They're joined by another, the conversation is really rolling. The laptops remain untouched while topics fly from the latest cases, work, technology, and yes, girls. What did surprise me was how much the conversation lingered on women. One of them was in a relationship that recently turned a drivable long-distance, "yeah, it's cool, man, like I have a 5 day buffer now. Because you know she alright (he ghettos up the pronunciation for street cred), she's smart. I like her, and you know I can't stand dumb girls. But now I can do my thing during the week and it's only the weekends."
I can't stand it anymore, spot an empty table and scoot off. Have men become the new women?
In the past, I've heard a lot more braggadocio from men discussing women. How hot a woman is, where to meet them, how to date them, etc. But now it seems a new dawn is here, and they're judging us on points we've traditionally judged them by. I suppose with the rarity of a one income household it just makes sense.
Now maybe the amount of articulation I just experienced also has something to do with the fact that these men in particular, make their living with words. I think of the last time B, an ex I secretly called the Untalkative Bunny due to his penchant for silence, brought me to visit a former workplace. As we ran into his ex-workmates most of whom are men, he stopped to chat and linger. The content could've taken half the time to impart but with the long pauses, the standing side by side and surveying of the land (office) like warriors upon the hill, the conversation felt like it was in slow motion. I tried not to fidget.
I realized if I actually had something to impart (I didn't, most of it was about shitty ex-bosses, sales numbers, etc) I would've inadvertently ratcheted the conversational speed up through rapid-fire questions that would've taken the manly joy out of it's stately pace. I would've been witty. They would've laughed. But I was fascinated by how leisurely they lobbed back and forth, content not to over-fill the space. It was so different from how women tend to drive their conversations with each other, or with men.
Their conversation, well...ambled.
A conversation between two women would've been a bit more frantic, whether through excitement, or rushing, or just having so much to say in so little time. Well, we have a lot to do but that's another topic entirely. It made me think that if this was the natural momentum men had in talking, then we must seem like rockets hurtling through with terminal velocity. Hence, the instinct to dodge. Buy time. Half-listen.
And our questions must feel like sniper shots, precisely honed and designed to hit the spot. They must think, Holy Bullets Batman, how'd we get out of this one? I always knew men and women processed things differently but this was like watching the mechanics of it unfold. We're New York, they're Tennessee. I watched B enjoy a particularly lengthy pause with his friend, while I looked and wondered what exactly we were meant to be waiting for. Then I saw the same genial pleasure on his friend's face, this was easy, relaxed, it was all very Power of Now.
Since then, I think of that moment every time I ask a man a question, and wait. And wait. And wait. For an answer. I know it's coming eventually, but probably not in Eastern Standard time.