Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Company of Women

Tile Mural "The Casino" 1928, Catalina Island

I read the other day that a UK magazine recently canvassed its readers for words and phrases which women use (and which men would be unlikely to use). They included: pilates, body image, book club, empowerment, emotional intelligence, kitten heels, and pomegranate.
I went through the list carefully. I have to say I believe that I have used each of these words myself lately with the exception of kitten heels. Though I did note the reference in something I was reading.
I love my husband. I also like him; I find him quirky, funny, and interesting. We share many passions (beyond our endlessly absorbing children) including sailing, hiking, birding, reading (maybe minus poetry on his side), and music (minus Wagner on mine).
Before we left for this year away, the most common question women asked me was “are you nervous about spending so much time together?” At first I was surprised. It seemed like our lives were so busy, especially before we left, that we didn’t get enough time together.
We have been gone for 6 weeks now. And here’s the thing. I’m not tired of his company. Sometimes I need to be alone and so I just take a day off, go wandering, or painting, stop in a cafĂ© and scrawl in my journal for awhile.
But last week I spent an entire morning lost in blogs, reading about the joys of Clairol Cream hair dye, a great thrift shop coup (which included a pair of plaid mules with kitten heels) and the anguish of failing to conceive after the last of many IVF attempts. As I sat at the computer, tears streaming down my face, I realized what I was missing—the company of women.
While in San Diego I have the temporary but perfect yoga class. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m short on women, but I feel like I could be the best friend of anyone in the class. We could go out for coffee, talk about jobs and children; then we would discuss books and the last great movie we saw, and maybe, eventually share some secrets. But of course the women in yoga have their own lives and mostly they rush off after class to their busy days.
Which leaves me to blogs. I always seem to come late to technology, being preoccupied with pre-industrial crafts. So if you know this already, read ahead. But blogs are amazing. I first started reading one regularly, the wonderful materfamilias writes. What entranced me was how the medium conveys the rich texture of ordinary life. Not that Materfamilias is ordinary—I can unequivocally state that as she is the only blogger I follow whom I actually know. Through her blog I have found a community of stylish, clever, worldly, anxious, ardent women. And, conversely, I feel the presence of my own community of women (because, let’s face it, it looks like “blog” is one of those words women are more likely to use than men) when I think of them reading my own posts.

Blogs I follow:
Materfamilias Writes
La Belette Rouge


Denise Bonin said...

Oh and how we missed your feminine company this morning on our PIRT run on Newcastle... 3 women running, walking, gossiping, discussing world issues, admiring the bright yellow maple leaves strewn on the soft dark brown path where we trod. We all made it to Giovando Lookout and delighted in the view. More discussion of children, jobs, projects, pets, husbands, and admiration of the large variety of mushrooms along the trail, kept us going back to the pavilion. The other member of the team was a female dog who gaily ran back and forth, on and off the trail and was completely thrilled at being in the great outdoors in the company of women (one can only assume that she would not be nearly as happy in the company of men). So yes, we can sympathize.

Denise, Trudy, Liz and Tierra the dog.

materfamilias said...

Were it not for this baby waiting in the wings, I think I'd grab a cheap flight down for a weekend of female catch-up time with my good friend! Meanwhile, isn't blogging a surprisingly good substitute? -- something like all those kitchen table coffee-talks we shared oh-so-many-years ago when the kids were small and women friends were all that kept us going some days.
Have you tried commenting on La Belette Rouge's blog yet? She's wonderful about creating community, if a virtual one, and will include you in hers quickly, I suspect.

La Belette Rouge said...

I am so delighted that Mater wrote about your lovely blog on yours and I am thrilled to know you are parting of the blogging community. I will immediately add you to my blogroll and I do hope you come by and comment. Would love to see you on my blog.

I really relate to this post and I am so delighted to *meet* you.I so know what you mean about the need for a community of women. I am feeling a bit isolated too as I am out of my element in a new community. Without the incredible community I have met on the blogosphere I think I would be a real sad sack in need of estrogen strips.

I am honoured to be one of the blogs you follow. And, I feel sure we would have a lovely time going out for coffee and discuss books, jobs, movies and secrets. Wish L.A. and San Diego were just a little bit closer.

Brigitte said...

so nice to read "the company of women"! I am lucky right now having Laura with me to share those wonderful warm moments you are talking about !
Read you soon

Alison Watt said...

hey, thanks for the girl talk! Denise my heart was with you (but probably not pumping quite as hard) on that beautiful run.

materfamilias-thanks for giving La Belette the word that I've been skulking around her blog. Can't wait to hear about that new baby.

La Belette-I promise to pluck up my courage and drop a comment in your blog, which, by now, you know I love. I especially appreciate your takes on writing. I find myself groaning out loud in recognition at your insights. Loved the Shut up and Write entry--that really cut close to the bone.

Brigitte-wish I could share some girl time...(quelque temps!)