Thursday, June 10, 2004

girl culture

In my fantasy world, all my friends would have online journals. So many of them are scattered all over the country now, and our work schedules are so busy that it's hard to keep in touch. (I'm trying to get better at this, though. A couple of days ago, after The Gipper died, I finally remembered to return Bob's e-mail. That boy loves him some Reagan.) But if everyone had an online journal, I could visit with them all the time. I could take some time each night and pop in on them and see how they're doing, hear the stories, see the pictures, and it would be like simulated hanging out every day. E-friends! (Except that sounds totally pathetic, so let's just stick with the "simulated hanging out" line.)

When I started "The Underwear Drawer" my second year of med school, the main goal was to allow my friends to keep up with what I was doing. And that has worked to some degree, but I feel like I'm missing out if no one else is keeping a journal too. Right now, I think Coleen is the only one of my friends on the boat, and maybe that's because she works with computers all the time so she's not afraid that they're going to go all Skynet and start taking over the world. Even with all the e-mail and the MP3s and internet, I think people are still a little nervous about computers. But hello, it's easy! Because if it wasn't, I obviously wouldn't be able to do it.

* * *

So I went to yet another farewell fete last night, this time for my friend Tammy, who is finishing up her prelim year in Pediatrics and moving on to greener (and by that, I mean "more lucrative") pastures in Anesthesia. Here we were last night in front of the restaurant.

Holy crap, it's Girls Gone Somewhat Wild! And I qualify by saying "somewhat" because with the exception of my vacationing ass, everyone else at the dinner had to get up insanely early for work the next morning, so there was a 2 margarita cap on the festivities. Fun times, though. I think being with this group of co-residents in Pediatrics has been good for me. It's teaching me how to be more girly.

Jamal says that I have "woman issues." By that, he doesn't mean gynecologic problems (we're close, but not that close) or reproductive angst, but just that I sometimes have a hard time relating to other women. And I have to say that he's pretty right on, despite all the practice that I should have had.

Have you seen "Mean Girls"? I saw it yesterday--a midday summer movie by myself, one of my few truly decadent indulgences--and found it surprisingly funny and true. Tina Fey is my new movie star girlfriend. But anyway, in "Mean Girls", you know how the main character is homeschooled chick who was raised in Africa and has no clue about Girl World etiquette and politics? That's how I feel sometimes in large groups of women. Sometimes the things that women talk about when they're with each other are just so foreign to me that I just don't know what to say. Sometimes in these Girl Group situations, I feel like I'm just trying as hard as I can to follow along with the conversation, or that I end up thinking so hard about what would be appropriate (or inappropriate) to say in response that everything that comes out of my mouth feels stilted and labored. Or, even more applicable in my case, I end up censoring my own jokes, because after several rounds of, "That's so mean!" or "Oh, we really shouldn't be joking about that, it's not funny" you start to get a little tired.

I need to qualify that I'm not (or at least I hope I'm not) the type of girl who only hangs out with men purely for the attention that it garners, or to prove some point that I can "run with the guys". It's not a flirtatious thing, I don't want to be the guy's club little mascot or cheerleader. I don't get all pouty and sullen if my guy friends don't pay attention to me me me all the time. In addition, I don't need to be a guy, all with the sports and the beer and the farting and such. I just find that with certain people, I tend to have better conversations, feel more at ease, more myself--and many of these people happen to be men or non-girly-girls. That's fair, right?

I just don't quite feel at home with Girl Culture, like there's something I must have missed in high school or college that taught you how to go shopping in big groups or dish on boyfriends or, I don't know, relate to Chick Lit. I never watched the four-broads-gabbing scenes in "Sex and the City" and thought, "Wow, that's just like me and my friends!" just isn't. (Also, I don't have HBO.) And really, I'm pretty girly myself. I like pretty dresses and I wear makeup and I just spent a lot of money getting my hair done, for chrissake. Maybe I just don't know how to deal with it on a large scale.

The reason that this year in Pediatrics is good for me is that I've met a lot of very cool, smart, interesting women with whom I've gotten along surprisingly well. And just as a function of work or work-related playtime, we will often hang out together in large groups. And this has been educational, like immersion therapy. Though I still don't quite know what to do or say when people start talking to me about, say, bikini waxing (if anyone has any good strategies on curbing mental imagery when people start talking about ripping our hair from their delicates, please let me know, I would love to learn) I think I'm getting better. I'm starting to feel a little more at home in Girl-landia.

Currently reading: "The Dogs of Babel". Also, just finished "Persepolis"--if you enjoyed "Maus," you should add "Persepolis" to your reading list. And the sequel is coming out in August, so I'm told.

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