By Robin Jean Marie Conte
I’m driving down Ga. 515 with my husband and we pass the sprawling store that we always pass, the one that’s a combination of barn and warehouse. It’s marked with a sign sporting two massive, spurred cowboy boots and the enticing advertisement: “Western Wear, Tack & Feed.”
My husband spoke. “See that place? I drove by it last month with my brother, and he told me he went in there.”
“Oh, really?” I replied, honestly intrigued by what might lie beyond its barn-sized doors, and ruminating about the meaning of tack. “What did he say about it?”
“Nothing. He just said he went in there.”
And that right there, dear readers, is the difference between men and women. Two men are in a car together for a two- hour road trip, and that is the extent of their conversation.
Put two women in a car together and throw out that line, and it would serve as a springboard for conversation that would last for the 1 ½ hour remainder of the journey.
We would talk about (most likely in this order): tack & feed and the meanings thereof, jeans, boots, fashions, changing fashions, country music, pop music, Justin Bieber, our children, our children, our children, schools, teachers, sports, weight gain, boot camp, our children, yoga, diets, Obamacare, mothers, life coaches, book groups, appliances, and our children.
And that’s if there were only two women in the car. With each additional woman, the length of the conversation would grow exponentially, so that if there were four women in the car, that one initial comment would take us clear to Idaho.
My husband is constantly astounded by the fact that women are almost never at a loss for something to say, and I am constantly astounded by the fact that men almost always are.
Some call it “the gift of gab,” and I do consider it a gift. I can cover more topics during one hour with my dental hygienist than I do during three days with my husband, and this is of course, while my teeth are being cleaned.
That is why book groups are so popular with the ladies. They serve as another reason to get together and talk. We gather over food and beverage and we do, in fact, have a discussion about the book (because somebody’s bound to have read it) then we spin-off into various conversations, in the way that CSI spins-off into various new series.
Book groups will never catch on with men. There are men who read, of course; there are men who will find a book they really like, but they’re not going to sit around with each other on a Tuesday night and talk about it. If they’re going to sit around together, they’ll choose an activity (such as watching a ball game) that requires them not to talk, but only to jump up occasionally and yell.
Which brings me to Super Bowl parties. They are the perfect crowd pleaser: They provide a non-verbal activity for the men while also providing another opportunity for the women to gather in the kitchen and talk.
I can hear the cries of “sexist!” mounting throughout the city, but I do realize that there are mold-breakers out there. You can find the occasional woman who knows that there are 60 minutes in a football game, just as you can find the occasional man who is interested in discussing “The Fault in Our Stars.”
But I’m not squabbling over differences – I’m embracing them. We women are social networkers of the most extraordinary sort; communication is a valuable and essential skill, and women excel at it.
So, good for us.
Now I know that the Super Bowl is on in the next room, though I don’t know who’s playing, and I don’t know the score.
But I’d love for you to sit down next to me while we sip some wine together and have a chat.
Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.