Friday, May 14, 2010

Bar Talk : It's Not All Trash Talk With Men

"I don't want you telling your friends about this!"

What?

I stood and stared. Was she kidding or just hopeful? I wanted to laugh. But, the mood wasn't cheerfilled. She had just articulated a perceived problem she felt we had in our relationship. I would have said, "Oh my God woman! Men don't talk about women!" She wouldn't have believed me.

But it's true. Men don't talk about women. Okay wait. That's not true. We talk about women; we don't talk about a woman.

Now I have a vast variety of friends. In the last week I've sat with 6 different male friends in 4 different bars. The men range in age from 26 to 57. Their levels of education range from high school graduates to graduate degrees. Our level of friendships range from nearly brothers to new acquaintances. Their socioeconomic statuses vary as much as a tipping level. Spiritually they spot all spectra.

These are the topics we discussed: (In full disclosure - these are as entire as my memory permits.)

  • The Economy
  • The Fishing Opener
  • Sex
  • Golf
  • Work
  • The Minnesota Twins
  • Tits
  • Kindergarten
  • Age
  • Being Men
  • Dogs
  • Favorite Authors
  • God
  • Wrapping
  • Feet
  • Music
  • Weight Lifting
  • Beer
  • Lilac Bushes
  • European Economy
  • Dating
  • Children (Want one? Have one? Non-specific rearing issues.)
  • Death
  • Roofing
  • Guns
  • Gardening
  • Math
  • Minnesota Vikings' Need For A New Stadium
  • Writing
  • Vintage Porn
  • Window Repair
  • Cabins
  • Tools
  • Engines
  • Ash Trees
  • Garage Sales
  • Priorities
  • Mid-life Crises
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Menards
  • Hair Dye
  • Ultimate Fighting
  • Foghat
  • Mutual Friends (have you heard from?)
  • Cigarettes
  • Stress

Now, I'll grant you that I'm a very open man. And I'll grant you that I move from the friendly to the familial with a rapidity that startles. And I'll grant you that men seek me for advice. I'm considered intelligent and intuitive. So perhaps my conversations with my comrades contain content that delves deeper than the skin and often surrenders masculine pride in the quest for commiseration. Yet I'm a pretty typical man. Okay, maybe not. But I have typical pursuits.

Here's what we did not discuss:

  • Wives
  • Specific Girlfriends
  • Marriage

Why?

Because conversations about a specific woman make a man defend his selection.

Simple.

Read that again. Okay. Got it?

Now in all honesty, men do discuss wives and girlfriends with their friend. But it's not a bar conversation. And it doesn't happen between buddies. It is only a conversation a man has with his closest friend. That conversation often occurs over a telephone. Well, because a man coddles his pride with a lack of proximity and in the guise of privacy. He doesn't say his secrets to his friend as much as he puts his pain aloud and allows his friend to hear it. And those conversations always seek clarity. A man needs to rethink his relationship and evaluate his expectations.

I've had those conversations; I've listened to those conversations.

But a man never repeats that conversation. Not even to the friend who first spoke the words.

Women: you're not always in our heads. Yet, you're consistently in our hearts. And really, isn't it the same with you?