Monday, May 10, 2010

The Interception.

One time I heard Steve Young (some football guy) speak. Well- I guess I've heard him speak an inordinate amount for being completely uninterested in football. In any case, ONE of these times, as I floated in and out of consciousness during his endless football stories (not even analogies- just stories!), he talked about this awful day of playing and then suddenly he thought he had it all together and then, "Wham! Interception." I alerted with a start and applauded. My friend turned to me and said, "No, Farrah. An interception is a BAD thing." Man. Not only was this a hella crappy story about a crap day, but that term, "interception," didn't make any sense as a negative whatsoever. If you throw a ball and someone catches it, that sounds like a GOOD thing to me. But now, over ten years later, I think I'm beginning to understand.

I've become accustomed to considering other women my ally. The assumption comes automatically- I like women and I value sisterhood; with that, there's an intrinsic trust I hold to other women- deserved or not, I assume we are on friendly terms and on the same side- the same team, if you will. But now I realize, some women may not necessarily play for the other team, but they can go rogue and play for themselves.

Recently I had an interesting string of conversations with a respected male friend about the pettiness of women. The leap women will take in calling one another "bitches," "ho's" and "sluts." I'm going to stop here and offer some recommended reading.

They were well interpreted for entertainment value in Tina Fey's comedy, "Mean Girls," but you probably already knew that. While there's much discussion we could have at this point, I'm going to focus this post on only one moment: The Interception.

Recently at a party, I noticed a guy shadowing me around a bit. Eventually I worked up the nerve to turn around and introduce myself and as we were beginning to hit it off, another girl, a stranger, walked directly in-between us and suggested I talk to another man.
I only wish I were making this up.
Here's the real conversation:
Me: O, yes! So you must be the guy (my girl friend) was telling me about! Is this your house?
He: No- I don't live here, but yeah! I was inviting-
tall girl walks between us and interjects-
She: This is where (some other dude) lives.
Me: (slightly startled)
She: You should go talk to him. He's that Asian guy over there. Good looking. Single.
Me: (uncomfortable laugh with a friendly nudge) Aren't we all?
She did NOT reciprocate the gesture OR find me funny. OR move from her stance between us. So I turned and left.

In any case, while I was in the middle of a conversation with someone who was clearly also in the middle of a conversation with me as well, this particular girl found it totally appropriate to physically step in-between us and literally tell me to go and talk to someone else. Perhaps it was my weak point to have turned and left, or perhaps it was his to not call her out. I am hesitant to pass judgment on either of our etiquette in response, considering we were at a party and had only been talking for several minutes. And that's what's even stranger to me; it was only a conversation. It was simply being friendly and doing what normal social behaviour would dictate: make an introduction, find mutual connections, explore a social connection- all basic interactions one should expect at a social event. I generally like to explain conversation like throwing a ball. You are responsible to throw first- the faster you can throw to your partner, the less you have to think about yourself- you are focusing on getting the ball into your partner's hands. Doing this helps to relieve yourself of the pressure of thinking of what to say next- as soon as you release that ball and hand it off to your partner, the ball is in their court and you are free to enjoy listening to their response until they choose to either 1) throw the ball back or 2) hold onto and dominate the ball for themselves 3) drop your ball and walk off the court. What startles me is how common a third party feels comfortable in walking in and taking the ball with them as they go. An interception. A negative interception!

I'm not sure of a solution to this kind of play, but perhaps this experience can be a call to greater awareness for all of us. Interceptions do happen. They are intentional. If it happens to you, supersede smoothly it by refocusing on the partner you came to play ball with. And if you're the one intercepting, I'll tell you now; you're rude. And yeah- I'll probably call you a bitch. And you'll totally deserve it.


naomi said...

you are a bigger person than me. i would have done something catty to school her. can't believe the audacity of some people.

f*bomb. said...

It's far more common than you'd like to acknowledge, trust me. Since I wrote this post, I've already recalled multiple times when an interception has been run by other women...somehow, never by men. It seems that men "get it," and allow us to continue playing ball with the original partners, rather than interrupting. In fact, one buddy said (in regards to the same party) that he was disappointed we couldn't catch up as planned that night because every time he saw me, I was already in conversation with someone. He understood. I think because men have to deal with being cock-blocked a lot, they are more sensitive to this douchebag move, but women are accustomed to "competition" or standing in line in order to get attention from a boy...

I can already tell that this topic is going to demand further attention. Keep your experiences coming!

Tannerama said...

AH! So close. I really liked the first half of this post. I was hoping that you were going to delve in and really explore why women hate each other/themselves.

But then you turned it into a story (albeit an interesting and good one) about getting cockblocked. It's a tale as old as time. Guy is talking to girl then someone comes by and starts blowin' up your spot. You should have responded something along the lines of "That's nice. But I right now I'm talking to this gentleman. And you're kind of interrupting."

Salt H2O said...

There is a solution Farrah- and it's not the natrual catty instinct- but honesty. Call her on it, call guys on it. Call it out.

Everyone, especially single people need to be called on their petty crap.

Tamara Atkin said...

I am recently educating my husband on this issue. I'm trying to explain that it is not that I am jealous of other women so much as I do not like to be disrespected by them. I do not think it is very many women who do this, but it is only women who dare to and think they can get away with it. Guys know that they will get decked if they tried such a thing, all the while playing cute, dumb, and innocent. Well here is a public announcement to those very women: you are not cute and while you may be fairly dumb you are definitely not innocent and you will get clocked if you try to come between me and my man. (Or at least a stern talking to. And perhaps a few curse words.)

f*bomb. said...

Okay, look. I KNOW most of you, so don't be getting all sassy and "I would call her out" with me. NOT TRUE. That would make YOU crazy and rude, which doesn't help anyone's situation.

Let's get something about this situation straight-
1) We had only been talking- not flirting, not making out- TALKING. And it was only for a few minutes, so to get offended and huffy over the interception could be a SLIGHT over-reaction, don't you think? What is odd to me is that TALKING to a stranger at a party is a NORMAL thing to do...walking up to a stranger in the middle of a conversation without an introduction or intent to participate in the conversation or get to know them is just a foul move that shows that girl has zero social skills and zero consideration for other people and yes- it makes HER look like a crazy bitch.

Whether we'd like to admit it or not- bitches exist. They are real. And they are more prominent than you'd like to believe. Just be more aware, so you're not one of them.

julia said...

tricky, tricky. there has to be some way to call her out with honesty. she is being RUDE. next time, invite me to your parties. i'll take girls like her out.

Salt H2O said...

Here's the honest answer to the situation to be delivered in a nonthreatening, passive mild voice:

'actually I'm enjoying the conversation I'm currenly having and if it's ok with you I'll continue to talk to Joe Blow here than Asian guy that owns the house over there'

honesty is always the solution to akwardness.