Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Why I'm Afraid of Women

Where to start on this? Honesty? OK I'll try that.

In the past few years I've become very close to my daughter. We've become good friends. I know this is not unusual. Besides, she is my only daughter and as you know we live in the middle of nowhere, where making and retaining friends isn't the easiest task in the world. (I know I go on about where we live, but as the nights draw in I'm getting increasingly fretful about the prospect of lonely nights spent in this rambling old house in the middle of rolling, deserted fields). So when I knew she was leaving home, I decided to make a real effort to find new local female friends. But, since I'm very bad at being sociable, this hasn't been an easy task.

Plus I think I'm scared of women.

I have friends, several lovely women, some of whom I've known since we were at school together, but most of them live either in a different country (Finland) or somewhere else in the UK. 'Haven't you made any local friends over the 15 years you've lived in the country?' I hear you shout. Well yes, I did have a very good friend once. And she's the reason I'm afraid of women now.

We met when our sons were nine or ten. They were at the same school and we lived a few villages apart. We hit it off almost as soon as we met. She was vibrant, sexy, loud and funny. Everything all the other English women I'd met since I moved to Britain weren't. She didn't care what she said to whom, she wasn't demure, she never compromised, she was as far from a delicate English rose you could get. And we shared a passion for shopping, particularly designer fashion.

She introduced me to New York, a city which I still remember fondly and always want to return to. Our trips to NYC became legendary, I could write a novel just about them. We took full advantage of the low Dollar rate of the early Noughties and stayed in the best hotels, ate in the best restaurants, went to the most exclusive clubs. We were Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda all rolled into one (or into the two of us). We were best friends for nearly five years.

But something happened. At the root of all the shopping and partying there was an underlying unhappiness in both of our personal lives and we reacted in very different ways to it. Suddenly she wanted us to do everything together. It seemed I couldn't move without letting her know about it first. And she became aggressive and hostile for silly things; if I couldn't meet her of an evening out or go to the gym with her. We had fights, real fights. The first time it happened we laughed afterwards and were truly puzzled how a couple of forty-year-olds could act like a couple of fourteen-year-olds. But then the fights continued and became more acrimonious and serious. I was trying to work on my marriage while at the same time being pulled to pieces by my so called friend. Even now, years later, when I think of the things she said to me I get upset all over again. And scared. Afraid to let myself care so much about a friend again for it hurt so much.

So now whenever I meet a nice new person, a potential good friend, I back off as soon as it gets more personal. I don't want to get hurt again. The flip side is, now my daughter has gone, there's no-one I can do silly girly things with, like gossip about the articles and fashion on Grazia, drool over the latest arrivals at Net-a-Porter, get too drunk at a party (OK, I DID NOT do that with my daughter BUT do frequently do it with another great good friend who shall remain anonymous - you know who you are) , meet for a quick coffee and moan about life, go shopping and overspend. Or go for lunch and end up making it for dinner and a late night out too (see above!).

My London friends keep telling me to move up and then I'll be able to see them more often. But alas, the housing market is stupidly contriving against us once again. Besides, lonely and deserted as this place is, it's still a unique house in a unique location which I'm not quite ready to give up yet. And I'm not sure I am ready for London traffic and noise after the peace and quiet of our current location.

So, lucky me, I found blogging! And today, my ether friends, I really need that cup of coffee and moan about life in general. Here's my list.

1. It's bloody raining. It's quite warm outside but the house inside is freezing. How does that work?

2. I've finally after three weeks managed to get the windscreen man to call and replace a cracked one in my car and he turns up with one for the wrong model. I've told him to go ahead and fit it anyway and hope an extra antenna doesn't affect the eventual re-sell price. I couldn't face sending him back the mile and half country lane (plus some) to go and get another. Besides, it would mean another day waiting around for him.

3. I should be getting on with tax returns, but cannot face the most boring task of the year quite yet.

4. When I came back from Rome I decided to cut down on drinking and keep off the SB at least during week days. But, with son here to 'look after me' while his father is away on business (as he often is these days), it's felt like I'm still on holiday and have only managed one measly wine-free day in two weeks.

5. Doctor confirmed today I have a rare virus which is attacking my immune system. Not dangerous, but just uncomfortable. That's alright then!

Huh, huh, I feel so much better now...


Deb Shucka said...

I'm sorry you had such a horrendous experience with your friend. Your writing is so vivid and fun to read. Hope you find the perfect flesh and blood soul sister soon.

Wildernesschic said...

Helena I am with you on the women thing . I haven't trusted anyone for years. Yet I can bare my soul to numerous strangers online :? I also live in a house that is colder in than out, but in the summer that's cool so a plus, and when the fire is lit I am sure yours like mine stays warmer than most.
I like vibrant women friends but they are often the most dangerous as in the single white female thing that you experienced. On the other hand the more sophisticated and quieter girls that I know shock me with their manipulative talents and calculating ways, looking for a rich man. They horrify me . Especially as the mother of two future heart thobs:)) Do they not see the meaning of life?? I think this is why I prefer to talk to like minded people on line. Dont get me wrong I have some super lovely friends too but like you live in the middle of nowhere so its such an effort to see one another.
So heres to online communication xxx

one of 365 said...

I hate women too! Well, that's kinda harsh, but man have I been back stabbed. I really liked reading your piece because I thought it was only me and there was something wrong with me. I have had friends who are women who have screwed me over for no reason, talked about me behind my back. I tend to get along with older women in their 40's and 50's. omen in their 20's and 30's HATE me. Women scare me. I feel like just as you get to feeling comfy with them, there goes the knife in the spine. I don't have any friends either. I used too, but everyone has gone away from a fight or losing touch. I see women at lunch and get so jealous. I don't get how people make it work. I'm a nervous person and at first I come off cool and calm. But I think as people begin to know who I am, they start to hate me. Sad, eh? But you aren't like that. You just had 1 bad experience. It sucks that your daughter left. But truthfully that wasn't a reliable source for you anyway. It also stinks that you are in the boondocks. How about joining an expat group? Is that lame? I don't know Helena. I am in the same position, so not one to really give advice. Really good food for thought though. xoxoxoxo

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Sometimes women can be, well, you know. You just described one. Don't think we're all like that. I'm happy to be your friend but I'm afraid I wouldn't be the best person, in person. I, too, am trying to stay off wine during the week. Always seems to be an excuse to have a glass or two.

But, we could always whine about that while we're having our wine.

Expat mum said...

I think the fact that you described the friend as so unusual is the key. She was - and most women aren't that needy, and don't end up acting like that. Pick a more normal female and see what happens.

Helena Halme said...

What excellent advice and support from my online friends. Thank you. Here's a cheer to 'normal' women! xxx