Monday, December 05, 2005

COLUMN: Girls Are Weird

Girls are weird.

That's not speculation or rumor. It's a concrete fact. I have first-hand knowledge.

For the past 10 years, I've sat here in my corner of the newspaper office as a card-carrying member of the male minority. Day in, day out, I am surrounded up here by a gaggle of girls.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you; there are worse ways to spend a day than being in a room full of smart, funny ladies. However, this unlimited access to the girl gaggle has afforded me strange wisdom that many guys lack. I now have more familiarity than a man ever should about such things as episiotomies, Monistat, water retention, PMS, and a host of other feminine maladies that I'll just lump under the word "cooties."

But there's one thing I will never understand about the opposite sex, and that, ladies, is your bizarre network of underground workplace commerce.

It was shortly after I started at the newspaper when I first became aware of this secret world. Sitting at my desk one day, I saw it out of the corner of my eye -- a small booklet being wordlessly passed around the room. Then, when it came close to my desk, the girl who had the booklet stood up, walked right past me, and dropped it silently on the desk of the female co-worker to my right.

If there's one thing I hate, it's a rousing game of Exclude-the-Shane, so I stood up.

"What gives?" I asked. "I want the mystery booklet, too."

"Errr, no, you really don't," came the reply.

"How would you know?" I said bluntly. "Gimme."

"OK. Fine. Sheesh," she replied. But I didn't care. I was "in." As she brought over the booklet, I prepped myself for the exciting world that must lie within. Whatever it was, I HAD to show an interest in it. I needed to fit in. I needed to feel like one of the gang. I needed ...

AVON? Oh, crud.

So there I was, forced to act indignant about being excluded while looking through page after page of lipstick, lip gloss, lip balm, lip liner... So many products for, what, a two-inch body part? I'll say it again, girls are weird. I have never EVER in my life gone, "Wow. What a babe. Now THERE'S a girl who knows how to wear some lip balm. I want to marry a girl with balmy lips."

Lips are lips are lips; you don't need to gussy them up with a thousand different products. Ladies, here's a tip from the guy's perspective: We're going to want to kiss them regardless of your choice of lip goop.

Little did I know that Avon was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to workplace commerce. Every week, more and more strange little booklets and party invitations go careening around our office. If there's a product capable of being overpriced, there's a company that sells it via a cutesy overpriced catalog. Cooking supplies, Christmas decor, chocolate-covered anythings -- my office is a mail-order Mall of America.

The other day, I saw invitations being passed around to a "candle party." Ladies, honestly, if your idea of a party is to hang out and sniff some candles, you may just need professional help. When the Beastie Boys wrote "Fight for the Right (to Party,)" I don't think they had citronella in mind. Oh, and I even got to check out a candle catalog -- and for those prices, the candles had better be capable of heating your home for the entire winter.

The most notorious of all workplace commerce is the innocent-sounding "surprise party." I don't know the full skinny, but I know it involves the selling of things you can only refer to in the confines of a family newspaper as "marital aids." Men are forbidden from attending, and frankly, that's OK by us, because whatever DOES happen at these events can't hold a candle party to what my imagination pretends happens at them.

There's one other company whose catalogs are proof positive that girls are weird -- but that'll take more space than I've got in one column. And, heck, why put your eggs in one basket when you can put them in eight limited-edition handcrafted ones instead. We're talking baskets next week. Join us, won't you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Girls are no weirder than guys... and while you may be atypical insofar as guys go when it comes to tools or maybe even cars - i'll wager if i showed you a catalog full of all things computer or music, you'd be just as weird as us girls drooling over them, sharing them with your buds, etc. love your column, as always.