27 December, 2014

how it is

i have two eggnog bread puddings baking in the oven, the table is set, the coffee made - brunch with my ladies this morning chez moi: i'm really really looking forward to it. k, my sanity salad, and m, of the broken bourbon fame, as well as k's friend whom i have yet to meet, along with crusty juggler, are all coming over this morning. k and m and crusty are women whose company i adore - intelligent, sharp, kind, witty, able to broach topics that some would consider improper for polite society, but what the hell, we're a new breed of lady: wicked smart and taking no prisoners!

i might have said so here before, but having always been surrounded by a gaggle* of male friends and one or two good girlfriends, i have found myself increasingly craving female company in recent years. don't get me wrong, i still enjoy menfolk, i enjoy them a lot, but what i need, in a pretty deeply visceral way, is female company. as we get older, we diverge - men get considered more attractive, grey hair is sexy, wrinkles a badge of honour, age a guarantor of financial success, while women, well…we turn invisible. at best, we are "previously beautiful," or MILFs, at worst, simply a butt of jokes: the cougar, the soccer mom, the chick lit/chick flick afficionada, not quite the wise old crone, but nowhere near the desirable virgin. men, as appealing and intelligent as they may be, fail to grasp the subtleties of this transformation. as a woman of a certain age (42, to be exact, and not willing to play coy) i need my ladies to help me deal with this. and so we brunch.

it's nifty, too, to have company on the road to dirty old womanhood - to sit and drink and feel at ease. AND it's fun to mispronounce "vaginal" (to rhyme with "spinal"), to giggle and guffaw and skewer the tropes that try to limit and define us, while critiquing society's expectations, swigging wine and reinventing ourselves as we shed our old skins. not hockey mom: feminist hockey mom. not cougar: self-actualised sexy 40-something. not desperate single: intelligent professional. in the company of other women my age, i become myself more than elsewhere. m, who had just come back from a feminist conference in puerto rico told me that the best place to make peace with your body was in a pool filled with aging feminists. this is the closest i have at the moment and i adore it.

to my ladies!

*seems like the wrong term. murder? host? harem? yes, i think i like harem the best.


Geneviève Goggin said...

Interesting...I've had a similar shift to spending more time with women. I wonder if it's a common phenomenon. Here's to hanging out with the ladies!

Tom said...

Far be it from me to try to counter what you have said, observations clearly taken from experience. I can only add that, for this man at least (and I doubt that I'm alone), as I get older I do not crave the company of either gender; quite the opposite. Lucy is enough for me, with a few on-line friends. It's quality that counts.

Lucy said...

I thought it was pronounced to rhyme with 'spinal'? Goes to show how out of touch I am.

Funny, when Tom came up and told me about this post (and to warn me I might need a sick bag when I read his reply, honest, he said that not me), I was just thinking about how the company one chooses waxes and wanes and changes, and concluding I was quite happy with the fairly loose, regular but not all that frequent, network I've got: a couple of long-standing weekly yoga-and-coffee mates, my knitting pals for a common interest, French chat, and to feel a bit connected with the community I live in, a younger woman friend still very much in the thick of it - kid, work etc - whom I admire hugely and who's a tonic though I don't see that much of her but who's been there for ten years plus and I'm fairly confident won't disappear now: an older woman friend who drives me, and everyone else, up the wall but perhaps fulfils a useful kind of mother-irritant role; one set of couple-friends who again we don't see so much of as they travel and have other lives but who we like perhaps best of all and are most relaxed with, anf again who probably won't go away. Mostly English speaking, but mixed nationality, the balance does tend toward the female it's true, though I can't say I get quite as earthy with any of them as you do with your coven, but then I guess I am British. I'd miss most of them if they weren't there, but don't lean on them too much and would survive.

It wouldn't be enough for many people, but it does for me; too much time with other people and I start getting fidgety and miserable and wishing I was home by the fire with my books and knitting. Oh, and Tom of course. And on-line friends are very important indeed.

'Harem' is a very good collective noun for males. Though 'pod' might also serve. They could be your pod-bods.

Lucy said...

Sorry, just read through that and punctuation and typos are all over the place. I know these things matter to you.

Zhoen said...

Belly dance classes are another place for women to get comfortable with whatever shape they are.

polish chick said...

g - cheers!

tom - i don't really find that your observation opposes mine - i too have found that the quantity of our friendships has waned over the years in favour of quality. we have one or two large events (like the upcoming annual new year's eve soiree - wanna come?) but for the most part focus on a small group of lovely people in our lives.

lucy - first of all, worry not about the grammar bits. i really really don't want you (or anyone else, for that matter) to feel like i'm sitting here in snarling judgment over each errant comma! i'm just thrilled to have received such a long and thoughtful comment on what i thought would be a rather small and off-hand post.

again, as i said to tom, i agree about the waxing and waning of company and one's needs for it. this woman thing, though, is perhaps a deeper appreciation of female company that is different from what i experienced in my youth. i always had one or two good girlfriends at any one point in my life, but this is something new - it is, as i wrote, a craving, a visceral need, a deep desire that cuts through to the core of physical being.

perhaps this is because i am now working out what aging means to me and because i believe it means very different things to men and women, i need women to talk things through with - invisibility, mammograms etc. not that our talks are an endless stream of boob and menstruation chatter - far be it!

another part is that as i get older, and as some of my girlfriends get older, we find ourselves getting deeper and deeper into feminism, losing patience for the many problems women face in our society, and so we gather in a coven (let's take back that word!) and discuss things. it's freeing and beautiful and i wouldn't trade it for anything: a group of intelligent passionate beautiful women!

zhoen - i've heard that before. perhaps i ought to give it a shot! i am running out of patience with my inability to embrace my belly, such as it is.

Crusty Juggler said...

And here's to you for bringing many wonderful and fascinating women into my life!