This is not false humility. Bizarrely I can't understand even English lyrics on the radio the first time I hear them. My selective hearing is yet another reason why it is so much easier to read foreign-language texts than to understand to foreign-language radio, not to mention instructions.
And with that happy thought, I will now examine a guide to the airport.
I like travel, but it really, really stresses me out.
Update: Okay, I have figured out my route. It is really quite easy.
Update: Okay, I have figured out my route. It is really quite easy.
I don't know if this is something you would be interested in, but could you write about what to do when you find yourself sitting silently in a group of women discussing their husbands and children? As I get older, it seems like every time I'm in conversation with more than one woman (even among family!) inevitably, the conversation will quickly turn to pregnancy and birthing stories, potty training techniques, husband stories, etc. Not only is it painful knowing that it's likely at this point that I'll at least never have my own pregnancy and birthing stories, but it makes me feel ridiculous and lonely to just sit there while everyone else is swapping stories.ReplyDelete
I've gotten to the point where there are certain women that I try to avoid even being with one on one, because all they can seem to talk about is their children. :( I'm really glad that people are getting married and having babies and I do enjoy cute kid stories, but there's only so much one-sided conversation I can take and honestly, my nieces and nephews are the only ones I'm willing to sit through tons of boring description about.
Is it wrong to excuse myself from such conversations, if I can do it without being rude? (And try to avoid being put in these situations? I don't mean avoiding family and close friends, but more along the lines of not interacting as much with the women who also work (via computer) for my workplace, etc.) I'm on the introverted side so I do worry that I have a tendency to want to stay home from events anyway . . . but it really is painful to always be sitting there with nothing to say. And I've tried bringing up some other topic, but I always get weird looks, and bam, two minutes later the conversation is back to a discussion of how to get your two-year-old to eat veggies.
And if there are any moms reading this, I honestly do not mean this as something bad!! I totally understand why married women/moms talk about their husbands and children so much . . . I just want to know what I can do as someone who doesn't have these stories to swap. :(
No, it is not wrong, if you can do it unobtrusively, and yes, you can try to avoid being in these situations. Work is, after all, for work. Just don't inadvertently make anyone think you despise her for her limited conversation, for this will not improve your life.ReplyDelete
However, when caught in Mommy Chat, your nephews and nieces are your "In." Presumably you have tried to feed them veggies, and so have something to say about that. There are groups (cities?) of women who talk, not to exchange information, not to get excited by ideas, but merely to create a feeling of togetherness. Talking becomes a great warm fuzzy blanket of femininity, and you add a few stitches when you contribute, "My niece...." or "My nephew..." If something is puzzling you about Childland, you can ask about it: "What's this "Frozen" craze?" "What are the Minions, and are they good for kids?" Giving the impression you like kids (as you do) will be good for togetherness, although beware of women asking you if you aren't tempted just to, you know, go to a bar and get knocked up. (Sorry, but a Mommy asked me that.) Female conversational cohesion can really go too far.
As for going out at night, I'd avoid parties of parents and find events for Singles instead. MOST night time events are for the Single or at any rate the childless as people with children don't seem to go out all that much. That said, if you like staying home best, stay home. Home is a nice place. There is no law saying thou shalt go out and be social when you would rather be at home.
But if you long for conversation at work, see if you can talk more often with male colleagues, or seek out the other Single and childless female colleagues, if there are any.
Thank you so much, Auntie Seraphic!!!Delete
And that is an awful thing to suggest to someone!! (To go to a bar and get knocked up.) I'm sure she was probably well-meaning, but it's just totally sad that our society thinks that sort of thing is fine.
I do love to talk about my nieces and nephews (so adorable!!), but oddly, it just makes me feel even more pathetic in these conversations to be always talking about my sister's experiences. :( But oh, well! I'm so blessed to have wonderful younger siblings and nieces and nephews.
