Girls V Girls

I have to confess that I don’t really understand the unspoken rules of Girldom and I pay heavily for getting it wrong. A friend said to me that she thinks it’s because my mum died when I was 2 years old, and I wasn’t raised by a matriarch but instead by a man, who raised me as a boy. I don’t have the same insecurity radar that, I think, girls pick up from their mothers, or even, that instinctive spidey sense, for social situations. I am definitely, a bit thick when it comes to reading the signs, ‘Why are you kicking me under the table Hagar?’ But as I get older and I focus on raising my family and shaping my future I realise that it isn’t as important as it might have appeared in the past.

I believe that women should look out for each other but I don’t think that all women feel the same. This is when they draw handbags, stick out their claws and let the bitch-fest begin. In the mummy blogoshpere, there has been a bit of handbag bashing and hair pulling, I don’t know the detail but what I can tell is that there is female power struggle going on about who is head hen in the henhouse.

In the Milly community, it can be a hair pulling and scratchy place as well. It’s full of cliques and girl gang uppery. I see this often in the UK Milly community, whereas I think in the US they have a greater sense of community than we do here in Blighty. I think it’s because the US serving do longer deployments of over 12 months. The days of Raj are over and I think the dependent wife, who filled her day finding out which butcher provided the best cuts, wearing her husbands rank on her sleeve are phasing out. However, as the tempo of ops increases, I think there is a need for greater solidarity amongst the community and the Millies.

In my own personal circles there are a group of Millies who look down their nose at those who live on patch (the married patch aka military quarters) and think they are superior. This group of people were really close friends of mine years ago but dumped me when The Grenade was born because he didn’t follow the baby instruction book and he wasn’t a sleeper. We were the first to have kids and they blamed me for not being strict enough with him. I didn’t know what was going on, Hagar was constantly deployed, lack of a matriarch and baby train wreck head from intense sleep deprivation, meant I was in a fog. Rather than supporting me, they ostracised me and judged my parenting skills. It turns out that The Grenade has mild dyspraxia and maybe a dose of ADHD.

While this was happening a new Queen Bee joined the scene and she had an axe to grind with me. She didn’t like my platonic friendship with her husband and she wanted to boot me out of the group. She is incredibly well versed in female manipulation, ex- all girls convent boarding school she was an expert at working the henhouse, unlike me, an almost homogenous rooster. This decorative hen was a master at flattery and she woo-ed the other hens, who quite frankly had enough of the insomniac Grenade disrupting their dinner parties and so the expulsion began.

But there is a twist to this tale of expulsion. I thought that it was just your bog standard, bitchy, backstabbing, she is wearing the wrong shoes, type dumping but no. It turned out the Queen Bee had a dark secret that I nearly accidentally, without realising, unearthed, which I only learnt about after I was given the ‘radio silence’ by the gang. The Queen Bee one drunken night had ended up in passionate girl-on-girl tryst at a party that I had attended. A secret that she wanted no-one to know. A secret that I didn’t know and would never had known had they not expelled me. Not that I even care, both girls were consenting and had a great time.

I just got dumped recently by an old school friend who I had known since I was 11. She sent me the Dear John, in an email, in the same email that she was thanking me for the wedding gift I had just sent her.

“It’s all so difficult but to be brutal – you drive me mad and I just find myself feeling really annoyed. When we meet up I just want to withdraw and just can’t connect with you anymore. I really think that you are a talented writer but if you are going to succeed you need to tone it down and be less arrogant and less full of yourself. People change and don’t always stay friends for life and I think that it’s time to move on – I am sorry but I have had enough. ”

One of her issues is that I don’t tell her what she wants to hear and it drives her mad. She wants me to say ‘poor you’ but I am saying, ‘keep fighting’ and it winds her up. She wanted pity and I gave her support. Really, it didn’t need to be so terminal – it could have been an honest, candid conversation and this is the world of Girldom that I don’t understand because I am a what you see is what you get person. I am no angel, I am difficult stubborn, old goat and maybe it’s difficult to be my friend. By the way, she kept the gift.

Another ex-friend has affairs all the time with married men. It was a real problem with me because I don’t think it’s ok for women to have affairs with married men. I think women should be loyal to each other and not facilitate affairs. I was young when I knew her and wasn’t confident enough to say, I am sorry I have a problem with this.

