"Are you a guy's girl or a girl's girl?" I heard this statement uttered not long ago on one of those abysmal reality shows that I watch when no one is looking. It was really the first time I had heard that phrase uttered and yet I instantly knew what the bimbo in the couture t-shirt meant. Once again a "meaning of life" moment came to me from an unlikely source. The answer? I am a guy's girl. The question? Why do I find interacting with women so difficult?
Now contrary to what you might think, being a guy's girl does not mean that men want to be around you more than women want to be around you - although that may end up being the case. It has more to do with who you prefer to be around. Ask yourself this - you have signed up for a professional training class of some sort and there are two tables each with just one seat remaining. One is a table of men, the other is a table of women. At which table would you prefer to take your seat? Not the one at which you may actually sit, but the one at which you would rather be for the next 7 hours? If you said the guys' table, then you are a guy's girl, even if some unidentified social pressure leads you to plop down with the gaggle of gals. Let's face it, that unidentified social pressure is wanting to be accepted by other women.
Now it seems simple right? All the guy's girls should be friends and all the girl's girls should be friends. However, we don't necessarily wear lapel pins or have a secret hand shake. Besides, all the guy's girls want to be hanging out with men anyway. So by definition guy's girls repel each other - at least at first. This does not mean that guy's girls don't have female friends. I would venture to say that I probably have just as many as any other 40 year old. What I don't have are enjoyable cocktail party experiences. I, for the life of me, cannot pull off small talk with another woman. I can't get much mileage out of talking about my children - it's just not me to talk about how wonderful motherhood is or which park has the best jungle gym. I am also the only woman you will ever meet that doesn't fuss over shoes. However, put me with a stranger of the male variety and I am perfectly comfortable talking about the weather... or my kids, or even shoes.
Case in point. This past weekend I attended a small-ish gathering of a group of people I adore. All of our children are about the same age and all attended daycare together. There is one couple I do not know very well and I have noticed that the wife never seems to want to be around me - we never exchange hellos or goodbyes and any words we do exchange are very forced. I don't worry about it too much - not everyone likes everyone. But I found myself yuckin' it up with her husband. In the pile of toys in the corner we spotted the new and improved EZ Bake Oven. Yep those little fire hazards are still around. So we started to joke that Top Chef should do a Quick Fire challenge based exclusively on the EZ Bake Oven. It was a funny, quick conversation that would have been impossible with his better half.
But why would it have been impossible or, at best, excruciating? I am going to go out on a limb and try to solve this mystery. And yes, brace yourself for one of those "men and women are different" lists. Men are less judgmental. Men are less guarded. Men have more accessible senses of humor. Men don't overtly compete with each other on the small stuff. Men just have less interest in bullshit. There is a reason they say that women primp for other women not other men. Men don't notice the small shit, let alone care. I was once at one of these gatherings and one of the women not-so-subtly lamented that I was the only woman that had not declared her shoes to be "fabulous." To which I wanted to reply - "you're wearing shoes?" But I didn't because I want them to like me. Yeah I am thinking it's a lost cause.
So since most of the men I encounter are married, engaging in too much enjoyable small talk with them would pretty much seal the deal that I won't be buddy-buddy with the Mrs. So at cocktail parties (with the men off limits and the women impossible to talk to) - I am pretty easy to spot - I am usually the one filling the ice bucket.