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….”