I don’t shaft people, I don’t have affairs with married men and I am straight talking. I am loyal to women and to the sisterhood but to also men and other humans. If I can help I will. I don’t have an agenda. I don’t want to be Queen Bee. I am not looking for a gang. I am not looking to lead the push. I just want to write my blog, hopefully unite the community a little and help people understand our lives better. We do need to unite the community better because the reality is this. There is no money in purse, the numbers of serving personnel are being reduced, and yet the workload will be increased and we need to look out for each other more.

Women have enough to contend with just being, raising kids, living with men and managing our lives without other women getting all bitchy and stabbing them in the back. It’s a lonely path and it has cost me dearly but now that I am older, I can handle the solitude and at least I know in my heart and my soul, that I am doing the right thing. However, if you have it sussed and you would care to share with me the girl rule book then I would genuinely love to know because it is a mystery to me but if the rules are:

1.) You have to agree with everything I say
2.) You have to love everything I wear
3.) You have to love everything I do
4.) You have to be insincere and tell me what I want to hear

then like the Dragon’s on Dragon’s Den, I am sorry but I am out and the life of a hermit, here I come.

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28 thoughts on “Girls V Girls

  1. Hiya,

    Cards on the table, I am a total overthinker. I have also have a deep interest in language and communication. Putting those two together in the office environment, I have learnt the following useful strategy:

    – Sometimes (often) when people are unpleasant in my direction, it is not about me. It is usually about them (back pain, emotional pain, stress). Rather than taking on everyone else’s drama, I wait until someone explicitly says that they have a problem with me. Otherwise, I try to just let it all just wash over me.

    With the stresses of deployment, child raising, career, money, pet poo in the wrong place, family drama…. I just don’t have the spare space to be taking on drama that isn’t mine. I keep in touch with people who seem positive, and try not to worry too much about the negative people.

    I know that’s not contributing to your Rules, but you don’t sound as if you really want to buy into them anyway.

  2. Me too Linda. I over-analyse as I try to understand WTF. But I am with you – I think this a good tactic and I am more where you are now. I like your philosophy. I do try and support people if they ask for help, and I think that is important too. Gone are the days where I am swept along in other peoples dramas though. I do what I can when I can, keep an open mind and try to be kind. It’s all I can do. Sounds like we would have a good cup of tea together 😉

  3. I read this through with interest (twice). You said it about me, generation gap & all (by the way, thank you for that comment, more on that later) but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been “there” in some vague form.(And I saw & read “From Here to Eternity” a hundred years ago. Does that count???? (joke)) I can’t relate exactly to a Milly situation but I can relate on the woman level.

    I don’t know how much close interaction the Milly’s have to endure. It sounds like it’s difficult to put distance to the living conditions. I would also image it’s lonely when your Milly Man (are men Milly’s, too?) is away and you depend on other Milly females for your adult conversation & companionship. Being dumped by a group of females can rip your heart out. Not that the females involved are even worth a rat’s butt but it’s being singled out and having the door of sisterhood close in your face.

    I know what I’m going to say will sound vague and kinda bullyshitty but consider it for a moment. Way back in the 50’s, nice girls didn’t have sex before marriage …. but we know they did (look at From Here to Eternity… ha ) I met Marilyn at Art School. She was living in an artist community, going to school and pregnant. Everyone rejected her. Even her parents (strict Catholic). Her Mother had arranged and put her in a Catholic home & had to give the baby up, etc… bla bla, you know. I had been married about 4 years at the time and already had 2 kids. My husband was a Taurus workaholic & never home & he didn’t really care what I did, anyway.

    Marilyn was in that miserable home without a cent and no place to turn. We barely knew each olther but I went to the home, helped her pack and took her to my house. (Husband didn’t mind). As she got larger and larger with child, and the news was out, I got the shun for taking in a “fallen woman.” It wasn’t close quarters like you must have but I felt the lonely rejection ….. 2 kids, Marilyn at work during the day , and I began to wonder if I’d made a mistake.

    Baby born, Sara. My Godchild. Marilyn married the father within a couple months. Parents came around & forgave. (But she did later divorce). The important point is that was over 50 years ago. Marilyn & I became such lasting friends that we’ve talked on the phone almost every day of our lives. We still do, of course. If you have ONE good female friend, consider it a beautiful gift.

    I don’t know if you can apply any of this to your present situation but when I read of your plight, I thought of Marilyn. My life would have been totally shallow without Marilyn. I hope you find your Marilyn.

  4. Thanks – I love our dialogue. You are so emancipated. I have friends and some very close ones too and you are so right. This blog has been brewing for a while. Your story is beautiful and I am pleased that you have a great friendship with Marilyn. It’s inspirational to me.

