Girls’ Night Out
I inadvertently invited myself to a girls’ night out last night by taking the initiative to having a night out with my wife. My wife and I have pretty much made the transition from swapping roles but there were a few things that we hadn’t quite worked out. I wanted to go to dinner with her to spend some quality time together and work out the few remaining details on who would be primarily responsible for certain things. However my wife had already committed to going out with her SAHM group. She offered to cancel but I decided I would just go out with them after we had dinner and our discussion. I would be seeing them more often so I needed to get to know them better. The only time I’ve ever been around them for any real length of time other than the one Tipsy Tuesday was in the context of a birthday party or some other social event where their husbands and my wife was there. I figured seeing them talk amongst themselves with a dose of alcohol included would at least be interesting on some level.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been the only guy on a girls’ night out. I had been forced to haul my little sister and her friends around when they were teenagers by my parents so they wouldn’t have to do it themselves. I would usually sit at another table when we all stopped for fast food on the way to whatever trouble they were getting into but I could easily overhear everything they talked about. When my wife and I were dating, we would often go out with her group of girl friends and I would often be the designated driver. Those experiences gave me a window into the high school and post-college girls’ night out so I was interested to contrast that with a group of mothers of small children. I should probably be taking research notes for publishing in a journal:
Younger females that have yet to reach maturity are, predictably, substantially immature when gathered together. The group reinforcement of immaturity gradual builds into an obnoxious crescendo until it disturbs other patrons sufficiently enough that the manager asks them to leave. This is to be contrasted with the post-collegiate group that expresses less immaturity but does so in alcohol fueled displays of performance homoeroticism. No one asks them to leave but instead continue to ply them with ever increasing quantities of alcohol to further reduce their inhibitions for ever more elaborate performances. After further research it has been determined that on becoming mothers they seem to acquiesce to the inevitable realization that they are in fact maturing. They focus instead on discussing important matters regarding their children and sharing information on the dark alleys of relevant social groups that are to be avoided to enhance group safety.
When we first got there they immediately started discussing someone’s pregnancy and the loss of their mucus plug. I suddenly had the feeling I was in for a long night and checked the TV screens in the bar, found one of them tuned to NHRA qualifying and hoped for the best. But when the conversation turned to our children we all had a great conversation that I would never have had with the guys where I got some important information and advice. My social programs only faulted once when the topic turned to people on the Autism Spectrum and my inner professor managed to force his way out. It was probably a combination of being past my two drink limit and my sympathy for and understanding of people with Aspergers because I deal with them often in the IT world.
Fathers of my generation may be more involved than our fathers were but when we’re together we still revert to the sports, work and women conversational trifecta that we are taught by sitcom dads. We are certainly capable of conversing on a wider range of topics including domestic topics that have historically been primarily allocated to the female of the species but are increasingly becoming gender unspecific. There will always be topics like strappy heels and mucus plugs that men will always be at a loss to grasp and contribute too. But certainly a good place to start for the mixing of genders in conversation would be our children and our neighborhoods. And while I’ll never quite understand why my wife needs so many pairs of black shoes, I do have value for the opposite sex when it comes to explaining why Ironman and Batman never hang out. There is obvious value in cross gender mixing not directly related to mating and we ignore it to our collective disadvantage.
I think my inner professor got out again. Oh well, class dismissed.