Monday, May 17, 2010


I've always enjoyed the gents. I grew up rough-housing with big brothers. And when I was a wee thing I mostly preferred to play with little boys. I just enjoyed the way they played -- their physicality and their, I dunno, maleness. I've just always related to them easily.
I like the way dudes never hold bitchy little grudges. I like the way the things they say are the also the things they mean. I like how they are daring. I like how they handle things. I like how they spar and tease. I like how they can lift stuff that is heavy and how they sprawl out everywhere. I like their casual relationship with fashion and their terrible smells. I like dudes.

It seems that since I've been busily reproducing in the suburbs I spend zilch-o time with dudes who aren't my husband, my dog, or my usually pantless toddler. Not that these aren't dudes -- but I'm talking about, you know, buddies.

I joined a co-ed (mostly male) hockey team a couple years ago. It was awesome. Hockey is a really fun, sweaty, fast game. I especially enjoyed the locker-room ambience. I'd sit there amidst the wafting testosterone, the soylent gear, and the trash-talking and I'd think, "See? This is what I've been missing at all those mom and tot swim classes. Dudes!" Then, after the hockey, we'd go for beers. What bliss.

Yup, that's me beaming despite how humungous that outfit makes my ass look!

When I got pregnant with number two I had to give up hockey for a while -- for obvious reasons, such as not being able to lace up my skates. And at one of my last games I remember returning through the boards into our box and as I stumbled onto our bench a team mate drilled me on top of the helmet and shouted, "Nice playing, Honest! You really held your position and gave 'em hell out there!" I grinned so hard my mouthguard fell out.

I knew I was preggers and was gonna quit real soon and I just couldn't help but think, "Man! No one is gonna punch me on top of the head and call me by my last name for a looooong time now!"

I thought right. Nobody has. It's all holding doors open and genuine concern for pregnant ladies. Not like I advocate konking pregnant ladies on the head and shouting at them by their last name -- "Swanson! You're gestating like a madwoman! You grow that fetus! Grow it!" Nah, that would be dangerous. Especially if you weren't fully armoured like in hockey.

Dudes I used to hang out with used to often tell me I was "just like one of the guys." But lately I've been very pregnant, or nursing an infant, or nursing a toddler crawling in and out of my lap, or nursing an infant while pregnant with a toddler crawling in and out of my lap. And so I don't get that "one of the guys" thing so much anymore. I'm so not one of the guys. I'm really grateful for my kids and there's nothing I'd rather be doing than moming it up right now but...

We spent the other weekend at a birthday party for my daughter's friend. My husband had been over for a playdate before and was telling me what a glorious cul-de-sac they lived on, full of lawn-chairs and beer-drinking and suburban fellowship. I was looking forward to having a beer with some other parents while the kids frolicked under the shady boulevard trees. But when we arrived the hostess explained about the segregation. The guys were hanging out in the backyard looking after the kids (ain't it great?) so that the women could sit around together in the living room and dish! (Ack!)

I suppose I could have asked for a beer and gone outside to be with the guys but... but... but... I just sat inside with the other moms and looked forlornly out the window. They were nice moms, they really were. But at one point we had a conversation about which one of the Wiggles was "The Hot One."

Seriously? There's a Hot One?

I love women, I really do. I love the little grudges and how our emotions are basically random and how we flap our hands and ineffectively squeal when the cat drags something in or an engine needs starting. Okay, now I'm just being an arse cause really, I really do love women. If I didn't get to spend anytime with other women (real and virtual) I would be much crazier than I am. And too much time with only men is a fate I wouldn't wish on an enemy, never mind a friend. And I don't want to alienate my audience here -- I seriously doubt there are any dudes lurking around my mommy blog. BUT. Sometimes I feel like I spend enough time with other moms. Sometimes I feel like I spend more than enough time with other moms. Sometimes I dread how easily and inevitably the conversation is going to shift towards the bladder and bowel functions of one-year-olds.

And don't get me started on playing poker with women. Oh man. I have almost lost my mind trying to play poker with women. It looks fun on Desperate Housewives, what with the cocktails and the revelations about who murdered/slept with who. But the reality falls a little short -- women playing poker is like bad sketch comedy. They perpetually have to be reminded of the rules (dudes are embarrassed to ask after a certain point) and they can never remember whose turn it is. Someone always has to use the bathroom and they are terrified of losing "real" money -- by which I mean like, 10 bucks! So you have to play for pennies. And they're still scared to bet. Pennies! C'mon! Like I don't know how much your dropped on those LuLu Lemon pants!

