Sunday, March 26, 2006
my female phobia
For reasons I've never fully understood I have always tended to befriend men with greater ease than women. Even when I was a toddler this has been the case - my first friend as a child was my neighbor Tony (that is until he threw me over for my younger brother) - and I am usually more comfortable conversing with men than women. I'm not really sure why this is since I don't have traditionally "masculine" interests (sports, cars, etc), and while it's true that many of my close male friends have turned out to be gay, I still have a fair number of heterosexual male friends and very few close female friends. To be honest, a room full of women tends to make me nervous and I've been told by more than one of my female friends that they didn't particularly like me at first because I came off as bored/rude/snobby, all of which are manifestations of my discomfort around unfamiliar women. Yet, I tend to have a fairly easy time befriending men and if I had to create a list of all of my friends, many of them would be male.

One female venue where I am most uncomfortable is at a wedding shower (second only to a baby shower). Even if the hostess is kind enough to not make me play shower games like "guess what type of melted candy bar is in the diaper" (baby shower specific) or "who can make the best wedding gown out of toilet paper," I still tend to be very uncomfortable just sitting at a table with a group of women making small talk over tiny sandwiches and watching a friend or family member open gifts. My discomfort with showers is bad enough, but couple it with having to walk into a room full of unfamiliar women and it takes every ounce of courage I have not to drop my gift off at the gift table and quickly turn around to slip out the door.

And it is this very same situation that I found myself in yesterday. I was invited to a wedding shower on Saturday for a woman who I like a lot, but who I don't know very well yet, consequently I know next to none of her friends or family members. I very nearly didn't go to the shower, in fact, I waited until 12 hours before the event itself to RSVP, but I've been trying to overcome my introversion a bit as of recent and decided that I must force myself to go. I walked through the doors of the shower slightly late, greeted the bride, set my gift down on the table and looked around the room, searching hopefully for someone who I knew. I became crestfallen when no such familiar person appeared, so I did what any mature, 27-year-old woman would do - I ran to hide in the bathroom.

I had no need to be in there, so I set my purse down on the counter and proceeded to unnecessarily touch up my make-up and hair, trying to avoid eye-contact with the woman who was washing her hands in the sink next to me. When she looked up my eyes met hers and I discovered something spectacular - she was my friend Michelle. Neither one of us expected the other to be there so the pleasant shock of seeing her there was enough to make me downright giddy. She admitted that she was hiding in the bathroom too and I was so happy to see her that I very nearly kissed her. With a tremendous sense of relief, we both left our self-imposed banishment in the bathroom and reentered the shower, searching out a table in the far back of the room where we could be awkward and uncomfortable together.

So here's to the awkward women - women who don't do small talk well, women who aren't particularly comfortable holding your baby, women who feel hopelessly judged in a roomful of other women - we want to fit in, really we do, we just don't know how.


Blogger Carrie said...

This story makes me smile - I can totally picture this little reunion. Sorry I missed out on hanging out with you guys...

Blogger MAW said...

You were missed, Carrie. Hope Chicago was awesome, despite the fridgy weather.

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