October 17, 2013 by hollyhodgepodge
I never had much use for most girls.
Growing up, I always had more male friends than female friends. Sure, I had a few close girl friends, dabbled in some chick cliques, but mostly I got along better with the boys. And they always seemed to appreciate me more than my female contemporaries did.
Fact (and by “fact” I mean “in my opinion”): Girls can be kind of irritating. We tend to take stuff really personally. I find it much easier to say “no” or “that’s a stupid idea” or “you’re wrong” to a man than to a woman. We’re competitive. I’ll admit it, I feel a little better about myself when one of the beautiful young ladies at the paper comes to work with no makeup on. Trust me, if my sexy, earthy, artistic, adventurous college roommate Zoe or my beautiful, brilliant, brave friend Emily weren’t sweet, funny, humble girls, I would despise both of them from the very core of my being. And as long as we’re being honest, we tend to take ourselves a little too seriously. You know the whole thing about ambitious women being called that bad “B” word? Here’s a secret: A lot actually are.
As a rule, I found, guys were just easier to be around.
But as time went on, and especially as more of us became involved in serious romances, I noticed some male friends starting to slip away. And other, new ones, keeping a careful distance. Funny, I never thought of myself as someone whose availability would determine her worth as a friend.
Fortunately, around the same time I started encountering more women whose company I could enjoy. Smart, creative, funny ladies who are sympathetic but not oversensitive, who value honesty and kindness in equal measure and who don’t get bent out of shape if I disagree with them.
Like Liz, who has seen me do some less than intelligent things and who has never judged me but also hasn’t hesitated to tell me I’m wrong.
Or Elizabeth, who takes a genuine interest in the people around her and who uses every encounter she has to learn and grow. I appreciate having someone like that in my life so much.
There’s Alicia, who is a survivor if I ever knew one and who can accept criticism without defensiveness.
And Chloe, who is warm and bold and loves to laugh. She was my first friend in Chattanooga, approached me before I even officially started the job and invited me to a little party at her house on my second night in town.
There are others too, women I’ve come to love and value. It’s only in the last several years of my life that I’ve spent more time socially with women friends than with men ones. And while I haven’t really become a part of any inner intimate circles — no one has asked me to be a bridesmaid, a fact for which I’m told I should be grateful, but it’d be nice to be asked — I’ve come to place a greater worth on my friendships with other women than I once did and to appreciate their presence in my life.
But girls, I’d really appreciate if you’d all gain about 20 pounds, or not get married before me, maybe have some sort of career failure or lose a talent or two. I might like you better.
Originally published Sept. 23, 2011 in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
A reader response:
I have to be honest with you, I have never read your piece, aritcle or whatever it’s called , until today. I believe I was supposed to read it though because I can really relate to it. I am a 47 year old wife, mother and homemaker. I have, like you, always been more comfortable around men as opposed to women. The difference with me is that I still don’t have any women friends.
I had one fairly close friend a few years ago.The friendship lasted about 2 years but when I put my son in public school, we parted ways. I had homeschooled him and she also homeschooled her son. I have a few female aquaintances at church but none I would consider to be close friends. Other than that, I’ve never really had any close female friends. I know I could make male friends easily but, my husband might not be in favor of that idea, understandalby.
I am so much more relaxed and at ease around men and always have been. Whenever I’m around women, I feel like I can’t really just be myself, and I don’t even know why. I know you’re not a psychologist, at least I guess you’re not, but do you have any idea what may be the reason for this? Do you know why you were like this? I was just wondering.
Also, do you have any suggestions on how I can be more relaxed and comfortable around women? And, do you know where I can go, what I can do, and how I can make some friends?
I haven’t talked to anyone else I know about this because I don’t want them to think I’m some sort of loser. I mean, I’m fairly decsent looking, in pretty good shape; I like to work out etc., I’m very healthy when it comes to diet, I’m a Christian and I think I’m pretty easy going in general. My biggest fault right now is that I’m depressed because I’m very lonely. If I had someone to talk to on a regular basis and someone to go places with, I really believe it would help me to break out this lonely state I’m in right now.
Thanks for you time and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. I will start reading your piece every day 🙂