Dishing the dirt …. what do women really talk about?

From time to time I’ve heard it said that women can be far worse than men when it comes to talking about the opposite sex. Clearly it depends on how you define “worse” but if the commenters were inferring that women talk more than men, then naturally I’d have to concur with this opinion.

Women of my generation talk about all manner of personal detail quite openly amongst each other. We talk about it seriously on occasion, in the manner that you might discuss a post-mortem report (maybe not the best analogy but you get my drift) and at other times we will venture into jocular territory.

A common misconception amongst men however has to be that we discuss “quality” issues …. like a panel of judges as men are paraded in front of us. That’s not the case. Well … to be perfectly honest it can happen, but only in my experience where the man in question is little more than a fantasy figure. Take Johnny Depp for instance. I will get as bawdy and raucous as a rum-soaked sailor if there’s a magazine piece featuring the gorgeous Mr D in the same vicinity as my girlfriends and I. This I have to say is totally unfair to a man with a face to melt most red-blooded women in an instant as he is obviously hugely talented to boot … but heck, I don’t suppose he lays awake at night worrying about it.

Now it comes as no surprise to anyone that women “like to talk” … John Gray has made a fortune from explaining in his “Men are from Mars …” books the opposing behaviour a man will display when faced with emotional pressure. Women now know that it’s perfectly normal for a man to “cave”, i.e. disappear into a puff of silence, when he feels that he may be getting out of his depth in a relationship or when he starts to experience the gear shift from “casual” to “serious”.

We girls of course will huddle around several bottles of wine, play some Amy Winehouse in the background and dissect and analyse the why’s and wherefore’s to explain the latest example of puzzling male behaviour. The fact is that we will come to our own conclusion if you fail to provide us with one. Talking is what women do. We share, we offload and we (occasionally) rationalise.

And the greatest discovery of my recent years is to find girlfriends that I can tell anything to. My darling Mum often thinks that seeing me on a daily basis will provide her with everything there is to know about me. Not so.

My girls Natalie and Sharon are in possession of the full Debsy facts . They know if and why I’ll do something, and they know the outcome often before the thought has even entered my head. We have consumed wine into the early hours and laughed until one of us needed to be placed into the recovery position. And what is the subject of our favorite topic? Well contrary to popular male opinion we very rarely discuss male “performance”. It’s a common misnomer that women mark men out of ten in that regard. We don’t.

What we do in practice is provide a support system for each other. We girls need that. And only another girl truly knows how bad it can get at times.

There have been a few episodes over the last few years when I’ve needed to be emotionally held up, when I’ve felt my legs couldn’t carry me anymore. A true girlfriend doesn’t need to hear the full detailed explanation; she gets it straight away.

What women will do when they get together is to help strengthen the weakest in the brood … whoever it happens to be at that time. We may talk of a man’s role in the whole process and if he’s at fault then yes, some sticking of needles in effigies may take place. It helps us feel better to cast the wrongdoer in the role of the villain, to put him on trial and consequentially to hang, draw and quarter his reputation by the third bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Men have told me that they discuss football, cars and women when they get together, but I suspect the discussion on women is based largely on bravado and speculation than much else.

And yet all cannot be lost …. I’m sat listening to an old track by the Doobie Brothers, written by Michael McDonald and Patrick Henderson and the lyrics are …

“Darlin, I know
I’m just another head on your pillow
If only just tonight, girl
Let me hear you lie just a little
Tell me I’m the only man
That you ever really loved
Honey take me back
Deep in my memory
A time when it was all very right
So very nice….”

So guys, if you can put it to music and sing it, what’s wrong with talking about it?

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11 Comments

Filed under Life, love and the universe, Men, relationships, sex, Women

11 responses to “Dishing the dirt …. what do women really talk about?

  1. Alex

    Hmm, you see now I’m beginning to wonder if I am a man, because the men you keep describing don’t seem to fit me, or the blokes I know. Maybe it’s living in France, has turned me into an emotionally capable human being, because I’ll sit and talk about women, and not in the “PHWOOAAHH, have you seen the rack on that, kind of way!!”