  5. You have an uncanny knack of writing about things that have been circling in my head! I’ve been caught up in a females-trying-to-be-Queen Bee type situation recently & your post has allowed me to reflect on these sort of happenings in the past.
    I don’t think I have ever known the rules! I seem to fall for their nonsense every time whether it is work colleagues, social friends (it even happened with a group from a church we used to attned – no more!). It is sad when it happens & you feel like a fool but you have realised the strength in walking away. I still give them too much credit I think. Thanks for making me think!

    • I think at it’s core, it’s about wanting to be liked but for me, I have to like me and I can only like me if I retain my integrity and behave with a clear conscience. Some people want to be popular more than they want to be decent and kind. I guess I find my own path. I hope you find yours too. I am sure you have. You always come across as very sage to me.

  6. I actually don’t tend to have many female friends because of this. And if I do I’m extremely selective about the women that I associate with. Women are catty and rude to one another and I’ve never been able to figure out why either. I feel that we should hold each other up and support one another but too many times we are trying to knock each other down.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with this nonsense. I think it’s ridiculous but it’s the way it is. Just stick to the people you know are good women and to Hell with the rest. They can be unhappy in their own lives and it won’t affect you.

  7. I know I think it’s because of penis pie. Chickens fighting over the cock. This why men tend to hold all the power cards because women feel threatened by other women, especially if they are different to them. We get all distracted and lose sight of the end game and the men just do whatever they want and retain control. We are our own worst enemy, which is so annoying because we should be our biggest allies!

  8. I have no idea! Women tend to dislike me. I really struggle to make friends, which is mostly why I love twitter/blogging so much, people are much nicer and more open minded!

  9. I am sorry to hear that chum! The best thing about blogging is that it’s your place to speak your mind so you don’t have to walk on egg shells when you write your posts. Women don’t speak their mind and then you don’t what the truck is going on and the next thing you know you are walking around with a knife in your back and everyone hates you. if only they would just say it and put it out there – life might be so much simpler!

  10. Hi, I’ve been away sunning myself in the Somerset sun so sorry haven’t commented until now. As you know I’m not sure I fit the stereotypes or the girl-gangs. My entire career has been spent working in male dominated professions. I’ve experienced physically threatening behaviour from male colleagues sexual harrassment and marginalisation. I will say this though – at least with men you know where you are! Everything is overt. Nothing is underwraps, or insinuated. Men will tell you that they hate you. Sometimes with crushing alacrity! In my experience I think strong women tend to be sidelined from the girls’ game. They don’t fit the submissive sterotype nor conform to the unwritten rules. When you talk about the blogging community however, where do you draw in the lassoo? Who do you mean? The world is a big place, surely there’s space on the net for every unique perspective?

    • Welcome back from your sunny travels. I hope you had a lovely time and are loving the UK a little bit more for it. I was thinking of this post when I was referring to mummy blogland. I also think polls, charts and rankings need to be independently audited and not run by individuals with invested interests. But you are right the ether is big enough for everyone and that is the beauty of the blogosphere so onwards and upwards. I like the blogging philosophy of Household Diva 6 this is something I would like to emulate, claws in and letting folk find their voice. You are a ballsy lady and I love your spirit and passion – you are right men tell how it is and you know where you are with them – even if it is brutal. It’s the unspoken behaviour rules that I struggle with.

      • I was completely clueless that post had even been written. Well I never! I didn’t notice any bullying at all. Differences of opinion sure. Like Heather who’s commented below I say what what I mean and respect other people’s differing point of view.

      • That made me chuckle!! How funny – I figured you knew. I happened upon it quite by chance. I think Cybermummy turned into a big love in once the pressure of the build up towards it had evaporated and the day was delivered. Exactly! No hidden agendas – say it how it is and if necessary, agree to differ. The majority of girls like consensus and flattery – do as I do or you are out of the gang. I am not interested in being in the gang – I like the freedom to roam.

  11. Ha ha ha! This made me laugh so much (obviously because I know the people involved and the back story) and it is so true. The funny thing is, all those (or certainly many) who once bitched about the patch and milly life are all piling on and taking the houses they otherwise could not afford. They now have their own multiple versions of Grenade (although quite a few are whiny and pathetic rather than individual like the G) but still like to pass comment on others parenting choices in a public and frankly rude manner. Everyone has the right to think and pretty much say what they want but there are ways and means to do it that are not downright disrespectful and destructive. Rest assured that nothing I have ever said about you (or most other folk) I would not say to you directly. I trust you would do the same for me, and our supportive and cool mates. Its all based on deep insecurity and overwhelming insincerity with a good dose of luvvy veneer over the whole thing. It is very sad that I don’t even think they truly see the nature of it themselves. ‘Nuff said methinks!

