Wednesday, September 17, 2008

odd girl out

I have very wonderful female friends. They are amazing people and I am so grateful to know them and to be able to have them in my life. I love them all very much but...I don't like most women. It's hard for me to admit this because, despite my great affection for humanity in general, I know I carry this horrible character flaw.

Someone very close to me once called me a "freak of nature" - and I think sometimes he might be right. Put me in a group of women and in a few short minutes I'm looking for an exit. (or barring that, large amounts of alcohol) I've wished for that phone call - the one where my mother needs to be taken to the doctor, or my husband has a flat tire and needs to be rescued on a roadside somewhere, or hell, even the one where the library is in the middle of an enormous Dewey decimal emergency - hoping for anything, anything, to save me from having conversations about People magazine, potty training, that fabulous dip recipe, television shows I've never seen, the newest Jodi Picoult novel, and the latest workplace gossip. I have even considered licking doorknobs in the height of flu season just so I'd have a real excuse to skip a bridal shower.

Now, I admit, most of this is probably due to my impatience, snobbishness, lack of empathy, selfishness, whatever - but it's also because I know how a lot of these gatherings end...

The Bitchfest.

Women bitch about everything: their families, their jobs, their kids, their husbands - and they especially love to bitch about other women. The undercurrents of meanness - both spoken and unspoken - in many of these conversations would probably astonish the uninitiated but I, like most other women, have been witness to it my entire life.

Well behaved women, it's said, seldom make history...but women who aren't well behaved seldom make friends. There is sometimes an element of fear and mistrust when women interact with each other, and rightly so. We learn early that if you dare be yourself, your life will soon become fodder for the gossip mill. (trust me, there are few things in this world more vicious than a middle school girl) Women, long been thought to be the ones best at communicating and conveying emotions, fail miserably when they have to deal with anger and jealousy - and frequently turn to cattiness to compensate.

The entire world recently got a glimpse of this dirty little secret, this long running psychological war. Professional, educated female writers were so rattled by the GOP's vice presidential nomination of Sarah Palin that their illusion of a great supportive sisterhood slipped away, leaving only the ugly truth - "real" feminists have to be exactly the same. Fall out of line by unapologetically believing something different than the rest of them and suddenly you're not even a real woman. And so, with carefully crafted "grrlpower" fa├žades completely shattered and their true selves fully exposed, these women reduced themselves to nothing more than spiteful, malicious little girls in the the locker room, spreading lies about a rival.

"She's such a bimbo!" one crows. Another giggles and adds, "...oh my Gawd - and what's with her shoes?" Laughter ensues and someone else says, "Puh-lease...have you seen her hair?" At this, there is much disgusted eye-rolling. "And, did you know? She hunts- with guns. Eeeew, like how totally redneck!" Another nods in agreement, saying, "Yeah...and she's not really that smart, you know."

We all know that women like this are secretly miserable, insecure creatures at their core, seething with adolescent hatred and envy. I suppose I should pity them, but I can't. They're worse than a nest of vipers. My only hope is that they'll soon be poisoned by their own venom...and oh, and how it will sting.


Jay G said...

"I know I carry this horrible character flaw."

Disliking mean people because they're mean isn't a character flaw...

Way to kick the faux-feminists in their hypocritical heinies!

Excellent piece, Breda. Simply excellent.

Anonymous said...

Eh. I don't care who you are or what your gender, political persuasion, etc. is. When you start lying you've lost me.

Though I must admit, I avoid bridal and baby showers for the precise reason you so accurately articulated.

Unknown said...

Count me as another woman who can't tolerate the Bitchfest that occurs when two or more women gather together. Going through Junior High the first time was bad enough, so I'm always looking for ways to avoid groups of women. I did finally say "no more" to baby and wedding showers - I just send a gift and save my sanity.

Loved this post. It was nice to read there is a woman out there like me - and I'm not just another "freak of nature".

Miz Minka said...

"Put me in a group of women and in a few short minutes I'm looking for an exit." Ha ha, exactly. I'm not a hen house chick(en) either! What a great post. I'm so with you on the not liking women in general for exactly the reasons you stated. Well said.

Joe Carpenter said...

