Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A conversation with a friend

Tonight, I had a conversation with a friend who told me he thinks that all women secretly hate each other.

I disagree.

I’ve talked about my girlfriends here and here, so it’s safe to say I don’t secretly or overtly for that matter, hate them.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to go with his suggestions, women I work with, and women I see at the mall, and to be fair, I’ll start out right away, just for my friend and say, Yeah, I think the women that do this, are astronomically STUPID. I still don’t hate them, but they sure as hell hate me (at least for a few hours).

I wasn’t a part of the ‘in-crowd’ in high school. These are the girls that I think my friend is referring to. The girls that said hi to you in the morning as you passed each other on the way to class, and trashed you in the ladies room during ’10-minute break’.

I had the kind of friends that I’d lay down in traffic for. With my 20 year reunion only a few months away, I’ve already decided that the two people I’m traveling with are really the only two people I ever need to see from high school again. It’s no coincidence that I’m still friends with them after all these years. I keep the people I love to the very best of my ability, and hold no grudges for the time lost. But, I digress.

Unfortunately, I do know the women he’s referring to. I want to deny it, but I’d be a liar if I played completely dumb on this. Part of me wants to defend these women. It wants to say that women in general have been torn down so much, so often and so harshly by the same people who claim to love them, that they look out at the world, at the rest of the women in the world, and see a reflection that resembles the naked body marred by the plastic surgeons black marker. Starkly calling attention to their every flaw and distorting any positive trait.

I understand the distortion pain provides and know how it can cloud your judgment.

The other part of me sounds more like this.

I’m truly sorry.
It is not the end of the world.
You are not the only one who has had bad things happen to them.
It is not the rest of humankind’s fault.
You can either be a victim or a survivor
There are million places, people and things you can do to work through it. Find one that works for you and get to it.
No time like the present.
Chop. Chop.

(And now you all know why I'm not getting paid to counsel anyone on anything).

Am I over-simplifying? Probably. Of course there are some things that happen to people that if I said something, anything in that last paragraph I’d deserve to have my head kicked in by anyone listening, or perhaps, everyone listening, at the same time. For the sake of this argument, please know it’s not those people, or those things that I’m talking about.

I AM talking about your average run of the mill catty coworker, gym member, or chick in the Limited at your local shopping mall (aka the 7th circle of hell).

You see these women, on a good day, you can even feel them giving you the once over, checking out your companions, your outfit, hair, makeup, whatever. Sometimes if you’re good, you can catch their look of disapproval before they quickly try to look benign again.

I find it happening to me, in the company elevator. The door side of our elevators is all mirrors (so are the ceilings for anyone interested in a little 70’s flashback/come-a-basic instinct action) when women get in they immediately start fussing with themselves, OR they start scoping you out.

Here’s my secret, the second I catch them, I compliment them, on anything. Their shoes, dress, whatever. You can always tell you’ve just got an insecure mess on your hands (as opposed to spinach in your teeth or toilet paper stuck to your shoe) if they fall all over themselves being nice, when seconds before you could hear the alley cat howl forming in the back of their throat.

Truth be told, they’ve all been genuine compliments.
I see what’s really in the mirror.

Answer your question, T?


Jay said...

This is so great.
Particularly because yesterday I was sitting at the mall talking with a guy friend and a woman walked by and gave me this ...look. You know, A Look. And he said "Women are such bitches."
And the thing is, a lot of the time, he's not wrong.

Anne said...

I don't think it's really hate; it's mostly insecurity.
We are all made to feel inadequate by the media.
Many men judge us too much on our looks, and many women feel they need men, so we are in competition there.
Even our jobs are insecure, so many women try to make others look bad in an attempt to be the last to get laid off.
It's very sad. All women are sisters in a way, but we have allowed ourselves to be divided and conquered, especially our younger sisters. It takes time to build up one's own independence and sense of worth. Luckily there are some people like yourself who refuse to play that game. Hopefully others can learn from that.

kenju said...

I agree with Anne; it is insecurity and jealousy. Also, I have observed that it happens more often with people who don't have the highest of IQ's. As I get older, I try not to 'diss' other woman - I celebrate their accomplishments and I applaud our diversities.

roo said...

you are so grown. this happens to me on the daily. my comeback arsenal consists of the following:
Can i help you?
Do i HAVE three eyes in my head?
and the ever popular
fuck are you lookin' at?
i still think this comes from no mama training. and also...in neighborhoods like MINE, women or no, you don't just be lookin' at people and i contend that the desperate housewife wannabes would do this less if they got plunked down in the middle of parsons ave and got their no depth having behinds(and by this i mean less that they are shallow and more that they don't have booty)handed to them once or twice.

Tracy Lynn said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I do the ezact same thing.

Rock on with your bad self, my dear.

tiff said...

Let's face it - there are shallow stupid women/men/people in this world who ain't nothing more than a surface sheen that hides a black hollow heart.

I would hate to be them. It's ever so much nicer to not give a shit and enjoy life.

Rock on indeed.

Biff Spiffy said...

Counselor Jen is IN.

Theme song: Get over it, by OK Go.

As one who stands to pee, I must acknowledge that there are advantages to being a man. But I've never been a fan of the 'us vs. them' mentality, since every human has hurts, wants, & needs.

I've seen the behavior your friend is talking about, and don't get it. I would agree with the insecurity/ defense theme. People with confidence are hella cool.

rennratt said...

I am content to remain the Odd Girl in the Office.

When I get "THAT" look from other girls in the office, I grin and say "I know. I forgot to comb my hair. AGAIN. But I remembered to wear a bra!"

They slowly back away and leave me alone.

It's probably better that way. I would compliment their taste in clothes, if I had any room to judge.

(I wear pretty much the same thing every day, in varying shades)

caroline said...

"With my 20 year reunion only a few months away, I’ve already decided that the two people I’m traveling with are really the only two people I ever need to see from high school again." .... I'm crushed. :(

Seriously, though, I remember those days in high school. The cheerleader-types, the ones who hung out at the "jock rail" during 10-minute break. I never wanted to be part of their group (not that there was anything wrong with them, but they seemed somewhat "artificial" to me, and we had little in common), but it did make me wonder if there was something wrong with me because I DIDN'T want to be part of their group.

They were never overtly rude or condescending to me specifically, but they were to others. And their general air of superiority was infuriating. I discovered early, however, that you could "kill them with kindness." Their "power" came from their ability to hurt the feelings of their victims ... if you didn't let them hurt your feelings, it hurt them. And, if you were complimentary to them (especially if the compliments were genuine) ... Fatal Blow!

I try to remember that today, as an adult, when dealing with the grown-up versions of those people. Sometimes, it's hard.