Saturday, March 5, 2011

Flocking crowds

I must be wired weird.

With rare exceptions, I absolutely abhor shopping.  For anything.  Clothes, food, bedding, whatever.  The more people there are crammed into a store, the less I like it.  My skin starts to feel all crawly, I get more and more irritable, and I get into the "if I have to endure one more pushy, or rude (or um, unknowledgable) sales person (or fellow-customer) today, I just might put all my stuff back on the shelf and walk out" mode. The clouds of fragrances from people's colognes, hair sprays, and even deodorant soaps and fabric softeners give me a nasty headache and make my eyes puff up and sting like crazy.  Add to that the fact that a good 80% of the clothing in the store is too small for me - and the stuff that is left looks like it's made to cover a bar-b-q rather than a human being - and it just intensifies my distaste for the whole thing (Why DO they make clothing items with broad horizontal stripes for those who are size 16 and over?) 

I guess I'm not your typical (stereotypical) woman either.  I hate "girl power" stuff, women-only events, and all that "sister bonding" makes me sick.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I can be with a group of women who get together because they are friends - and be perfectly fine as long as it's friendship upon which the gathering is centered.  

But as soon as the feminist monster rears its head (favorite past-time of which appears to be male-bashing) I am outta there - in spirit if not in body. I find it all so shallow. Like I said: I must be wired weird.  

I think it's because I grew up being dragged to women's events (quilting bees, potlucks, women's missionary society functions, and so forth) and enduring the cheek-pinchers and listening to old biddies natter on incessantly about how very hard it was living with their men, who were all such slobs. (An aside: mine isn't.  I'm the slob.)  Or listening to them list their aches and pains.  Or worse, discuss what curtains went with what couch, or how to get this or that stain out of a tablecloth.  (I so much preferred being with my father and his friends.)

I got so very tired of meaningless small talk that I purposely closed my eyes and forced myself not to understand the pedantic and poisoned words I was hearing, but instead listen to the tone - and it sounded very familiar.  Where had I heard that tone before?  and then it dawned on me.

It was in the chicken coop. 

My uncle kept chickens when I was a child. I'd been specifically told to stay out of what my aunt Muriel called "the hen-'ouse" ... because for some odd reason that was taboo.  It's like they thought if the chickens were frightened by my being there, then they wouldn't lay eggs or something. After a while - because I was quiet - the birds forgot that I was there. 

Although the stench was overpowering, I was slightly amused by the conversations that seemed to be going on in there. There was a low-pitched awwwwk, awwwwwwk, awwwwk, droning on and on until the rooster woke up and walked around, strutting his stuff, and then the cackling would start.  I could even get them going; I learned to mimic the rooster's crow so well that they thought he was nearby and they'd get all flustered hoping he'd pay attention to them.  Or frightened that he might have overheard their gossip. I was grateful that I couldn't understand chicken or I might have heard some rooster-bashing going on.  

So I'm afraid I call women's events and gatherings "hen parties" - - and if that offends some people, so be it.  But you won't catch me going to one, no matter HOW it's marketed.  

And since the majority of people who shop are women (most men wisely stay away from the whole affair) - well, I might have to do it, but I don't expect to enjoy it.

It doesn't make me popular.  But it makes me, me.

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