Overheard on the 19.28 from Richmond to London Waterloo

“Well, it’s not as though you’re 35 and have to marry the first man that comes along or be single forever…” 

“Marry him right this minute!” 

“Only on the cheeks? How very 1940’s of him. Next time maybe you should take the initiative.” 

“You found things to talk about for NINE hours – of course there’ll be a third date!” 

“Ooooh, maybe we could double-date?! I LOVE double-dating!”

In these five extracts from a phone conversation that lasted from Richmond to London (approximately 15 minutes) we have many of the problems that exist in female friendships:

(i) Ridiculous relationship advice. The woman spent the entire conversation practically insisting that her friend must like this latest man, even though the friend in question was rather confused about it all.

Don’t get me wrong, advice between friends is excellent. Whenever I have an issue there is a distinct circle of people who are consulted (always the true researcher, this usually includes a varied sample of ages, faith backgrounds, relationship statuses and occasionally genders), but their advice is considered on its individual merits. But, there will always be ridiculous advice that’s not worth taking.

(ii) Over-excitement at friends getting into relationships. When one is a smug-married (and I know this girl was, her boyfriend was right next to her, immersed in a book and muttering at intervals) the temptation is to drag every single one of your friends kicking and screaming into smug-marriedness with you – regardless of whether or not they are interested in someone or if someone is interested in them.

(iii) The classifying of men and the adoption of stupid nicknames. Referring to her chum’s potential new man as “1940’s man” owing to his chivalrous tendencies was odd, referring to her own boyfriend as “1960’s man” was even weirder. Thing is, I think a lot of women do it. Amongst my friends there are men referred to as ‘idiot boy’, ‘J-God’, ‘Fish’ and ‘Tim’. (Yes, the last one might sound like a perfectly normal name, but it is in fact code.)

Anyway, why would someone have such a conversation, loudly, with a highly irritating tone of voice and laugh (think Janice from Friends) in public? It’s the friend she was talking to that I feel sorry for. I bet she’s delighted that an entire train carriage have heard the details of her dating adventures!

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