Well, as far as childlessness goes, I am in the same boat. But I don't think of my nephews and niece as belonging solely to my siblings, or of my siblings having all the experiences of them.Delete
No, no! I am their auntie, so they also belong to ME, and my encounters with them are my own experiences. (Come here and I will show you the portraits of our family my niece and I created together.) Naturally they are the cleverest, most valuable children in the entire world, so when I am feeling blah, I think about them--and a few chosen favourites among my friends' children.
Love is never pathetic. And auntiedom is why women live past our fertility sell-by date. Did you know that? It would appear that human women live so long as a kind of insurance for human children, mothers once having had a tendency to die young a lot--in childbirth, etc. Not sure how this works, but I read it in Natalie Angiers' "Woman: An Intimate Geography."
So, in short, women have two "biological" roles--biological mothers and back-up foster mothers, and the second includes AUNTS!
Oh, sorry! I didn't mean that love is pathetic!! I just meant that if a group of women are all sitting around talking about, say, how they felt during pregnancy, it makes me feel pathetic to be offering stories or comments about my sister's pregnancies instead. Like I'm desperately trying to fit in where I don't. :(Delete
And thank you, your comments about aunties are so encouraging!!!
Oh dear. You shouldn't feel pathetic. I wouldn't feel pathetic, and I'm not pregnant either. I might feel a bit bored, although I must say pregnancy doesn't sound boring. So much drama and running around and bodies swelling and all sorts of attendant horrors. Really, you can't help what goes on at work, I suppose, but your social life is what you make of it. I'm constantly around childless people.Delete
I have a child but I still talk a lot about my nieces and nephews in these conversations! Feel free to chime in about them, though sorry the convo is so limited.Delete
Socially, maybe a book club? We have a small one. Two of us have small children and are pregnant, but this is usually not the focus of the conversation. Yesterday we talked about democracy vs christiandom, life on the American frontier, and other topics. Yesterday we talked about pregnancy a bit more than normal as one of the others is newly pregnant, but in addition to our own desires to discuss other things, I think we are all aware that its rude not to limit these conversations (I'm sorry the people you are around aren't!)
This weekend a Smug Married asked me about my dating life. I said I didn't really feel like talking about it (I find it a boring topic). He was like, but I love your stories. So reluctantly I told a few. Because they involved dates and people I did not particularly enjoy, or that didn't go anywhere, he later says, you're really picky, you know?ReplyDelete
Yes, I know am I picky. Am I supposed to feel bad about that?
Ugh!!! What a dumb thing to say to someone. :P I'd be so tempted to say 'So you think I should just lie back and think of England, huh?' lol!! Or ask him if he settled for his wife. Just to shock the smugness right out of him.Delete
Don't ask him if he settled for his wife. Ask him if he thinks his wife settled for him! How to really hit his male ego... :DDelete
Oh man. He badgers you into stories that confirm him in his smug marriedness, and then he insults you.ReplyDelete
I once said online I hoped to find a funny, intelligent guy who was a devout Catholic and had a job he enjoyed, and some guy wrote that I was really picky. "You're really picky" is basically meaningless.
