what do they talk about?

I was at a gathering the other day to say goodbye to an old friend who is leaving for another country. It was a mish-mash of people, all there to say their goodbyes, so I didn’t know anyone. My beloved very quickly abandoned me to assist in cooking the copious mass of meat we’d all brought as an offering and I found myself adopted by a delightful couple.

I had a lovely time with this couple and after two hours was completely au fait with their lives, from how they met and why they don’t have children and aren’t going to get married, to where they grew up, number of siblings and last 10 years of career path. Kisses, hugs and pleading to stay in touch were what we parted with. My beloved, on the other hand, got chatting to a filmmaker. But that’s about all he managed to tell me about the conversation. He had no idea what genre of films, where he was based, or actually, even what his name was.

Come on! What do they talk about, these men?

Years ago I was introduced by my now ex to his best friend. I only chatted to him for about 15 minutes and afterwards asked my ex if he’d ever met his friend’s son. He was gobsmacked. He had no idea his very best friend in the whole world had a 14 year old son (okay, the son lived with his mother in another city, but still).

I’m not a gregarious, bubbly character by any means – so it’s not down to my personality, I’m sure. It’s got to be a Mars/Venus problem.  It’s so interesting this difference between men and women. How we’re supposed to maintain any kind of relationship is beyond me. Perhaps that’s why men need to be partnered with women, otherwise all they’d know how to do is kick the wheels of a car and grunt satisfactorily when their sport team wins.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair, but it does boggle the brain a little. I’m keen to try out speed dating, just to do some field research on the 5-minute conversational tactics of men. It’s been a while since I went about aware of what men were trying to say when attempting to insinuate themselves into my life.

I do think a possible clue is that women generally show interest in people, asking lots of pertinent questions. Everyone wants to be seen to be interesting. I’ve had many conversations like that, where I’ve done all the asking and looked interested – and then the feedback has been that I’m such a lovely person. Nobody ever really gets much out of me, about me. I quite like doing that, though. A bit like being a sociologist on a field trip, observing the patterns of behaviour of various Homo sapiens (which does alter rather alarmingly depending on the level of alcohol consumed, or the presence of more attractive people in the room) – the proverbial fly on the wall but with a controlling role.

Well, men, it seems if you want to appear charming and interesting, all you need to do is ask the right questions and make appropriately interested noises. Far better for your bid to score than chest puffing and shop talk. If you don’t, some goddess is going to be observing you through veiled eyes and a disinterested smirk.

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