"Women are cats," to quote my Mommy Dearest...if you knew my mom, you might understand her attitude towards her own sex.
She was a very shy beauty of the 40s. My father said she looked like silver screen actress Hedy Lamarr. Mom’s timorous behavior was misinterpreted as conceit, making her easy prey to vicious verbal attacks by female coworkers.
According to my mother, her one and only friend, Pauline, "stole" Danny, Mom’s first real love,who, at the time, was an officer in the Army.
(Side note: Who doesn't love a man in uniform?)
Since therapy wasn't in vogue back then, she came to her own conclusion that the breakup wasn’t a result of Danny losing interest, but happened because her best bud was a feline disguised in a pencil skirt and padded shoulders.
This betrayal sealed the deal for Mom. From that moment on, she was steadfast in her belief that ALL women were cats. She would forever warn my sisters and me to be wary of them. Her story of betrayal was told – and retold – whenever I had a hurtful experience with a friend. Mom would immediately begin sharing her tale of woe as if it happened yesterday: how she could have married Danny, the tall, blonde, blue-eyed officer, had it not been for Pauline, the Jezebel who sunk her claws into him and stole him away!
How did her opinion of our gender affect me? For the longest time, I preferred the company of men over women, minus my grammar school friends. How was it that they escaped my dread?
Well, for starters, my interest in boys was almost nil before the famous preteen hormones kicked in. After all, pettiness doesn’t usually rear its ugly head until middle school, and luckily, there were never any incidents prior.
I was able to escape Mom's torch song rendition of "Danny and Pauline" until I hit the 6th grade.
It seems that when most girls turn 12, they suddenly start caring about material things, asking questions like, “What kind of a car does your dad drive?” They also become preoccupied with labels. (Really? You're 12, and you're making fun of me because my shirt doesn't have a polo player on it? Really? Of course, the fashion of the 70s went more like, "It's not a Huckapoo?" Remember those?)
This shallow female behavior only reinforced Mom's negative view of those who walked the earth with XX chromosomes. As a result, I steered clear of them. That’s not to say that I didn't have chick friends – I did, but they were my same friends from grammar school, and were thankfully a lot more down-to-earth than those competitive, label-conscious girls. Translation: they didn't care if their Huckapoo got dirty, or if they broke a nail while playing paddleball.
It wasn't until I turned 40 that I was able to really appreciate and enjoy the company of women. Don't get me wrong – I’ve met and known some women who are as petty as they come, and if they were in my life, Mom would be preaching away. Fortunately, I've quickly weeded them out, leaving those in my life who are non-judgmental, inspirational and extremely supportive.
Recently, I cleaned out my closet. It was time for lots of reasons: first, I want a new wardrobe, including shoes, for my upcoming birthday, and second, those size zeroes and 2s will not be draping this body again. So it got me thinking: Wouldn't it be fun to host a wine tasting/clothing auction? I invited many of the really great women I know, and told them to bring a friend who has not yet discovered the wonders of delicious cheeses and pasta, nor the side effects of eating them on a regular basis.
I can’t begin to tell you how much we laughed and carried on as we shared stories, tried on outfits, and tasted wines from around the globe.
The top three favorite wines of the tasting were; 2009 Joh. Jos. Prum, 2006 Ceuso, and 2009 William Fevre . Joanie, my childhood friend's mom (who, by the way, makes a hell of a meata-ball) had never tasted German wine before. What was her reaction to this slightly sweet yet crisp Riesling? Love at first sip. Moments like this can’t help but make me smile. For some, wine may be just another beverage, but for me, it's a whole world. To be able to share my world, especially with some of my favorite women, is truly a pleasure.
BTW: Women drink more wine than men - 60% to 40%; however, men collect more wine than women, but that's for another blog…stay tuned!