Summer Time With the Girls
By Guest Blogger Baltimore Jack
time is coming. School will be ending and I will soon have time to spend with
my girlfriends. No, I’m not having multiple affairs, and I wouldn’t have the
energy for even one, but I really love my “hen-time” (an expression I picked up
from a British TV show... more on that later). A cool lunch or drink outdoors
on a temperate sunny day, discussing who should and who shouldn’t be wearing
whatever in public with a few girlfriends is one of the life’s lazy pleasures
that define summer for me.
Anybody who knows me, doesn’t need to have seen me in heels and lipstick (episodes of which my friends seem to embarrassingly recount far too frequently) to know that I have no fear of getting in touch with my feminine side. I am the original “Metro-sexual”. As a trans-gendered friend of mine once described me, I’m just a “lesbian trapped in a man’s body”. I recently played the parlor game Scene-It with some friends and I was banned from answering the “girl-questions”.
Women are more fun on a lot of levels. They don’t tell you you’re getting fat, (ever hear a girl tell her friend “hey dude, you really been packin’ on few lbs. lately”?) or talk you into doing something stupid (you’ll never see a girl drive to Atlantic City from MD at 2:00AM to watch a Monica Lewinski look-a-like do “things” with a cigar, “just because – man!”), and most importantly they protect you from other women (it’s part of the fine print they sign on the marriage license “when in groups, thou shalt protect thine own sister’s husband from the designs of evil and unrighteous women”). Guys are absolutely no help in this department. Instead they question your sexuality and/or masculinity as you feign disinterest in whatever unexpected but amorous attention you’ve garnered. In fact, older guys seem to get a vicarious pleasure in the fact that anyone might be interested in another middle age burn out. For the record, this has become much less of a problem as the years pass by.
It's not just the summer that's got me in the "girly" mood though You see, I just finished watching the season finale of Mistresses, which, in case you didn't know, is an episodic drama (it would be misleading to call it a "soap") shown here on BBC America. Mistresses can best be described as "Sex in The City" without the jokes - a sort of hetrosexual (although not exclusively) "L-Word" - which s the chick show to top all chick shows. A pilot for the American version of this show - sad to say because you know they'll screw it up, is currently in production. For more info, check out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mistresses
The plots and subplots revolve around the friendship of 4 women, each portraying the female stereotype established by its TV predecessors: the slut, the intellectual, the maternal figure, and the love-burned victim. Just like the ladies that accompanied me to the “Sex and the City” premier, you can have fun establishing which of your real life friends fits the character on the screen, and then declaring “oh I’m nothing like Samantha/Jessica/Shane, etc.”.
For me though, the real joy of this show is watching the dramatized female relationships. Like the aforementioned predecessors, the characters’ interdependent connections and the unquestioned support in the face of very questionable behavior is enlightening to behold. No one alienates Jessica (my favorite) because she chooses a lesbian lover, or Siobhan, because she starts picking up strange men in hotel bars. Katie’s poor choices and self destructive secrecy go without reproach as Trudi watches all and grows to a new dress size with every show while no one (except the viewers) says a word about her weight. These characters love each other and treat each other with a tolerance and empathy that I don’t even offer my own children.
I’ve been on a one man (eh … person?) crusade to spread the word on this show which is about the best drama written, produced, acted, filmed on television. Although considering the level of TV drama these days, this is very faint and inadequate praise.
When I’m with a group of women they’ll invariably remind me of their TV counterparts. I find the same supportive energy, and it’s very much a comfort to be around that much emotional support, particularly if it’s being focused on you. This happens a lot if you’re the only man in the group. Being a man among them, I suspect I miss some of the juicier and perhaps less kind exchanges but that’s not a bad thing. I also gain lots of perspective on issues I would otherwise ignore.
Maybe it’s because I had no sisters. Maybe it’s because whenever I had a group of girl friends in the past, I messed up the chemistry by sleeping with one of them (a problem very common in lesbian social circles, I understand). Maybe it’s because soon after we met my wife asked me, “why are all your friends women?” and then proceeded to find me new friends. Maybe it’s because I’ll miss my lunch with the foreign language department that fills my “daily dirt dish”. Maybe it’s because women will hit the tennis ball back to you instead of trying to score points. Maybe it’s because I’ve got two Audrey Hepburn and two Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies still waiting for a rainy day and pan of brownies. Maybe it’s the look on my wife’s face when we both agree that the dress on the mannequin is just perfect on her. Maybe it’s all of the above, but I’m looking forward to my summer girl time. I’ve got to squeeze it all in soon, though. Steelers open training camp August 17. Just hope my guy friends give me back my “man-card” back in time for the season.
Baltimore Jack is a gentleman, a high school teacher, a father of two terrific teenage boys, and a friend to women everywhere.