Have you ever noticed, how one of the first conversations girls will have when they’re becoming close friends is the “boy conversation”? To be fair, it’s not as though all women say “Hi, I’m Sarah. Nice to meet you. I once dated this guy who turned out to be going out with his best friend from the football team at the same time.” It just seems like around the first or second time I hang out with a new friend we somehow end up telling each other all about how guys have screwed us over, or our unrequited love, or how this really sweet Japanese exchange student who didn’t really speak English was in love with us, but we just-didn’t-feel-the-same-and-had-to-ask-if-it-was-ok-to-just-be-friends.
Why do we do this? It’s almost like we’re in a race with other females to win a trophy for “Most Traumatizing Love Life.” If the other person we’re talking to happens to have a boyfriend, or is currently experiencing the early stages of a budding relationship we get to hear all about how they’ve “finally found a good guy!”. Then two weeks later we get to hear about how he turned out to be an insensitive, self-absorbed prick. Whether we want to hear it or we don’t, we nod and agree with whatever the other woman is saying, then smile understandingly and throw in a comment about how she was always too good for him anyway.
When I’m trying to get to know someone, why is it instinctual for me to feel comfortable explaining, defending or complaining about past relationships? Do women somehow believe that in order to be friends with someone, the best way to get to know them is to exchange details about each other’s love lives? On some level, it’s true that a person’s romantic history shapes them and contributes to the person they become. Our desire for romantic or sexual companionship is instinctual, even if often squashed or canceled out by reason, logic and general exasperation with heterosexual people with penises. Then again, it’s also instinctual to sleep, but how often to you see two women exchanging loud, emotional grievances about that one time they slept for exactly 7.5 hours back in ’94 before waking up and brushing their teeth?
Maybe it has to do with the fact that women are competitive about men in general. Like on some level, we feel we have to prove to other women that we’ve dealt with men and that they’ve dealt with us. Maybe it’s just a conversation starter. Everyone’s had some sort of emotional mishap with a guy, right? It’s something we have in common that’s not sleeping or eating. Or not. Do nuns talk about their relationship with God instead?
“Oh, Sister, the Lord and I had the BEST time last night.”
What if, the next time someone brings up their relationship issues, I just said “Oh really? All my relationships have been really great. No complaints.”? I bet the Coalition for the Competitiveness of Women Who Hate Men would send me a Cease and Desist.