The tea party had been my wife’s idea. We had both recently started our graduate programs, and she wanted a chance to hang out with the other people in her program in a non-academic environment. She also wanted me to meet her new friends. So she invited six fellow students to our one-bedroom apartment for fun, frivolity, and a chocolate fountain. I had been bracing myself for this event for about a week. I just didn’t know what to expect. Ironically, one of the most unexpected elements of the evening should have been the most obvious: all of my wife’s guests were females . . .
They arrived in what seemed like coordinated waves, gradually establishing a beachhead in our apartment. There were only seven of them, including my wife, and yet I could have sworn there were two or three hundred women in my apartment. I began running back and forth from the kitchen, taking and filling drink orders for various kinds of tea. And when we announced that the chocolate fountain was open for business, the starting offensive line for the Green Bay Packers could not have held back the rush. Within minutes, the splatter from the fountain had made the kitchen look like a lesser-known painting by Jackson Pollock.
After a while, the chocolate feeding frenzy subsided into polite conversation, and I felt even more superfluous. The females gabbed about their classes on German-American furniture, their biscotti recipes, and which literary characters they would be if they could choose. Regarding this last topic, the lone red-head quickly called Anne of Green Gables at which point it was apparently just a fight for second place.
Then there was me. I literally sat on the outside of the circle due to a lack of folding chairs. Trying to be a good host, I smiled politely and silently prayed for death. Not that anyone would have noticed if I hadn’t smiled or even if I had prayed out loud. The females were so engrossed in their conversation that I’m pretty sure I could have danced around with a Roman candle protruding from each nostril and only succeeded in raising one or two eyebrows.
Eventually I realized that I had to get out of there. I fled to the library where I spent the next several hours doing homework and fiddling about, killing time until I got a text from my wife saying that the danger had passed and it was safe to come home. When I got back, I found our apartment littered with empty tea cups, crumbs of homemade biscotti, and so much chocolate that we no longer have to set mouse traps: we just wait for them to contract Type III diabetes.
My point with all of this is not that girl time is stupid. After all, guy time can be just as ludicrous. A proper “guy’s night” can involve passionate discussions about random sports teams, video games where friends blast the digital tar out of each other, and piles of Buffalo wing bones that look like morbid burial mounds for Viking chickens. My point is that girl time is not for men, just as guy time is not for women. So, while we might be able to make fun of each other, let’s do so with the knowledge that we are no better. We may never understand each other, but we can respect each other. And I’m sure Mr. Darcy would agree. That’s who I would be if I could be a literary character; the rest of the guys may now commence fighting for second place.