Last week I had the honor of meeting five distinguished authors of young adult books, all of whom came in from out of town for a book signing tour, and, most critically, all of them women. Since one of these ladies is a close friend, I volunteered to ferry the group from their hotel to their signing venue and back in my minivan. Otherwise, they, in separate cars, would have had to maneuver through five o’clock traffic and a lengthy road construction zone to get to the bookstore some ten miles away.
When we returned from the signing, they all invited me in to have a drink with them in the hotel bar. And that’s where the trouble began, for me at least. We were halfway through our drink and having various conversations about book signings, research, and travel.
“I was in Paris researching a new book,” said one of the ladies who will forever remain anonymous, “and I came down with a UTI (urinary tract infection). And the worst part is I knew I was getting it. You know that small window of time when you feel it coming on, but you haven’t actually crossed over into hell?”
Five nods, five knowing you-can-say-that-again expressions, and one frozen, dumb look, which naturally belonged to me. What could I have possibly said?
Because of my choice of professions, I hang around a lot of women. I’m one of only two men in my writer’s group, though in the spirit of full disclosure, WWK Bloggers Paula and Carla have never (thankfully) shared any of their lady complaints. My wife calls my colleagues my “girlfriends”, and more than once I’ve been told I’m just one of the girls. I take no offense to the remark, but I draw the line at discussions of gender-specific ailments. UTI=TMI. And birth procedure details? No thanks, and pass me a barf bag, please.
I have had plenty of women co-workers, many of whom have become my friends. I contend I’m one of a handful of straight men in America who watches Bravo TV. At lunch, I can talk with the best of them about Project Runway, Top Chef, America’s Next Top Model, and Sheer Genius.
The downside is my XX chromosome buddies often forget there is an XY chromosome combination at the table, and sometimes the conversations turn to things only women should talk about. I have discovered, for example, that if you’re trying to get pregnant, some people suggest putting your feet up after sex to help the sperm swim downward. Others advise taking a certain cough medicine to thin out the membrane the sperm swim upon.
Here is my take on that: eeewwww! I don’t need to know how the car is made, just tell me where to stick the key, if you get my drift.
It was icky enough in 9th-grade science class. Do we really have to talk about this kind of thing now over sushi?
Once at lunch one of my friends explained she had an upcoming medical procedure to have her uterus burned.
Pass the ketchup, please.
It will stop her excessive bleeding when she has her period.
Cancel that ketchup. I don’t want it anymore.
Men, do you have similar experiences? Ladies, do you just like to see us squirm? And doesn’t it all make fabulous writing material?