December 12, 2007

In the Company of Men

I started a scriptwriters group a number of years ago. We meet once a month to critique each other’s work and offer support and to enjoy the camraderie.

I walked into last nights meeting and found I was the only female in the group. We talked about the new generation of video cameras, our recent travels, and how we might share our work online. We critiqued one of the member’s musical numbers and we caught up with each other, exchanging news, advice, and ideas.

It was just like a meeting I might have had with my other writers group, a nonfiction group composed entirely of women, except that the subject of children never came up.

That got me thinking. The men I hang around with (most of whom have grown children) don’t spend much time talking about their kids, yet the women do, even long after the kids have left the nest.

Is it a gender identity thing? Given that most of the women I know took on the bulk of the child-rearing tasks, is it more difficult for them to make the transistion from parent to empty-nester than it is for their husbands?

I don’t know. However, it appears, based on some of my recent social interactions with empty-nester women, they are more likely than their husbands to continue to initiate and forge social connections by bringing their kids and grandkids into the conversation.

Where does that leave me, the childfree woman? Talking about the nephews, and the grandniece, I confess. Guilty as charged.

Or, more often, drifting off to join the cluster of men in the room, the ones talking about movies, golf, and politics.

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Dana said...

I think a lot of CF women feel this way.

I've always gotten along better with men anyway, had maybe 1 or 2 good female friends and loads of guy friends. When dating, I enjoyed the company of my BF's guy friends.

And yeah, it's because I get tired of the baby talk. Good grief sometimes it just never ever stops.

It wasn't so bad until I became a military wife. All of them were breeding, and it is all they ever talked about. Not even cute, or funny stuff. They talk about what they ate that day, spit up, poop, the most boring stuff. One time at a get together, there was a 20 minute conversation on how each woman named her kids. First name, middle name, how, why, blah blah!

So I went home and looked up "No Kids" and the rest is history there.

So, I've since met some really nice ladies I consider friends, who's conversations do not revolve around the kids. It's been really refreshing, but at times it's just going to happen. And I still meet plenty of breeders, believe me.

But, my favorite friend is usually one of the guys my husband meets at work!

Kathy said...

I've always had more men as friends than women, and I just assumed it was because of similar interests: I like hockey and computers and tinkering old cameras -- things that generally have more male fans. It never really occurred to me not having children was keeping me from making female friends, but you're right. The men I know rarely talk about their children, even the ones that take an active role in raising them.

GottabeMe said...

I have to agree. I'm bored by baby talk. I mean, sure, I ask about freinds' kids, but I don't want to hear it all the time, or for very long. One thing I have had a hard time with is losing female friends once they have kids and we have nothing in common and they have no time for anything else. I know this is an issue with guys too, but guys don't tend to talk about their kids as much as women do.

I don't have any nieces or nephews, so I can't contribute in that respect either. I too tend to get bored and go talk to someone else.

I have always had an easier time getting along with men than with women. Interesting.

I can understand talking about your kids becuase they were and are a huge part of your life, but I think it's sad that many mothers have a hard time finding anything to talk about with a woman who does not have kids. There are other topics of conversation.

Rebecca Lehmann said...

I guess it makes sense that these mothers don't have much else to talk about: they gave up their interests and identities to have kids! One of the reasons I don't want to have kids is because I don't think it's easy to 'have it all' - you know, an interesting social/intellectual life and a dependent family...

WordWench said...

this explains why many of my best friends have always been men, and why most of my current female friends are either much older than me (widows in their 50s and 60s) or other confirmed "purple women." There is nothing more boring than the "overly ovarian" discussion as coined by a male friend of mine from a few years ago. I want to talk about politics, sports or the book I'm reading, not how often somebody has to breast feed!

The Bat said...

I'm so glad to have found this blog.

I'm 30 and have recently gone through a period of shedding my closest friends of many years because we're just going in different directions when it comes to marriage and children. I think I could have handled the different directions if it weren't for all of the incessant yapping about marriage and children.

I've met a lot of younger men who are similarly obsessed with discussing their children, but it's also easier to the steer the conversation away into other territory. In the right company, all I have to say is, "I don't want to talk about your children," and no one cares.

Say that to a woman? Likely never speak to that woman again.

I get so tired of women my age having nothing else to say.