Negotiating the Mine Field of Female Logic

When my son was in high school, he was absolutely stunned at the female capacity for grudge holding and axe grinding. Having been female all of my life, I could assure him with good authority that his observations about general vindictiveness were by no means unique. I pointed out that his darling and wise mother did not claim the friendship of many of her own kind. In my experience, more than two females in a group can rapidly become a phiranna feeding frenzy. Odd numbers seem to trigger the cat fight response more quickly, but the fur is going to fly regardless.

It seems that for the longest time, he and his girlfriend enjoyed outings with other friends, group dates with kids, many of which dated back to grade school days. They would go bowling, or play laser tag, or hit the roller rink. Summers were filled with ball games, picnics, trips to the water parks. But all good things come to an end, and so too did summer vacation. The group outings slowed, became more infrequent as many of the kids attended different high schools and were in different grade levels. The reality of homework, sports, clubs, and family obligations really curtailed the group assembling for fun.

My son innocently inquired, of his girlfriend, why they had not seen a specific young lady in such a long time. He obviously missed the warning glare and snarl, and he bumbled ahead with the follow-up question of did the girls talk often? What was new? Without realizing, my son was heading deeper and deeper into the turbulent waters of a tsunami, and the tidal wave of anger was about to swamp him out of his happy little canoe. And he furiously kept paddling out to sea.

As he desperately clung to the wreckage, he was tersely informed that "they" would no longer be speaking to Zoe. Once again, not understanding when to paddle away from the eye of the storm, my son asked why. There was scary anger, copious tears, cursing to make a truck driver blush, but nothing to really pinpointing how BFF's could have become toxic to one another. And no explanation as to why he was supposed to be hating on Zoe, except of course, because girlfriend said so. This was my son's first taste of being led by the nose ring like a prize bull at the fair, and while he squirmed, he still managed to meekly follow the girlfriend's lead. Once at home, and tension on the leash relieved, common sense and logic took over.

Several days later, storm clouds clear and girlfriend in a more sunshine and rainbows sort of mood, my son foolishly decided to once again determine why it was that "they" were not speaking to Zoe. Don't think that the poor sot had any inkling how fast the weather could change, and was once again totally swamped in a tidal wave of emotion, but without real answers. Sonny boy was finally getting a bit frustrated in being ordered about and expected to follow blindly, so he persisted, demanding and explanation for this violent hatred of somebody who had been a close friend since grade school. After withstanding the new round of storms, imagine his complete surprise and puzzlement to discover that girlfriend could not remember what had occasioned the estrangement between herself and Zoe....not a flipping inkling. But girlfriend was absolutely certain that it was bad, completely without redemption.

My son came home talking to himself, and later talking to me. In the world of guys, there are just as many disagreements, hassles, and aggravations, but it never escalates to this level of disgust without at least remembering what the affront was on the other side. Guys may explode like firecrackers, but the anger seems to burn itself out just as quickly. They may actually wrestle or come to blows until somebody calls "Uncle". But, for the most part, once the altercation is over, life goes on with a definite diffusion of heat. The guys will go to mutual corners to cool off, and come out shaking hands and sharing a burger. Girls, on the other hand, pick at the incident like a festering wound, which is soon septic and ten times larger than the original injury, and still, they will pick it apart, despite the pain, the hurt. They will plot revenge that includes total and abject subjugation and humiliation towards somebody who was a best friend just a short while ago. And they demand that all others, aside from the object of their ire, publicly pledge devotion to the cause, even if the cause is a mystery. It is most certainly an all or nothing proposition.

I don't think that my son ever actually extended the olive branch to Zoe, but he was left very unsettled, and perhaps even a bit afraid, of triggering Mount Vesuvius again. He learned very quickly that everyone who took Zoe's side in this forgotten altercation were cut equally dead. One incident could potentially shrink your social world to none other than the girlfriend. It was about that time that I believe he started to rethink the relative merits of having a steady girlfriend, and to tread more cautiously around females in general.

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