• author
    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • March 30, 2014 in Columnists

    Honey, you want me to talk to my friends about you. Trust me…

    A number of years ago, my husband gave me a look of anguish and mortification and accused “You talk to people about me.  Don’t you?”

    I felt a moment of absolute guilt, because I hate it when people talk about me, too.  I’m nothing if not honest, though.  “Yes, I do.”

    He closed his eyes, pained.

    “Look,” I began, firming up my spine.  “You have a choice.  I can talk to nobody about what’s going on and keep it all bottled up and then, when I get home, I can let it explode all over you.  Or, I can talk to my trusted women friends who totally get the Women’s Venting Code of Honor.  They know I’m with you because I love you and I know they’re with their loves because they love them.  That our beloveds are very good people and we just need to vent, but we won’t share it all over town and we won’t hold it against you all, either.  And after I talk to them, and I’ve worked some of it through and blown off steam, I can come home and work on it with you with love and civility.

    So, choose.”

    I watched him process this, watched his eyes get huge and panicked at the idea of Global Thermonuclear Maya vs. Calm and Collected Maya.  He held up his hand in surrender.  “No!  Go ahead!  Talk it out!  Really!  Great idea!”

    For those of you who are partnered with women, I want to tell you that if she has friends (usually women, but not always) to bring her woes to first, before she talks to you, call yourself blessed.  If we talk it over with our friends, then we’ve already processed much of it.  We’ve had smart, rational people tell us if it’s our bullshit or yours.  We’ve already begun to cope, to strategize and we’ve definitely calmed down (unless, of course, it’s that bad, and then nobody in the world is going to save you from it).

    If we’ve had a chance to vent, then we’re already halfway to being able to take whatever situation we’ve found ourselves in and turn it into progress in our relationship.  Doesn’t that sound better than scorching off half the hair on your head with our words alone?  I thought so, too.

    Keep in mind, because women vent to each other, we have to adhere to the Women’s Venting Code of Honor.  We have to.  None of us is stupid.  If you were bad people, we wouldn’t be with you, so when we vent, bitch, kvetch, grumble and whine about you, we know the people we’re venting to, who also vent, bitch, kvetch, grumble and whine about their partners will still understand that you are a quite marvelous person who just happens to be human – which is intrinsically annoying.

    Hell, I’m annoying.  Irritating, too.  Of course I am.  So are you.

    So when you meet these people, they’re not going to look at you with disdain, contempt or dislike (unless it was that bad, in which case, you would deserve it).  They’re going to get that you are a particularly wonderful human being, in fact, because you are the person we have chosen to love.  Since nobody’s mamas here raised any fools, we’ve chosen quite well.

    It’s just that human thing again.

    So – if we vent to our friends about you, if we bitch, kvetch, grumble and whine about you, be glad.  It actually means we love you enough to get frustrated with you.  If we didn’t love you, we wouldn’t bother.

    In fact, if we stop venting, bitching, kvetching, grumbling and whining about you, be afraid.  Be very afraid.  It means we’ve moved on.  We just don’t care anymore.  And that would be the saddest thing of all.

    This is dedicated to my friend, Jackie, who told me I needed to write this column and who is a past master in the art of the Women’s Venting Code of Honor.

    You look at me like this and  just melt.  All the rest is small stuff.

    So, far, it’s all been small stuff — for nearly 29 years…


    • Vent away,

        • Maya North

        • March 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm
        • Reply

        Why, thank you 😀

    • Oh I love! Yes, sometimes we not only need to vent, we need to know other people go through the same things we do. We are all imperfectly human so there is no relationship that comes without flaw and occasional unhappiness. I came to the point for myself when I decided it wasn’t worth venting. I either had to accept it for what it was or move on. “Venting beneath the code of honor” is great until a person does it all the time! Great column, as always Maya.

        • Maya North

        • March 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm
        • Reply

        Exactly! If men could do it the way we do, it would be very good for them, actually. However, there’s a reason why you never see articles in men’s magazines about “What Turns Women Off” and “How to Keep a Relationship With a Woman.” The fact is, men need women more than women need men — we have each other; they have only us. I also do understand that there are people who want to bewail things but never, ever progress, but that’s a whole ‘nother column, love. And thank you <3

      • Kelvin

      • March 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm
      • Reply

      I think there’s an incorrect assumption here that men don’t do the same thing. And while this may work for some people, for others it’s disastrous. There are plenty of women who complain about their man to a friend only to have that friend use the information to sleep with her man. Or I’ve known women who complain about their man to a female friend and that friend wants her to leave him. When she doesn’t leave the guy it causes friction in the friendship. I’m not saying that it doesn’t work for you. But I know people where it’s boomeranged and destroyed their relationship.

        • Maya North

        • March 30, 2014 at 5:19 pm
        • Reply

        Sure it can, but most often in my experience, not so much. Most of the time, I just get clarity even as I try to give it. Of course, I don’t consort with people who would want to cheat with my husband, and I’m not the sort who would cheat with theirs. You do have to be judicious about your choices of people in whom to confide. Sometimes you SHOULD leave them, though. I’ve learned just to listen and tell people to follow their own hearts and instincts…

    • Sometimes we write columns about them too! And, as a bonus…. we found out if they’re reading our work!

    • This is so tweu, so tweu. I don’t care if people talk about me. Everybody knows my business anyway.

    Leave a Comment