When I was a 20 something who went to work in tight sweaters and short skirts I used to eat lunch several times a week with the guys in my IT department. It was so long ago we didn't call it IT. We called it MIS - which stood for Management Information Systems - and they programmed the mainframe. It was so long ago, that we'd discuss the upcoming Y2K - that they were working on a couple of years before the big event.
We used to go to this one Italian place at least once a week, called Iaria's. The boys would religiously eat chicken parmigiana and I'd have chicken fettuccine Alfredo. To start the meal, they'd bring around baskets full of warm soft bread and pats of butter.
Except the butter was always ice cold. So when you spread it - it would just tear the CRAP out of the delicate bread.
At some point, I realized that I really wanted the bread and I really wanted nice smooth butter on it - so I took to taking a pat of butter as soon as I sat down, and put it between my thighs.
Inconspicuously - (and it was the kind of butter in a little tub, not wrapped up in foil) - I'd walk in grab a pat of butter as I sat down at the table and hide it as the boys were sitting down, getting settled, gabbing about the menu and pretending they were NOT going to order the chicken parmigiana. They'd gab and gab and as the waitress deposited our basket of bread I'd take my now melty butter and spread it across the warm bread.
It's weird how you remember things like that, because I hadn't thought of it at all in years, until yesterday. Sitting at the Cracker Barrel in the din of breakfast eaters with my little monsters around me I picked up a pat of butter that was ice cold.
Despite the warm smell of the fire, the breakfast dishes clanging and the steam coming off my coffee, I thought of the guys from MIS and their chicken parmigiana. And the fact that I had miniskirts I actually wore to work, and that I'd sit and listen to them talk almost nonstop at lunch just absorbing the guy-ness of them.
Guys talk differently. I liked to listen to them, like a fly on the wall, like a decoration at their man-lunch time. Sitting quietly, having a coke (I didn't have to order diet coke or iced tea when out to lunch with guys, guys don't CARE what you drink for lunch, there is no beverage peer pressure). They'd talk about football and basketball and work gossip and I'd sit there and interject infrequently, listening intently. Guys gossip differently. They don't chew over the details of the event - exacting karmic payback about whomever they were discussing the way women can. Guys gossip, but they just TELL it. Fact or fiction, they just tell it.
It's different, they way they communicate. There is no nuance, no shade of meaning hidden behind the story. Guys just communicate outwardly without secret agenda.
It's sort of nice.
I look around my breakfast table, as I spread the apple butter on a biscuit and consider the 4 males around me. I haven't changed my dining companions. I still like to sit at a table surrounded by boys.