February 16, 2012
Editor’s Note: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is writing a blog called “Food for Thought.” It is available online at http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.
I had lunch in Snellville the other day with two girlfriends, fellow journalists. I’m almost ashamed to say this, but we were in the restaurant for hours, talking business, yes, but mostly just talking life. We talked about mortgages and significant others and weight loss plans and spring fever and hormones. I loved every minute of it.
I have had the opportunity over the past couple of months to spend a lot of time with women. I’m researching the book I’m currently writing; it takes a look at advice we got when we were younger and how (and whether) that advice helped us as adults. I have discovered a recurring theme in these interviews, and that’s that female friendships are crucial to a woman’s well-being. Different phases of life dictate how much time we have for these friendships, but the real ones last. They survive months or even years of neglect. They survive spats and misunderstandings. They just survive because without them, we women would be lost.
Please don’t misunderstand. My husband, my son, my dad, my brother-in-law, my male friends … I cherish them all. But there’s no way any of the men in my life would have survived today’s conversation. First of all, they wouldn’t have even heard the whole thing. There’s a phenomenon I picked up on when our children were younger, and that’s that men develop an uncanny ability to tune out anything that doesn’t keenly interest them at that moment. They have learned to block out any noise that might interrupt a football game, and they have learned to block out any conversation that deals with women or their emotional or physical issues. I’m not hating; I’m merely observing.
Let me give you an example: Years ago, we celebrated our youngest daughter’s 11th birthday with a sleepover at our house. We invited about 10 girls, with the understanding that only 5 to 8 girls would show up (we had the formula down pat after raising four children). What we didn’t factor into the equation was that this daughter was the epitome of a social butterfly, and she verbally invited about 15 more girls than we had officially sent invitations to. Her birthday’s in January. A snow/ice storm was predicted. Parents are not stupid. Every girl who had been invited – officially or unofficially – showed up.
I still block out most of the evening as a memory too painful to recall completely, but I do remember snippets: dozens of girls performing “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, over and over and over. I remember bickering, crying, and tattling. I remember nail polish spills and homesickness. And I vividly remember looking over at my husband during all this chaos; he was intently zoned in on some football pre-game show, totally oblivious to the unnerving chaos surrounding him. His eyes had glazed over. I also remember being irritated and envious at the same time. What a skill.
Ever try to talk to your husband or boyfriend about hormonal issues? Forget it. They visibly cringe and turn down the volume. I think it’s an evolutionary thing. And weight loss? No. It’s a mine field of wrong answers to them, so they avoid it altogether.
Anyway, I sure did enjoy our lunch. Women offer other women a lifeline – one for conversation, camaraderie and secret-telling. And to the ladies with whom I dined this afternoon, my husband offered up a heartfelt, “thank you.”
Ladies, do you agree, or could you survive with just the guys in your life?
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on radio shows nationwide.