Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Best Friends

Gloria had a fight with one of her best friends this week.

Men used to resolve conflict in a direct way--we shot each other. I don't like the cut of your jib, sir, so thirty paces and have at you. Hopefully your foe's bullet would nestle harmlessly in the bewildering folds of your puffy shirt.

With duels unfortunately being out of fashion, men have resorted to more civilized methods of conflict resolution. One of the most popular is punching each other in the face repeatedly. I myself am not a fan of this strategy, as I consider anything that might push my nose into my brain as less than satisfactory, even if the chances of pushing someone else's nose into their brain are considerably higher.

Not that they ever would be.

Even though my physical fight or flee response might be flee or flee faster, though, I am verbally quite direct. Men will, in general, address their conflicts, and do so directly.

Women, however, are a different breed. The documentation of the machinations of a single female friendship would run well over a thousand pages and come in a multi-CD set, unless you purchased the 'Limited Edition' DVD. Ken Burns could produce a twelve-hour documentary and pronounce the subject of female friendship more complex than the Civil War.

Here is a sample of a phone conversation between women who are agreeing to have a fight. To simplify things, I have replaced dialogue that is hopelessly obtuse with its more direct meaning, and I have italicized it so that you know when I have done so.

"Have you worn that dress you bought last week? Because it looks great on you."
"Not yet, because I want to borrow that beautiful pearl necklace of yours."
"That old thing? You can borrow it anytime. And have I mentioned that you're acting like a bitch?"
"Why, no, I don't believe you have. Now are you still coming to my multi-level marketing promotion on Tuesday? And by the way, you're the one acting like a bitch, not me."
"Of course I'm coming, and I pressured all my friends to come as well. They'll feel just uncomfortable enough to buy something. And it's just your passive-aggressiveness calling me a bitch to deflect attention from your own bitchiness."
"Should we meet and talk about this? I have those scented candles I bought for you last week, and I really need to tell you in person what a bitch you are."
"Absolutely. Coffee at four tomorrow, you bitch?"
"I'll be there, bitch. Kisses."

Gloria read this column and said "I wouldn't really call it a fight."

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