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Girl talk: It isn’t all about feelings

Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010 in Honesty, Men, Relationships, Women

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”?

Exactly.

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.”

Probably.

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

Bring on the comments

  1. Dan says:

    Empowering.

    HA!

  2. BigLittleWolf
    Twitter: BigLittleWolf
    says:

    Really interesting, Kat. The “girl talk” I share may include kids and feelings, it generally does not include “stuff,” but it most certainly includes issues of money, work, health care, the economy – and a host of other issues that impact women, and particularly single parent women.

    I’d say we have at least as much substance (sometimes too much) as we do what men think of as “girl talk.” Guess the girls have a little more to say then the guys realize. . .
    BigLittleWolf´s last blog post ..My son, the office worker

  3. Steve says:

    Talking about sports has bored the hell out of me my entire life. I do like talking about gadgets, occasionally.

    I also enjoy talking about feelings, occasionally.

    I was ready to commit ritual suicide to get out of sitting at a restaurant table with my sister and her friend while they talked about kids, the neighbors, etc.
    Steve´s last blog post ..Turn Old Cell Phones Into Trees

  4. T
    Twitter: tsquest
    says:

    I have to giggle at this. I remember those gatherings where the girls broke off into their own conversations and the guys broke off into theirs… We eventually found it funny that our conversations were so much more complex than theirs.

    Our talk: feelings, relationships, careers, life

    Their talk: their boy parts

    Ha!

    I don’t know. I’ve had some pretty damn awesome conversations about all of those same things with the guys in my life. Maybe they only talk about those things with women and not each other?
    T´s last blog post ..Weekend thoughts of this divorced single mom

  5. Kat Wilder says:

    We'll stop talking about "feelings" when we stop having them, OK? http://katwilder.com/?p=1841

  6. amy says:

    i couldn’t live without my girltalk. but then, when i’m with my poet or writer girlfriends the conversation may turn to literary subjects (like writing sexy sonnets)…before veering back to boys, babies, and bloomie’s…
    amy´s last blog post ..a time for reflection

  7. dadshouse
    Twitter: dadshouseblog
    says:

    I will say my buddies don’t talk about feelings and relationships with me. But we also don’t talk about iphones and ipads. We talk about adventures we’ve had, or will have, or want to have. And yeah, it’s silly when middle aged women micro-analyze each other’s relationships.

    http://dadshouseblog.com/2010/02/09/hes-not-worthy-you-deserve-better/
    dadshouse´s last blog post ..Father’s Day Top Ten

  8. VJ says:

    Well again I’m the odd man out here. When I’m with the wife, we’re likely to be talking about business, employees, troubles that need attending to, mezzanine tranches, & what’s going on in which market, music, Ovid, history, Fairey Swordfish, politics, whatever. When I’m at functions, I’m usually also talking business or learning what’s going on in the worlds of the attending guests. Rarely does the ‘mommy talk’ intervene. Then again, perhaps we’re just not going to those parties too. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  9. Mark says:

    We’re all harmlessly conversationally filling the void. And, if your lucky some conversations might just create some sparks or interest,and then it’s some variation of happy fullfillment. If not, you’re just another droid on the Tiburon Bike Path or in the mall blabbering away on your cell phone as you miss the view, and hence the experience. Are you experienced?

  10. david foster says:

    Talking about feelings & relationships is fine. Using words like “empowering” is a sign that one has been listening to too many airheads, and if continued may lead to one becoming an airhead oneself…

  11. Kat Wilder says:

    Dan — spoken like an “empowered” man!

    BLW — yes, we do have much too say, and much with depth. We also overanalyze something … to death!

    Steve — I often feel like that, too — even when the words are coming out of my own mouth!

    T — you may have a point there; I think men might feel safe talking about feelings with women, but not men. Guys, is that right?

    Amy — it does connect us, doesn’t it? That’s why we get our periods get synchronized, too. And what the hell is that about?

    Dads — you mean you don’t talk about us? Huh!

    VJ — OK, but what does your wife talk about at such soirees?

    Mark — I live for the moments when conversations enlighten and entertain. Most of it, as you say, is blather (don’t get me started on the crap people tweet and FB!)

    David — Talking is cool. Overanalyzing? Not so cool. Empowering? Please shoot me …

  12. VJ says:

    The wife? She talks mainly about the business, some limited current events, mostly related to economics, (the Baltic Index does come up with surprising frequency), and on occasion sex. But mostly? She’s actually listening. I know, rare species indeed! Cheers, ‘VJ’