In yesterday’s newspaper the advice columnist (agony aunt) answered a person who did not like the personal nature of conversations among women at work. She gave some sort of sappy advice, my advice to the complainer would be to go back into their cave! If you can’t share your life and concerns with your friends, who can you share it with?
I belong to several different groups of women, we come together for different reasons, and each group involves a different amount of sharing. The Mennonite book group is obviously not made up of wild women, but they have all had a life and offer an interesting and different world view. The same is true of my sorority and my exercise group. But my quilting and knitting groups, supposedly the purview of traditional, conventional, staid women is a different matter altogether.
We tell stories about: stupid things that men do, sex, family, health, menopause, etc. and laugh and commiserate. What we occasionally forget is that it is a public gathering and that sensitive souls could be shocked by the frankness of us old dames. We also talk about books, movies, art and culture, food and recipes, and our actual projects. As far as I can remember we have never discussed the latest fashions, except to laugh at young women who wear them.
However, there are a few rules for me about what kind of women’s groups to belong to. Any woman’s group with a president and a budget will involve endless, and I do mean endless, discussion of how to spend the money. At these events I find my self wishing to do anything to escape, including formulating plans to dig an tunnel, pulling the fire alarm, pretend to have a seizure, etc. There are some poor souls who apparently have no opportunity to express themselves, once they have the floor they will not relinquish it save for an earthquake occuring. Then there are the know-it-alls, they are to avoided at all cost because they don’t actually listen, it’s all about them.
It is freeing to be able to discuss anything with a group of women, we are not necessarily like-minded, it provides a forum to share our concerns of life in general and our specific experiences of being women. At least one husband would be murdered if his missus did not have a place to vent. The groups let us turn trials and tragedies into funny stories about the essential comedy of life.