I don't get how if McCain is such a bad choice, and Palin is so inexperienced, and unintelligent-- that the Obama camp is so vehement in their opposition?
Wouldn't such bad presidential duo then be self evident to the average american?
If you think lowly of the average american, not confident in their mental prowress to make an informed decision, then you should feel the need to attack these Republican slimeballs.
If you were in a 100meter race against a 70 year old chain smoker, wouldn't you be glad, and support that choice of opponent? If you were in a race against a Jamaican sprinter, would you feel the need to compete?

The attacks send a message that the Obama compaign is worried there is a good contender for president to go up against.

Anonymous said...

And that, my dear, is why I haven't had a girlfriend in almost 10 years. I can't take the stupidity, drama, cattiness, jealousy, insecurity, immaturity, etc. from them. Find me a nice, secure, mature woman who's not afraid to be in her own skin, who likes me for me (and not try to find flaws "to fix"), and I could settle down. Till then, I'll remain single and my own person, who's not afraid of being in MY own skin.

It's funny, I read somewhere, a long time ago, that the typical male's mental age doesn't mature beyond age 15. Your post just now shows that that's the mental age nost women top out at too.

Anonymous said...

Funny how so many women I've cared about feel the same way about other women.

The harpy thing is contagious though. My wife is not a bitcher. But she had a tableful of her friends over on Tues. and the first thing out of her mouth when I walked through the door was that all the stuff in the garage (patio furniture etc. which I'd hurriedly stuck in there Sunday before Ike came through) looked like hell. I calmly pointed out that it looked better than it would have had I left it all outside to be blown away.

I wasn't really offended. But I did quietly call her on it later. And it makes me wonder if it's pack behavior rather than individual women.

Lissa said...

I definitely understand the feeling -- I'm much more comfortable in mixed-gender groups, or even all-guy groups.

Oh -- and PLEASE don't lick the doorknobs, we miss you when you don't write!!!

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin is really following in the footsteps of other really strong women, women who scared the pee out of many men. I give you a partial list. You're in good company.

1) Golda Meir
2) Queen Elizabeth (the first)
3) Joan of Arc
4) Benazir Bhutto
5) Margaret Thatcher
6) Abigail Adams

Earl said...

Not that I have any problems with women, but this must be the reason I eat by myself or with men and only watch from afar. Women are wonderful to watch, wickedly. Great post, and I will continue my quiet corners and sober reflections without Oprah or The View to taint my harmony. I still find little children amazing -but then they grow to adults and it takes women until about twenty-four to develope a brain to share with me (in my generation, current I am not sure they ever will the cellphone is in the way.

stbaguley said...

It's all part of the design. If women weren't so mean to each other what would you ever see in US. You travel in flocks until you weary of the peck and parry of survival there. Then you seek solace with us strong silent types. (We are so glad you do!) Men don't like each other much either as a rule, but we have rules of behavior which prevent unecessary bloodshed and allow oganized effort which we enjoy. Occasionally a disaffected female flies our way like a spark out of the fire and likes us! An unusually pleasant experience for both. We like her right back, and feed her 'cause she's little and cute. ..and then she feeds us...and it tastes better (less burnt) after a while she wonders why we don't talk to her enough.. well its 'cause we already said it, once. That all feels about right to me, but the male commenters in this blog world are probably more verbal than most of our tribe.

d smith kaich jones said...

OMG! Baby showers & wedding showers are THE WORST!!!! Those games they try to force you to play!!!! OMG!! (There are not enough OMGs to stress how horrible these events are.) And the decorations!!!!!! (Not enough exclamation points either!) And oh yeah, you're right about the anti-Palin people too!


Zendo Deb said...

Don't do weddings. A dyke friend once called them "identity removal ceremonies - "virginal white" is a bit of insanity whether true or not.

Certainly don't do bridal showers.

My take on the "Palin's Hair" comments are that they want to say something bad, and don't have much to say. But then anyone who doesn't follow the party line is denied dignity by the Left.

The cartoons of Dr. Rice when she was nominated to be Secretary of State are telling.

Anonymous said...

"We all know that women like this are secretly miserable, insecure creatures at their core, seething with adolescent hatred and envy. I suppose I should pity them, but I can't. They're worse than a nest of vipers. My only hope is that they'll soon be poisoned by their own venom...and oh, and how it will sting."

Excuse me, but Breda, didn't you just do to women the very thing you say you hate about them? Name calling, bitch about them, cattiness, being mean, etc. Should make you hate yourself if you use your own logic.

