Our last year in Georgia I had the fun of having my brother and sister-in-law move into town. My sis happens to be one of those outgoing people that is a lot of fun to be around. About a month after she moved into town it seemed like she had more friends than I'd made over the four years I lived there. It kind of made me wonder if I was an anti-social weirdo. I decided that while in Texas I was going to do my best to step outside of my comfort zone and really try to make an effort to connect with more people...to figure out if I was antisocial or if it's just who I am. I figured I was only there for six months, so even if I made a huge fool of myself I'd be moving away anyways. So there began my social experiment. ;)
In the end, I discovered that I don't have a problem with meeting people and being friends in a loose, shallow way. I can meet other moms at the park and chat about potty training like a champ. Here's a few things I've picked up over the years about other women.
1. It's expensive. Apparently, to be a real woman, you have to get manicures. I've never gotten one, so I'm a little of an outcast. If you can pay your bills, I don't care if you want to drop fifty bucks on your nails, but personally, I have a thousand other things I want to spend my money on. Second lesson: Don't ever tell another woman that you've never gotten a manicure. It will become their life mission to have you get one.
2. Women (and people in general) are a lot of drama. It makes me feel a little sorry for Joel that he has to live with one, although I'm prideful and want to believe I'm not that bad. I don't know that many people and yet I've been in the middle of several friendship splits. Someone voted for the other guy during presidential elections? Consider that a unpardonable sin. Forget to add a little winky guy at the end of a sentence that slightly opposes what that person says? You guys are through. ;) Don't go to a Scentsy party your friend is hosting because your kid has a fever? That combines the first 1-4!
It's too much for me. I'm too old for that mess.
3. Kids. Kids work both ways. First kids are really awesome because they can get you out of stuff. Don't want to go to a romance party with a bunch of strangers? I'm sure I can find a way to use them to get me of it. The second side though is that kids can keep you from doing a lot of things that you might actually want to do. I don't how many play dates I scheduled while in Texas that had to be postponed because between my kids and theirs someone was always sick. Let me warn you though- if you skip too many dates because your baby happens to be vomiting again, #3 can come up.
4. This goes with #1, but if you want friends, you better be ready to drop money on stuff you don't want. Candle wax, Tupperware, scented edible oils (do you ask for a sample, haha?),purses, jewelry, makeup, stamps...I've seen it all. If you want to do something that doesn't involve getting your nails done or getting drunk, you'll probably be at a party buying stuff. If spending money on things you don't really want causes you anxiety, it's probably not that much fun. If you don't buy anything you're not being a supportive friend. Ya can't win.
5. Judgment. Women are awful. NO ONE knows what judgment feels like quite like the mother who is foolish enough to bring their kid a cookie for a snack amid a group of newly converted-to-organic-diet moms. I shudder at the memory. (Side note, here is what I've discovered: Bring Goldfish crackers, there's not much redeeming value to them, but they seem to be universally accepted. Fruit seems like a safe bet, but you may get a lecture on all the poisonous toxins your child is ingesting. Fruit snacks are as sugary as you can dare to go, but they have the high fructose corn syrup danger to them. Choose your snack wisely)
Last Friday I had a playgroup at my place. (It seemed like a good way to motivate me to get my house cleaned). I can't tell you the panic I felt when I realized that the only kids drink I had was Capri Sun. I spent a lot of time debating what to do. In the end, I went with the bold move, and left it out on the counter. I had seven moms and their kids come, and there was no comment on it, so overall, it was a success.
6. 85% of moms think there is something wrong with their child. I feel that my role as a friend has largely been taken over by reassuring other women that the fact that their two year old would rather pick his nose than play with the other kids is normal. There are a lot of panicked women out there. The other day on my base spouse page one lady was worried because her 3 month old hadn't had any "socialization with other children her age." I don't want to be mean, but it makes me giggle a little. I don't know if it's because I have three kids, or because I tell them what they desperately want to hear, but I have taken to the role of letting moms know that their child is not insane simply because he's the loudest one there at that moment.
7. It actually is nice to have someone to discuss potty training techniques with. It breaks up the monotony of the day, and it can be more fun than sitting on a bench by yourself. I know my husband listens to stuff like that the same way I listen to basketball stats, so it can be nice to "talk shop" with other women.
Anyways, that's the lighter side to what I've discovered, and all said in fun. I'll have the more serious side another day...if you have any discoveries you've made, I'd like to hear them. I'm sure I'll think of more later!