Monday, October 13, 2008

Maybe we're pretty easy to figure out after all

I love it when I read articles or studies that tell us how women are complex, complicated creatures. With all due respect to the researchers who conduct the surveys, hold those focus groups and collate all that information, I need to weigh in with the following conclusion: no, we're not.

Don't get me wrong. I think some of the women I've met along the way are among the most interesting, most provocative thinkers in the world. It's just that deep down, regardless of our life circumstances, our educations, or our various life situations, we seem to crave the same things.

Example - I just spent a few days out of town on business. Along with my laptop, I packed a away a few movies, just in case I wanted to entertain myself in my room. (This trip's entertainment had a distinctly Jane Austen flair: Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version.)

You shouldn't be surprised to hear the following: every woman accompanying me on the trip (there were five of us) semi-seriously asked if we could blow off our "work" agendas for the evenings, our client dinners, our "drinks before dinner" with vendors and meet in my room, order room service, and watch a movie. Tempting, I can tell you.

I know what you're thinking: but if you were all away on a trip together, you are sort of the same breed of professional women. This had to be the reason why this pajama party with an English accent was so appealing to us. Maybe. Maybe not.

I read a women's message board online recently where women answered this question: "How do you pamper yourself? What are the little luxuries you indulge in?" The uniformity of the answers was not surprising, given my premise about women not being all that complicated or all that different. In a mini-homage to Marlena Dietrich, women mostly answered that they want to be left alone. Here's a brief summary of the kind of answers they gave:

quiet time
an uninterrupted nap
a hotel suite by myself where I can bathe or shower uninterrupted
a couple of hours alone with a book
a movie by myself
bubble bath
drink a cup of tea and listen to music by myself
spent travel points at a nice hotel by myself - bubble bath TV, room service, nap
bargain shopping by myself

Are you seeing a pattern here? Honestly, there were pages and pages of these tips and almost all of them contained some measure of alone-ness. Many incorporated water, books, music and TV / movies.

I have to do some thinking about this but it seems to me, women feel somewhat fragmented, and unable to carve out time for ourselves in our personal lives. (I'd love to read how men would answer this question. Somehow I doubt being alone would top their lists.)

More to come - anyone with some wisdom to share on this is more than welcome.


Chris Casey said...

Well, Renee, as a happily married man, I don't do bubble baths or naps, but I do like my alone time, and I treasure quiet time when I can read uninterrupted. I like my solitude. I manage a Warehouse as my full time job, but I spend at least 2 to 3 hours a week of my free time working alone in a Cemetery, for the quiet. See the pattern? And I spend an equal amount of time in the evenings, writing. I don't think woman have a corner on the need for quiet time, I think they are better at realizing the need for it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment, Chris. I like your theory that perhaps women are better at realizing our need for space - that could very well be true.

That said, I think women "grow into" the need for space as we age. I can only speak for myself but the last thing I craved in my 20's - or even my 30's - was time alone, away from people I love.

Thanks for visiting -