Just saying might want to take a look at your own biases and hatred before you judge someone else's.

doubletrouble said...

Good one Breda!

Now that I have that insight into the female mind, please excuse me whilst I go wash out my brain with bourbon.

Julie said...

"Put me in a group of women and in a few short minutes I'm looking for an exit."

yep, i'm like that too ... i vividly remember one 45min conversation that i couldn't escape from on what underarm deoderant is "best" ... eeek ... give me a bunch to guys to chat to any day (cars, guns, alcohol - even sport ... i can do those topics :) )

John B said...

Yep, I used to drive & carry for lingerie parties, and when the Bitchfest began, I'd leave. usually packing stuff up. I really feel sorry for the women who have to tear others down, to build themselves up. Knowing that you are not one of those girls, prompts me to again ask the age old question.

Why, oh why, are all the good ones already taken?

Robert Langham said...

I knew you didn't like that dip.

Margie K said...

Whoa. Is this MY post? How weird. This could be MY journal.

You said it all, sister. I'm in there with you.


Old NFO said...

A good primer for us old farts... The one thing I have always wondered is why women think a cone of silence descends over them at lunch/dinner/bar and they cannot be overheard??? Some of the things I have heard women talk about in public actually embarassed me! I would not have believed anyone would say that in private, much less in public!!! Graphic does not being to describe it.

Anonymous said...

Can't you arrange for a certain male to phone you and see if he needs rescuing???

Anonymous said...

And you wonder why people admire you?


Tam said...


The Democrat next door and I were commiserating over this very thing yesterday. Albeit without the Palin connection, of course. We usually avoid politics in favor of a more pleasant conversation.

I have mostly worked around nothing but guys for many years, and enjoy it immensely. (Even if it did leave my vocabulary somewhat coarsened.)

Bob said...

To the ladies: Is it a tomboyish thing? Did most of you grow up with brothers and engage in activities that would be perceived as masculine? It's actually a good subject for discussion.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that The Lord of The Flies would have been a lot more disturbing if that plane had been carrying students from an all girl's school.

Holly said...

Sadly, the type of female you describe here are the type that give the rest of us a bad name.

Don't worry dear, water seeks its own level. Being discriminate in your companions certainly doesn't mean there's anything wrong with YOU.

And it is, as you observed, behavior that originates from insecurity--as evidenced by that anonymous poster above.

LabRat said...

Bob- not necessarily. I didn't have a brother until I was ten and never spent all that much time with him, but I simply never got on all that well with other little girls. (Not all that well with boys either until I was a teenager, but I definitely found the friend place before the potential-girlfriend one.) I didn't have real women friends at all until I was a adult, and they're still now mostly men.

It seems to be a matter of temperament as much as upbringing.

Julie said...

bob - i had a brother & a sister (and she's pretty much like me too), i guess at school i used to hang out with the other girls because that's what you did - but i was never particularly social anyway ... spent 6 years travelling & working on my own (in my 20s) and there was a lot more guys doing that than gals. I've also mainly worked in "male dominated" fields/companies (computing) ... my friends now are mainly guys. I think it is probably more attitude and temperament than family structure.

Kevin said...


If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man. Mike would probably find it interesting, too. I did a (short) piece on it last year, and that piece included a link to a Rachel Lucas post on the topic of women and bitchiness. You might find both worthy.

Holly Klingler said...

I'll add at least two more people to the list that brad_in_ma stated.

7. Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz
8. Hypatia

This of course is far from exhaustive. Nevertheless, I say "Amen, Sister!" to what you've said. I myself have always felt like a black sheep amongst women. This is because, like you said, the typical woman is the gossipy, materialistic, superficial, lack-of-regard-for-intelligence, type. On the other hand, we have the Femi-nazis, who are always on their soap-box calling for the advance and rally of "herstory" ad nauseum, chastising women and men for their propagation of the chauvinist society. I am of neither camp. Believe me, I want fairness, I think women are strong, intelligent, gracious, inspiring, etc. Well they can be. But they feel they either need to either use their "feminine whiles" and knock other women down a few notches, or destroy a system all together. Yes, women do need to work harder, yes they still sometimes have to play in " a man's world". But they can do it without cattiness and without bra-burning. There are women out there that are making us proud, including Palin, and I hope that continues to rub off on our fellow women.