Today I am going to shine light on something I know a lot about: being a girl. More specifically, I am going to dive into the elusive wonderworld of girl code. Girl code is an unspoken language between the the women of the world. I say unspoken because what is being said has little, if nothing, to do with what is actually meant. The female senses are so finely tuned that even the twitch of an eyebrow can turn a “how’s it going?” into an avalanche of perceived undertones and internal monologues that go something like this – is she mad at me? I know I am wearing a similar top to the one she had on yesterday but why is she the end-all-be-all in the color red. I always knew she was a selfish bitch. I was going to invite her to my cousin’s best friend’s birthday party but now I don’t know if I ever want to speak to her again!
I know…. Geez.
Being a woman is a powerful and exhilarating experience. Our heightened emotional intelligence allows us to be fantastic mothers and healers and leaders. It can, on the flip side, also turn us into scary, raging, irrational, judgmental lunatics. If two men have a disagreement, the whole thing can be solved by the swing of a punch or the purchase of a beer. When women have a disagreement, it lasts for so long and develops so many silent undertones like the one listed above that, months later, both are still furious but have had a “talk” that has bandaged the relationship enough to allow both parties limp along barely tolerating each other enough to be in the same room and pretend to like each other.
Women NEVER forget.
Just the other day I witnessed a standard female interaction and, even though I did not know both parties or the context, I could already tell what was really going on. Here’s how it went / how it really went:
Girl #1: Hey! Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find parking anywhere!
Girl #2: Totally fine! I got here early and was waiting for you for 20 minutes. I guess our friendship doesn’t mean very much to you. Ugh! I am already angry and I am definitely not going to give you a hug!
Girl #1: So how have you been? There was something off about that hug…oh my god, she just looked at my shoes…she must know about the email I sent to her boyfriend in January asking him what her favorite kind of cake is. Did she think I was hitting on him?
Girl #2: I’m great! I am really happy with my new job! I hope she knows I didn’t want to hug her. I’m not really happy at my new job, I hate my new job. I just don’t want her to think that I am unhappy with my new job because she just got a new apartment and the LAST thing I want is for her to feel bad for me. After all, I am prettier than she is.
Girl #1: It sounded like it would be perfect for you! Why is she lying about liking her new job? Does she think I am not a good enough friend for her to tell this to? Gosh she is looking really good, I am going to stand to her left because that is my better angle. Why hasn’t she said anything about my new haircut? I always tell her how great she looks.
Girl #2: Yeah, it’s really great! How is Tony? Why hasn’t she told me I look great? Maybe it’s my new eyeliner… Her new haircut looks incredible but I don’t want to tell her until she acknowledges that she emailed my boyfriend in January. I think it’s weird that she is talking to him behind my back… maybe she is hitting on him.
Lucky for me, at that moment their conversations was muffled by other people walking by. It’s exhausiting to be a girl! I am almost positive that a woman would have become president and cured cancer by now if we all looked the same and dressed in the same uniform. Just think of all the excess brain power we are using to microscopically analyze our interactions with one another!
Take my fiancé Dave*, for instance. Just a few weeks ago, Dave was in the same room with another male whom he has known for some time now. The two were comfortable with each other. I happened to know that this man had been having a particularly hard time over the past year. His wife left him, he hates his job, and he is struggling to make ends meet. When I saw the two ‘talking’, my heart warmed and I assumed that they were having a real, soul-satisfying conversation. I pictured it being something like the locker room speech in every sports movie ever; possibly with a little Goodwill Hunting tough-love sprinkled in. I imagined it being just what (let’s call him) Bill needed to see him through his hour of darkness. The two would walk away forever changed.
Later that night, we had returned home and I casually asked how Bill was doing.
Dave shrugged (huh?) and said, “fine, I think…”
I tried again. “How is he handling the separation?”
” No idea… he seemed fine”
Again. “Well, is he having any luck finding a new job? He is a really smart guy!”
Then he said a simple phrase that will forever sum up my understanding of the functionings of the male prefrontal cortex:
“Didn’t come up.”
Didn’t come up???? You were talking for almost an hour!
“Ok…” I mustered, ” what on earth did come up?”
” I don’t know, mostly baseball.”
I found myself awash with a mix of confusion, surprise and envy. Mostly envy because, really, what would it be like to have a conversation with someone, walk away, and know with complete confidence what the conversation had been about? Even more, what would it be like to know enough about baseball to be able to talk about it for a full hour? I guess there are some things that I will never truly understand.
Thank you for reading! I hate your shoes.
*Sorry Dave for using you as fuel for this post. I love you more than you love baseball (I think)!