Boys to the Left, Girls to the Right

February 6, 2007 at 4:24 am (Uncategorized)

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I spent as much time with my male friends as I did with my female. No, really. It’s true. I know you’ll find it incredible, and laugh a low I-don’t-think-so-missy laugh, but I remember the days, long ago, before gender demarcation became the law of the land. We all did things together. We all mingled as one. We were perfectly at home talking boy-girl, girl-boy for the duration of a social event. And they were happy, simple times.

I have to admit, it’s really starting to give me the screaming shits that getting together with a group of friends now invariably involves the guys herding like docile bovines into one area, and the girls standing clustered, skirts gently twirling, in another. When and why did this happen? It’s so cliched, so absurdly “Aussie barbie, mate” that I want to laugh or scream every time it happens. And it’s happening a lot. Men drift to the bbq and the beer fridge, women float toward the ottomans and the champagne bucket. If it wasn’t my life, I’d think I was joking.

Saturday night, we were all at The Three Weeds in Rozelle for Ruben’s belated birthday bash. Great pub, but when Llew and I arrived, he walked up to the pole-position table everyone else was happily sitting around, located in the back bar area, and said “I can’t believe you’re sitting in the only place in the entire pub where we can’t watch the footy.” I thought, “Tough luck, champ,” and sat down.

Well, it didn’t take long for the exodus to begin. Llew and Dan went first, disappearing to the front bar (and the all-important, no-night-is-complete-without-it, sorry-whose-birthday-? television). I thought they’d return, but they didn’t, irrespective of just how rude and unnecessary it was to break up the party over a game (longest game in history, from my time-keeping) of rugby. And, gradually, the men that were left started to feel emasculated. You could see it registering on their faces as they nervously surveyed the back bar’s soft lighting, decorative touches, and non-smoking signs. They slowly stood up from their seats, stretched, mumbled, and, one by one, vanished.

Soon the girls were the only ones left. We stayed on, all of us, I think, still silently refusing to believe that, once again, we were on one side of Checkpoint Charlie, whilst our husbands, en masse, had fled to the other.

When the barmaid came around announcing last drinks, we looked at each other in bemused disbelief, irritation, indignation, and not a little sadness. We collected our drinks, and went and joined the guys in the filthy smoke-filled, atmosphere-free zone of the front bar. I must have said all of two words to Llew all night, and they weren’t the two extremely rude ones I should have said.

I’m all for, as I have already stated, exclusive time with your own sex. Go crazy, knock yourself out. I’m even all for watching the rugby on a Saturday night if that’s what you’re all gathered to do. Yay team. But what I’m not for, and what I really can’t abide, is how a night out with friends, or a night in for that matter, keeps morphing into a girls’ night in one room and a boys’ night in the other.

I like the company of men. I enjoy my husband’s company. I like all of my male friends, and it pains me that I never get to see or speak to them anymore. Just what century are we living in? On Saturday night, we were relegated to what effectively became the ladies’ saloon. As in days of yore, the women were tucked around back, out of sight and for all intents and purposes on another planet from the men. And I think that fucking stinks. I love my female friends, and we had a good time, but I want to go back to the good old days, when catching up with everyone meant…well, just that.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah said,

    hhmmmm….i can’t help but wonder if it’s got something to do with the type of boys? the classic aussie male strikes again perhaps?! i mean i don’t remember it happening at Tim’s farewell drinks – i spent my night speaking to groups of boys AND girls there. same with Clinton & Suz’s gang of 20 or so – there always seems to be a good mix there. whatever the cause, i agree – it’s weird. S

  2. doctordi said,

    Oh I think it’s v-e-r-y classic Aussie male, I just can’t believe that lumpen cliche actually exists, nor that I’m apparently married to it!!!! I don’t find it weird so much as insulting, not to mention dull, but I’m extremely heartened to know not everyone is trapped in a 1950s cul-de-sac horror show.

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