    And, we’ll even offer support, admittedly in a slightly jokey, not totally certain what we’re talking about kind of a way but beer does that to us.

    Of course I suppose the underlying question is, do I talk to women like that, and I think I do, I know I have plenty of female friends, and I’ll find myself in the middle of a sudden girlie conversation, no problems. Do I talk to the woman in my life like that though? Well oddly I find it harder to do so, sometimes I feel like I’m not really allowed to, or expected to, and in a weird way as if to do so makes me a weaker man. Odd that.

    So Mamselle Debsy, I think either
    a) you’re hanging round with the wrong men,
    or
    b) I’ve just come out.

    • Alex

      PS. I’ve noticed I’m commenting far too much on your blog entries. It’s not that I don’t have a life, it’s just that the beach has free wifi.

      • debsylee

        What I tried to convey in a rather convoluted way is that women tend to talk about their own problems, whereas men (in my experience) don’t willingly come forward to discuss their own.

        I have plenty of male friends who will offer advice to me, but rarely do they open up about their own personal stuff …

        Oh and by the way, there’s no such offence as “commenting too much” so you’re fine; make the most of the beach wi-fi!

  2. Alex

    Oh I got that bit, and you’re possibly right, men talk less about their problems than women. Maybe we have fewer? Or maybe we don’t SEE them as problems which talking about can solve? Probably we don’t like to admit we’ve got a problem as it makes us seem weak. And possibly if that’s the case we definately don’t want to say it to an attractive, apparently confident women because we want her to think of us as strong and macho and a potential partner/shag.

    It’s fair to say we do often offer a solution to a problem when in fact it’s not a solution that’s wanted, more a friendly ear.

    I am definately beginning to think I’m part of some odd sub-culture though, I’ve noticed the Brit men I know over here will gather together for problem listening, sweat-lodging and drumming (OK I’m lying about those two, but we could), whereas the French men don’t seem to. As for the Brit I know back home, well they don’t seem to much either.

    So maybe if you want a man to talk about his problems you need to get yourself an ex-pat? ;-D

  3. Funny how people are categorised in gender stereotypes. I know as many stolid and unemotional women as I do gushing men (hetero and gay).

    There is a huge spectrum of behaviour and typology amongst both/all sexes/genders.

    I many ways, I am a stereotypical ‘woman’: in others, a macho male.

    So your blog is rubbish, basically, but fun. But don’t generalise. Intrasexual differences are almost as wide as intersexual ones.

    • debsylee

      Interesting comment Jeremy; my life experience must therefore be rubbish by association!

      Thanks for your comment.

  4. Stevie B

    This blog is a few things Deb, but rubbish it certainly isn’t.

    You may have been guilty of a bit of stereotyping in this post (as charged by Jeremy) but you have as I see it reported it as you’ve experienced it.

    I don’t think that makes it “rubbish”.

  5. Stevie B

    Possibly your stuff doesn’t appeal to the intellectually and emotionally superior ;-)

  6. Alex

    Of course the interesting thing to ask is “what is it about Debsy that seems to attract the type of men she blogs about?”

    But we’ll let you tell us that later.

    • Stevie B

      As someone who has known the authoress for over twenty years I feel qualified to answer your question Alex.

      “Debsy” is the mother of a fantastic boy who idolises her, and for all the right reasons. She is beautiful, intelligent and very funny. She probably has the quickest wit of anyone I know.

      Why has she attracted the wrong men? Not sure on that but for sure none of them really appreciated her. I think often her beauty has attracted the wrong type, together with her eagerness to engage in conversation.

      I’m sure you’ll know what I mean by that.

  7. Ouch!! I was with Jeremy up to the ‘rubbish’ bit Debsy…with the Mars n Venus books I always found myself identifying as much with the ‘women’s behaviour’ bits as the men’s. And boy do I know men who can talk about their problems! Now that (Mars n Venus) level of stereotyping was rubbish…it don’t help at all with relations between the sexes.

    But as for your blog you sexxxy interesting lady, well….. we wouldn’t be having these debates without it would we!!

    mmwah!
    Alan :-)

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