(What's missing in this photo of women playing poker? Playing poker is what's missing.)

It's dudes I miss. Dudes make the best poker buddies. Dudes make engines go. Dudes like to just sit around with a beer, not worrying about anyone else's bowel systems, talking about what might work, and slapping their thighs laughing.

Last summer I called up a mom friend of mine to spend a sunny day hanging out at a local festival with our small kids. But she wasn't home. Her husband was home with the kids while she was at work. So after some initial awkwardness we decided to hang out together. We went out and about on the Ave. Why not, right?

I dunno. It felt funny to be hanging out with someone else's husband. And he was really tense.

We had a 4-year old, a 3.5 year old, a 1.5 year old, a .5 year old and I was expecting my number 3 in a couple of months. And wherever we went people assumed we were a very prolific couple with 5 under 4. I thought it was hilarious but he seemed to find it super humiliating. Maybe it's different for a guy. I don't know. We haven't hung out again without our respective spouses.

I suppose this could be a temporary thing. I mean at some point I won't be pulling my breasts out of my shirt every twenty minutes to nurture a wee boo anymore. It's things like that that makes dudes anxious, I can't help but to notice.

But sometimes I worry that this "the moms are in the kitchen and the dads are in the yard" style segregation isn't temporary.

Know what I mean, Jellybean?


  1. Yes. SIGH. I did fun things in co-ed groups, or even with just guys, before I had a baby. Now I hang out with other mothers and their babies and their tiresomely moderate drinking habits ("just half a glass of white wine, please") while the guys go do fun things, like drink beer at pubs.

    I'm not really into sports or a lot of other "guy" stuff, but I do like beer.

    At least I work in a male-dominated field. That helps some. (Seriously. I'm dead serious.)

  2. LOL @ "There's a hot one?"

    As you well know, I'm not a mom, but around these here parts, it's already pretty segregated at parties & family gatherings, etc. And it sucks, because to want to hang out with the guys makes you seem "boy-crazy" or something. Like you can't just be tired of mundane womanly gossip or the latest household cleaning tip of the week. You must be chasing after a some other man's manly parts to ever possibly want to hang out with them. It's never about the company.

  3. I freaking love this post because this is just who I am too. A couple weeks ago I went over to watch a movie with a friend but she was out so I sat with her partner for awhile and chatted until she arrived and by the end of the evening he was telling me I should come out with him on boy's night (we have a separate girl's and boy's night in our circle of friends). The only thing I can't do well with guys is stay up late and drink lots. But otherwise I've always enjoyed hanging with guys over girls because they are more honest, not pretentious and don't hold stupid high school grudges. When I was going to school in my 20's I remember it was time for getting new roommates again and I made a conscious effort not to find another male roommate. Because I felt that as a woman I should find out what it was like being around other women all the time (overall I liked it more living with guys, but I did have a couple awesome girl roomies too). I wish that I had more friends who were into co-ed visits and that the women didn't give weird protective sidelong glances when I laughed at their husbands' jokes like I was going to steal them away or something. Why do people get so jealous anyway. I mean if you're married, then what's the big deal? I think society's a bit messed up with this. I'm lucky my husband is not a jealous guy and I'm glad I'm not a jealous person either. Makes life much more enjoyable.

  4. You rock my world, Betsy.

    Or, maybe I should say, "Honest! Way to write that post! You write it! Yeah!"

  5. I would so love to smash you on top of the helmet right now. And I love that hockey picture of you.

    I lived in a co-ed residence heavy with engineers in university (one of which I married), then in a house with three guys and two girls. I was pretty much as close with our best man as my husband was. Our circle of friends who all had kids at the same time just don't really split along gender lines -- one of the women worked at Canadian Tire in the auto dept and knows more about cars than most of the guys, and my husband can really gay up a table for a dinner party. And my daughter is having trouble with a mean girl at school this year, but on her baseball team she's just another player making stupid fart jokes and twanging the bats hung in the wire fence. In other words, I hear ya.


Tell Betsy...