Saw Funny Boy yesterday. He’d invited a bunch of mates to the pub. I arrived nice and early – reckoning, with my now well-honed Machiavellian instinct, that he would have especially kindly feelings toward the person who stopped him sitting on his own. I was foiled: I got there to find another girl friend of ours already in situ.
Whether what followed was karmic payback for my villainous scheming, I can’t tell you, but after 10 minutes, we were joined by another girl; shortly later by another; then by another. All were younger, prettier and – inevitably – blonder than me*. Within an hour, our little corner was buzzing with people: and four out of every five had boobs.
Like any Christian woman under 40, I’m used to being in the majority. I’m used to going to a church barbecue and seeing the only five men there huddled around the music player, picking through the CDs with little murmurs, like a Delphic oracle interpreting a bird’s carcass. It’s still a surprise to me in that in mixed company, with their numbers advantage so well established, the guys will still retreat into their own little geek enclave, as if to confirming their elite status. Perhaps it’s my socialist tendencies, but it irks me: I want to see those lucky buggers giving a little back. They should be working the room, like bees pollinating a field of flowers…
But here we were again: Funny Boy and his two male friends, sitting at a table surrounded by attractive, single women, talked exclusively to each other, in the cryptic language of comedy catchphrases (you know what I mean: without warning, someone puts on a funny voice, trots out a meaningless line from something with Steve Coogan in it, and the others guffaw or, if you’re unlucky, continue the scene to its conclusion). Like an old seadog who can tell in his bones when a storm’s on the way, I have developed a supernatural sense of when a social grouping has lost all hope of meaningful guy-girl chat. When the Monty Python quotes come out, I know the night is doomed and the only thing to do is sneak quietly to the exit and save yourself. Let the dead bury their dead. (“Bring out your dead!” “I‘m not dead yet!”, etc etc).
I looked around the room and the statistics confirmed my hunch. It is a scientific fact that once the ratio of women to men is above 3:1, the probability of you talking to a guy you like is reduced to near infinity, while the chance of having a decent conversation with anyone in the room drops by 50%, because you spend most of your time frustrated that you’re not talking to the guy you like.
I grabbed my bag and left.
*Readers of this blog will know that this is not a slur on blondes, rather a slur on my hairdresser