But can picky actually be okay? I don't really feel like it's an insult when I apply to myself, or when my parents would apply it to me -- as in, it's okay that you haven't dated much/don't have a boyfriend -- you're picky [i.e. have high standards] about who you want to be with, and that's a good thing. Maybe it's the context that's different here.ReplyDelete
Anna, your comment made me think of something else and it's half a question for Seraphic, but I'm not sure if I can express it clearly, but here goes: I keep having the experience where I share stories about myself or my crushes or dates/flirtatious interactions so on with my close friends, because it's fun to talk about and I suppose I'm advice-seeking, and they all have opinions on me and what's going on, naturally. (The context is I'm a late-twenties, pretty much never dated single.) But they seem to have a very different perspective on me than I do on myself: sort of like how Anna's friend interpreted the dates not going anywhere as her being picky, my friends tell me I'm not dating because 'I'm afraid'. (Of getting close to someone, of whatever.) I disagree -- I mean, I'm not super comfortable with some of the... expectations or assumptions of our happy hook-up society -- but I am not afraid of being with someone, if it is the right someone. So I was wondering, is this what we single girls look like to the rest of the world? Does everyone assume we're alone because we're afraid? I feel what I have is the quiet confidence to wait for the right person, if I am meant to be married, and I am hurt that this is perceived by others as fear and self-enforced isolation. (One friend in particular thinks that I am basically too old to learn how to interact romantically and probably will never successfully be in a relationship. She's mid-twenties and married. I'm going to be gracious and say that youth can be blind. Or maybe she's a smug married? :) )
Your friend's comment almost made me spit my drink out all over the keyboard, Michelle! What in the world does 'too old to learn how to interact romantically' even mean? You can age out of that? Lol! And I'm sure you've been successful in tons of relationships in your life. Why should a romantic one be any different? Personally, I think single women in their mid-late twenties or older who haven't dated much are much better able to have good romantic relationships, because they've matured out of the silliness of their early twenties without having to drag a lot of baggage from earlier relationships that have broken off. :/Delete
I met a lady once who was married for the first time when she was 80 to her best friend's widower (and I don't think she dated very much before that). And I've met other women who have gotten married in their 40's or older, and they all have wonderful marriages.
And that's an interesting way of looking at 'too picky.' Hmm. I hadn't thought of that.
Michelle, yes, your friend is a smug married.Delete
The thing about friends is that they often haven't the foggiest clue WHAT they are talking about. Sometimes they have good insights,butvery often they are just wrong. Their answers often have as much to do (or more) with their own fears and beliefs than they have to do with you. Wise old ladies are better sources of knowledge, but we/they aren't fallible either.
Keep on having these conversations if you find them fun and create feelings of closeness in the group (which is what all the endless, often brainless female babble is for), but don't for the love of heaven take them seriously.
In terms of meeting men, think in terms of making friends, good colleagues, professional contacts. That way, romance will take care of itself.
Ah! Thank you both booklover and Seraphic for replying. I'm sort of paraphrasing when I said, 'too old to learn how to interact romantically' because she was both harsher and more specific than that. I think she means everything from, I don't know, cuddling, to learning to live with another person. I agree with you, booklover -- I feel that with maturity and knowing oneself comes a better ability to be in any kind of relationship.Delete
You're right, Seraphic; I do find these conversations fun and they do build closeness, but I guess I try to take everyone's opinion too seriously because I'm looking for answers -- and I forget that advice, especially from us young things, is often really impartial. That's why I like your blog so much! Truly. (And I've been finding lately that maybe there is some danger in revealing too many personal things through these frilly girly conversations in the name of building friendship, or at least one opens oneself up to others' criticism.) Actually, it's funny because I do have some older women friends in my parish, one of whom is like a spiritual grandmother, and I was telling her about your blog -- she recognized your name from the CR and says she quite likes your column! (She's also a TST MDiv grad -- Regis, I think.)
Woot! The Catholic world is a small world indeed!Delete
Woot! The Catholic world is a small world indeed!Delete
I wonder if this is an anti-introvert problem. Society says we should be go-getters, "putting ourselves out there", etc., when most introverts like a nice evening with a cup of tea and some books, or maybe seeing a close friend or two. So much pressure to be a certain way that doesn't jive with introverts' makeup.ReplyDelete
Absolutely. Meanwhile, I am not sure I believe in all this "putting yourself out there" stuff. The thing to do is to meet the friends of your friends. Traditionally, it is among friends (or brothers) of friends where husbands are found. Benedict Ambrose was (and is) a friend of my friends Aelianus and Berenike--the first and best friends I made solely through my blogging. So even in the world of the internet the "friends of friends" tendency applied.Delete
I tried to go out and meet new people, but generally did not have a good time (a lot of people I met were boring, I prefer small gatherings, etc)... Then I met my husband while having coffee with my grade school best friend. Whose other friends are mostly musicians who smoke a lot of pot and don't have much direction. So a very unlikely source of a good catholic husband!Delete