Monday, April 11, 2011

i need an umbrella: it's raining men

While I don't much care for cleaning up dead rats, I'm not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination.


With the exception of ticks, the handling or touching of insects doesn't bother me. If an insect flies in to the house, it's survival generally depends upon my finding and releasing it to the outdoors, because my less compassionate husband will squash it like ... well, a bug.

Tonight, panic ensued when a "stink bug" landed on Carolyn. My daughter was screaming so loudly you'd think she had inhaled it. These (pesky) little bugs are so prevalent around here, I've become quite accustomed to their buzzing wings and general presence.

But my daughter, as the tears were streaming down her face, was delirious. I tried to console her. "Sweetheart. What is that thing you sleep on every night? It's a Pillow Pet. What kind of Pillow Pet? A LADY BUG Pillow Pet. Say it with me. Lady BUG! BUG! BUG!" She screamed and cried. So I continued, "You've been telling me that you want a pet." I scooped up the stink bug on a sheet of paper and as I was carrying it outside said, "This one would be perfect!"

Elizabeth just shook her head at me. "Mom, that's something that a BOY would like, but not us. We're GIRLS, Mom. Remember?"

Oh. Right. Sorry Dear.


In my former assignment, I was on a team of eight and 50% were women. Us ladies would have the most wonderful time together whenever we'd meet. We were efficient and effective and we completed our work quite well. But we could also relate to one another and share stories and there was an abundance of estrogen and joy.

In my current assignment, I'm surrounded by men. Men, who I should point out, are intelligent and nice and ... lack estrogen. Today, as I was looking over the roster for a project that I'll be working on, I realized that on a team of 30 people, there are three women, and two of those women will only be rarely involved and intermittently at that. So after seven months in this job, it's safe to say I really miss working with other women.

Not to state the obvious, but they're different than men.

When I declared my geology major in college, I was filled with excitement at the thought of a seven to one boy/girl ratio in all of my core classes. But I was 20 and single then. Now I'm almost (not quite yet!) double that age and happily married with four kids and I find myself in a male-dominated work force, surrounded by martians.

I'm from Venus.

I need Venetians who can speak my language.


Several years ago, my husband pointed out that women communicate differently than men. He made that astute observation after sitting between several of my girl friends during dinner and he said that listening to them was like watching a ping pong match. I'd never considered that before, but I've collected enough data over the past few years to validate his conclusion. Women do indeed bounce from subject to subject. They can start on one topic and go full circle, eventually arriving at where they started.

While some might think that this "style" of communication is counter-productive and time consuming, I believe that it is extremely comprehensive and is part of the reason women are in the loop on everything. My husband will stare at me with a look that is partial stupor, partial awe as he wonders how I know everything there is to know about everything in the 'hood and I'm rarely home?

It's really no mystery. It's from that one 10-minute conversation with a neighbor I had down the block, while standing in the line at the grocery store.

Charlie, representing the world of men, is much the opposite. If he's talking about football, he's talking about FOOTBALL. He finishes the topic on football and once he's certain that there is absolutely no more talk about football, the conversation will end. Or maybe, if he's feeling really crazy, he might segue in to a discussion on lawnmowers. But whatever happens, there is absolutely NO mixing lawnmower talk with football talk.

Now if there was a woman involved in the discussion, there might be lawnmower talk mixed with football talk, interspersed with, "Hey! Did you know that there's a huge sale at Kohl's this weekend? Did you get the coupon in the mail? I have an extra copy in case you need one. And oh, that reminds me, I have a bag of hand me downs for your daughter."

How are those things related? Because the sale at Kohls reminds you that your husband needs new SOCKS that he might wear while cutting the grass and/or attending a football game and if you're buying NEW clothes, chances are your child outgrew her OLD ones and...



Guys don't get that. Whenever I start to talk about something and shift gears to something else THAT IS TOTALLY RELATED they look confused and interrupt me by saying, "Uh, I'm sorry. What does this have to do with what you were just talking about?"

At first this really offended me. Now, it gives me a headache. And I just don't have the energy to explain it, so I don't and the next thing you know, I'm talking like a man by sticking to one topic at a time and I can feel my soul start to wilt. To the point that I'm telling my children a STINK BUG would make a mighty fine pet. Worst of all, perhaps, I'm ordering tickets to go watch a professional baseball game with 15 men during my team meeting in Boston, and as much as I love the Red Sox and would like to see this game, I'm thinking that I might instead take everyone to see the Vagina Monologues.

But first, I'm taking everyone out for pedicures.


STAYING ON TOPIC, HERE: how do you like my toes?


Can you tell that this is the handiwork of my Kindergarten-aged daughters, who are self-proclaimed pattern experts?


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