Over the weekend, when I wasn’t parenting teenagers, I conducted an unofficial poll: What do grown women NOT tell each other? After all, we seem to talk about anything. But talking and truly sharing, are different activities.
Things We Don’t Share:
1. True weight. This is a tricky topic. We talk about how to lose weight and how we wish we could get rid of our mummy tummies. But your current number on the scale, other than the nurse at the docotor’s office who knows your weight, your blood pressure and any weird symptom necessitating the doctor’s visit, nobody else really knows your weight. You might not know your weight.
2. When our partner meets our friend and can’t stand them.We do not share that with our friend. That would be hurtful. In fact, we overcompensate with lies about how much our partner enjoyed said friend. I will forever be suspicious of my friends when the tell me their husband or wife “likes” me. I once believed such placation.
3. Finances. We all talk about needing more money or not being able to do something because of a cash flow, BUT hard cold numbers? We don’t share those. Money is taboo. Your crying-poor neighbor might be a millionaire. I once had one.
4. Sex. The actual play-by-play details we don’t share. A funny incident, sure.
5. Anxieties that are neurotic and unfounded. We’d rather sit alone in a nightmarish stew than be outed as an anxiety-riddled mess.
6. Jealousy and envy. We couch these two in congratulations and exclamations! Mostly women reported being genuinely thrilled for friends and their accomplishments. But there were times that feeling joy for another was hard. Women reported feeling guilt for their mixed emotions. And one woman reported that her jealously was a sign that she was in need of an infusion of change. A positive change in her own life.
7. Crushes. Specifically, which married person we have a crush on. You know, the father or mother you see at drop off or pick up? The one whose smile makes you feel squishy, BUT you’re both happily married…We don’t talk or share their name.
8. How amazing and wonderful we think our children are — we think other people’s children are wonderful too. But we hold out hope that our children are extra-special. Somebody has to! (That’s how the teller of this truth explained the phenomenon.) Yet we don’t share that we think our children are extra-special.
9. Typically, two glasses of wine into dinner we still don’t share what we thought we’d be doing with our lives versus our reality. One friend, third glass in, said she hadn’t told anyone, but when President Obama and First Lady Michelle moved into the white house she’d wept. Why was she unemployed and divorced on her couch with a cat and no lover? She was the same age as the beautiful White House couple. And yet, while she had been going to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts she had obviously done something very wrong. Otherwise, she would have been in office too. As their secretary of something.
10. Oprah. Universally, the women I spoke with had not shared with any friend the feelings they had about the end of the Oprah show. All women had been stunned. Why? Because they had not yet been invited onto the show. Somehow, in the back of our collective mind, we were all Oprah’s friend. And each one of us had something to share with her. But who shares such delusions of grandeur?
Thank you my dear and mostly honest friends. Additions? Let’s grow this list…