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) O...um...
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.