    • Insider knowledge is definitely an advantage here. Well everyone reaps what they sew. You know me chum – I call a spade a spade – it is the Yorkshire in me. Part of why I end up going head to head so often but sometimes as JK Rowling said in one of the Harry Potters – ‘it’s harder to do the right thing then it is the easy thing.’

  12. You’re a breath of fresh air! If other people have issues, then they’re thier issues to deal with! Life would be alot easier on the patch if people just said it like it was (although i’m not advocating causing offence deliberately!) The trouble is that everyones partners have to work together, live in one place and potentially do so again in the future. Frankly I can’t be bothered with it. Real friends shine through in the end! x

    • Thanks honey. Always had fun with you guys and most of this happened a while back. I think you are right part of the difficulty lies in the intimacy of the work place and the impact on your OH whereas in normal situations you would be inclined to be ‘how very dare you?’ ‘ a plague upon your house’ to the manipulative trollopes instead you have to be ‘more tea, one lump or two’ through very gritted teeth because it’s the boss’ wife!

  13. ah man, I wish you lived closer.

    I’ve pretty much given up on women to be honest, apart from a select few I find them bitchy, backstabbing and untrustworthy. I hate that i feel i need to tell them ‘don’t tell anyone this’ and worry about who they might tell anyway. i hate the way they gang up and close ranks, the way their friendship is so easily bought by a few flattering remarks and they disappear off into the mist with their new best mate. I just really don’t get them.

    One of the joys of living in the middle of nowhere is the ability to be a hermit.

    • Hagar has just told me that he’s not around next summer, which means 8 weeks of road trip – so how I about I venture over to yours and we can do some of that mighty fine log rolling cos it looks like a hoot!! Yes – hermit with the benefit of virtual friends sounds very appealing!! Thank God for folk like you with a more gun hoe – cease the day and drink through it attitude, keeping all us non-girlie girls sane.

    • Um *waves* I’m here. I’m too straight talking for my own good! I only open my mouth to tie my shoelaces. I call as I see it. As my Englishman said to Miss Ten the other day – ‘Mum’s a tom boy with tits’!

  14. Why is it the one’s who are not decent are the most popular? Is it, women need the drama of others to make them feel better about themselves? I can’t believe I came across this blog, I just had this conversation with my fiance last night. It was an omen, David sent me a facebook message to check out your blog.

    • Yes – women need to put other women down to make themselves feel stronger, which is a real shame and that is why we constantly hand over all of our power cards to other people. Thanks for checking out the blog, please share it with your like minded friends. I am sorry to hear that you have been victimised by another women too – where is that solidarity when you need it!

  15. I came over here from Vix’s blog.

    Do you know, your scenario with the ‘Dear John’ letter? A friend of mine who has been a friend for five years, who read at my wedding and who I considered as Godmother to my daughter simply removed me from Facebook and Twitter this week. No explanation. I emailed her and asked what was going on, she replied that we see the world entirely differently and she needs a break from that. WHAT?!

    Anyway. I’m slowly realising that as feminist as I am, I simply prefer the company of men. No mind games, no jealousy, no point-scoring and altogether easier to deal with.

    Thanks for your post x

    • Chum – ain’t nowt queer as folk. But why the need for such dramatic gestures as well which is so odd. It’s this inability to accept that we are different and have different points of view. Why does everything have to be about consensus. I can only be friends with you if you agree with everything I say – that’s so ridiculous. I think women feel like they are descending out of control as they get older, everything goes south, kids mess up your head, your husband is a constant disappointment (sweeping generalisation) and it’s all about grappling for control and that’s when they start expelling people that make them feel out of control but there is no need Gromit. It’s so rejecting though and that is what hurts the most and I am sorry your friend rejected you because that is cruel, childish and not nice. She could have respected you and handled it so much more maturely. Or maybe even asked you for help – why can’t we have adult conversations about this. I had known my friend since I was 11 years old and I had thought I had been there for her recently. Interestingly, I found out yesterday that she had been reading my blog as her ISP came up on the stat counter – tee hee! Your friend will make disapproving of you her new sport, she will be reading your blog and watching you secretly I am sure. I say ‘Fuck her!’ – thanks for dropping by! xx

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