All of us have -or at least I hope we all have- an internal filter that goes off when we start to say the wrong thing. I call mine my "Not helping, Sister!" filter and sometimes its not quite as effective as I would like for it to be. Earlier this week was one of those times. I tried to be Switzerland when someone called on me for some female solidarity.
I guess this blog post is my chance to say what I didn't get to say that afternoon. It will probably cause at least a few people who read me to mutter, "Throwback." and delete me from their RSS feeds and bookmarks. Oh, well. Here goes...
Okay, you have every reason to assume that I'm going to be sympathetic with your significant other's desire to spend an afternoon at Big!Huge!OutdoorManlyManEmporium! with the guys looking at fishing lures and deer pee and whatever else they look at when we're not around. However, you are probably coming to this conclusion for all of the wrong reasons. Let's get this out of the way right now. Yes, I work in a field that has been traditionally the domain of male interest and is still dominated by men.* I enjoy the company of the people I share a camera perch with and am lucky to cover a group of guys where are decent and drama-free.
In spite of the fact that I spend a large portion of my week knee deep in all things macho, there are times when I just want to be around other people who have voices as high as mine and talk about shoes and knitting. Does this make me anti-male because I want time with my girlfriends? No. The flip side to that is that your husband's or boyfriend's desire to do things with his buddies is not anti-woman or anti-you or anti-anything. It's a healthy desire to identify with his own sex whether it entails sitting in a duck blind at dark thirty o'clock or comparing the munsell scale of tubes of cerulean blue acrylic paint at Plaza.
As his life partner, you should be his best friend and his favourite person in the whole world. As his BFF and his FPItWW, you should also recognise that he needs time with his friends following his interests just as you should be wanting time with your friends following your interests. Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person seemed to have no friends and no enthusiasm for anything beyond spending time with you? Does it sound like something out of the movies? Is it the manifestation of the fantasy we're all supposed to have where Lloyd Dobler steps right out of the screen wearing his trench coat and blares his damned boom box full of Peter Gabriel at your bedroom window? **
Let me tell you from personal experience that being completely, totally responsible for someone else's happiness is a bigger burden than you think it's going to be. Let's face it, even if you did end up with Lloyd Dobler, the first week you might be thinking, "Lucky me waking up next to Lloyd Dobler! He looks just like 80s' vintage John Cusack. I done good!" But from roughly Wednesday of the second week on, he'd be telling you that all he wanted in life was to be at your side while you'd be thinking, "Please, for the love of God! Go read a book or something!" I've been there and believe me, the man who looks to me to complete him is the man who will cause me to run for the hills with my trusty shih tzu at my side.
So listen, girlfriend. He was complete when you married him or you wouldn't have wanted him. Does he want to spend ALL of his time with his friends instead of you? No? Are his friends jerks or are they respectuful of you as the person he has chosen to be with? Respectful? Check. Okay, then. The fact that he has a group of decent friends who are either happily attached themselves or are what Benjamin Franklin might have called "unclaimed blessings" and they think enough of him to want to spend time with him says a lot about his good character. Unless they're all out buying crack or hiring hookers, that time spent isn't hurting anyone. If anything, it reestablishes that you trust and respect who he is. It should free you up to follow some of your own interests. Just my .02.
*For the few of you who don't know, I'm a sports columnist and photographer. According to my BGBF, Kevin, who submitted a bunch of pictures to Getty (via his current media wonk squeeze) on my behalf last week and caused me to curl up in a closet and breathe into my yoga bag for twenty minutes, I am now the real thing.
**I've been told that "Say Anything" is supposed ot be the ultimate in Chick Movie romantic fantasies. This supposition must have come from a focus group composed of two dozen male college students who were working on their degrees in marketing.