Venus and Mars
by Amy Ferris & Hollye Dexter
I know it will make me unpopular to say that men and women aren’t equal, but its true. I mean, we are equally capable of course. We can reach the same magnitudes of greatness and accomplishment, but the way we get there is entirely different because – let’s face it, we are not the same animal.
Case in point: Amy and I spend a considerable amount of time weighing what we imagine other people are going to feel about any given situation. We second guess our friends behaviors and surmise what their emotions might be.
“A was a little quiet the other night. You know she’s been really fragile lately. Do you think B said something to upset her?”
“C hasn’t been commenting on facebook. Is she mad about something?”
Things of that sort.
So the other day I’m telling my very kind and patient husband a long drawn out story about something that happened that week and whose feelings appeared to be hurt and should I say something or mind my own business, because after all, she may not have been feeling anything at all and I’m just interpreting it wrong.
At that point my truly sensitive, sympathetic, sweetheart of a guy burst into uproarious laughter.
When he catches his breath, he says,“Oh honey, you can not imagine the enormity of the fuck I do not give.” He continues laughing.
I have to admit, I was a little miffed.
“Seriously sweetie,” he said “Can you imagine me saying this to you: The other day I called John and he seemed distant. I wonder if he’s upset because I had beers with Mark and Dave?”
And then, in spite of myself, I started laughing too. No, I can not ever imagine him saying something like that, nor any of his friends. And that’s where men are lucky. My husband feels no responsibility to take on his friends’ emotions, and they return the favor. Every man for himself.
But women? We are so freekin’ complicated and maybe it’s our intuition, or our built-in caretaking abilities, but we are always digging below the emotional surface. It seems to be in our nature to pick up on every cue, a slight difference in body language, a telling sigh, and geez, can that ever be exhausting. Especially in our relationships with men.
One time, after recounting an argument I’d had with my husband I jokingly said to a lesbian friend, “It must be so easy for you. At least you girls understand each other.”
“Not so easy.” She said. “If one of us is jumping off the emotional cliff, the other one follows.”
So maybe that’s where the Venus and Mars thing comes in handy. When I’m jumping off the emotional cliff, he brings me back to Earth. When he’s skimming the surface I show him how to dive, to see a different world underneath.
This is what I love about my conversations with Hollye. They’re chock full of goodies. And because we share the same exact birthday, we’re often, not always, but often in a similar mood. We share horoscopes, emotions, many (new) girl friends and… it does appear the same type o’ guy. The thing about this particular blog which makes it oh so yummy, is that both Hollye and I had virtually the same exact conversations with our husbands (although slight variations on their & our reactions.)
I said to Ken that I needed/wanted his opinion about someone and something, and should I, you know, mind my own business. Ken looked at me, in a sort of tilting head kind of way, and said, “You know Hon, men never ask these kind of questions, we don’t give a shit if one of our friends is having a beer with another friend and didn’t invite us. We just don’t give a shit.”
And I looked at Ken, tilting my head, and I said, “And this is exactly why you have been married three fucking times, and I have only been married once, okay, and I have an entire virtual room full of Facebook friends and you’re not even on Linked-fucking-In. Nevermind, I’ll go ask Liz what she would do.”
And he laughed, a thank you Jesus kinda laugh.
And so, I called Liz, and asked her what I should do, and we ended up talking about this, that the other thing for a good fifty-minutes and then she said/asked: “Are you going to Amy’s tonight for dinner?” Uh-oh. No. No. I wasn’t invited. Are you I asked. No, she wasn’t invited. But how did she know, I asked. Brenda told her. Uh oh. Brenda? Brenda is going, and we’re not. And then the bulk of our conversation was about the fact we hadn’t been invited and then of course, we went into a whole crazy whacky “wonder why” scenario. Did we say something? Do something? Insult someone? Gossip? Should we call and apologize and try to get invited to the next shindig? Were there other parties, other un-invited events and nights?
Amy is my best friend why wouldn’t she invite me?
I was mortified.
And as I was hanging up, Ken came into my room, and saw that I was mortified – with a capitol M. I waved him off. Go away. Shoo. I said good bye to Liz and felt so, you know… excluded. He thought, assumed someone died. I continued shooing him away. But he pulled it out of me. He did. I didn’t want to share it with him because I knew from his earlier reaction he was going to say, “Oh who gives it a shit, don’t worry… it’s only dinner.”
“Fine, you wanna know. Amy didn’t invite us to dinner, and she’s having a party and…” and before I could finish, he interrupted, the kind of interruption with both hands up and the ‘don’t say another word’ gesture: “Oh shit. I forgot to tell you, she called yesterday. I was supposed to tell you that she was doing a dinner tonight.”
Friendships amongst women can be a tricky thing. We feel too deeply, we care too much. Relationships with men can make us feel like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall half the time. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Early on, a marriage therapist said to Troy and I “Learn how to celebrate your differences.” We’ve held fast to that through the years as we count to ten and try to allow each other to be exactly who we are.
And, as Paul Mc Cartney said, Venus and Mars are alright tonight…
(and PS from AMY: Liz was also invited to the dinner, HER HUSBAND didn’t give her the message!)