of them — couldn’t be more Mars-Venus.
Honestly, when was the last time you heard a man say the word “empowering”?
As any guy will tell you, women spend way too much time as a “Sex and the City” episode, talking about relationships, feelings and shopping. And, as any woman will tell you, men talk way too much about sports and techie things like weighing the pros and cons of the iPad versus the iPhone.
Not to say that we’re all like that — we’re not. But, if we are, is that so bad?
I don’t think so … unless, of course, we’re trying to talk about those things with members of the opposite sex. Honestly, I don’t think guys really want to hear us obsess about our kids and school. I’m absolutely positive they don’t want to hear us obsess about our weight and our feelings — especially if it comes off as insecurities. And, as much as I can get excited about New Zealand’s tie with Italy in the World Cup and Freddy Sanchez’s first homer of the season, it’s not that big a deal to me; I’m not going to remember it much past this week. But I can accept that Sean, The Kid and a lot of other men in my life will.
Women tend to be people people and men tend to be things people, and you know, I’m totally cool with that.
I’m just not cool when we get judged for that, or when someone thinks that’s all we’re about. Because it’s not.
Even when it seems like it is.
Like this weekend, when Sara, Mia and I had worked up a good sweat on the trail, not only because it had some kick-ass elevation, but we’d gotten into a pretty intense discussion about the BP debacle — which somehow morphed into analyzing Mia and Rex’s recently fight. A logical thought progression …
And that’s just when a guy sprinted by.
I know exactly what he heard — and thought. It was totally incriminating girl talk. We must have sounded like a bunch of middle-aged women freaking out about a small thing that a decent guy no doubt wanted to fix while some insecure woman wanted to turn into an “issue.”
“Humpf!” I heard him mumble under his breath as he passed by, shaking his head.
No, no, no! I thought. You should have passed by a few minutes ago!
I always feel a bit embarrassed when we gals are busted for being so emo.
“Why are you looking so pained?” Sara asked me.
“That guy. He passed by just as we were obsessing about Mia and Rex.”
“So what? His wife’s probably somewhere right now talking about him.”
But if she’s smart, when he gets home, she’ll shut up.
- Does girl talk bother you?
- Are man and women fundamentally interested in very different things?
- Can men and women communicate well?
Photo © A_nik – Fotolia.com