I think it is in the nature of women to play the game commonly referred to as “Why my life sucks more than yours.”
We even have our own mantra-of-sorts: “When we’re down, when we’re blue, my life MUST suck more than YOU!”
Catchy jingle, no?
For some reason, it cheers us up a bit to complain about our faults, flaws, and foibles, and it is the complaining that offers the relief almost as much as the assurance by our pals that their life is, in fact, FAR worse than ours.
Even on a good day, when the sun is shining, when the jeans are loose (straight from the dryer), when you actually received something in the mail OTHER than a bill, all women can still feel the need to play this little game.
It goes something like this:
Me: Woe is me — my life sucks. I hate my (insert: Job/Life/Boyfriend/etc. here).
Friend: No, your life CANNOT be any worse than mine. Mine sucks SO much more.
Me: Your life is MUCH better than mine — you have an office with a door, your desk CANNOT be messier than mine is, and your handwriting is so much prettier. And the love of your life is not dating your clone.
Friend: Office with door but no window equals claustrophobia. Desk is a pit of despair. Handwriting: you’re just plain wrong there. I’ll see you the boyfriend comment and raise you the following: You’ve probably showered today (unlike me,) you can fit into your Seven jeans, and your choices for lunch consist of something other than Meatloaf.
You get my drift.
We poke, prod, and pry until we can one-up each other on the perils of our common existence. Everything is fair play, including the bad decision to get acrylic nails and the difficulty of self-removal, the failed trysts with unsuitable “didn’t know it at the time but may be gay” blind dates, and even how we are THE laziest human alive in that we have to go to the bathroom but are too lazy to get up and walk down the hall so we just hold it.
Suddenly, our pathetic-ness, falsely self-perceived or actual, is a badge of courage, a ribbon on our wall. Instead of competing with each other for the best job/life/boyfriend, we now position our flaws against each other, at least in public. Not to say that the mini-competition to be the skinniest, prettiest, married-ist no longer exists; it just is now hidden beneath layers of complaints and pints of Ben and Jerry’s.
Why, as women in the 21st century, who have made amazing progress for equal rights, jobs, and pay, do we feel the need to more often disguise our success instead of promote it? Is this back to the “Smart-girl-in-third-grade” syndrome, knowing that the intelligent girls would forever be labeled as brainy instead of beautiful? Or am I taking it too far?we may just need to take a step back and instead of waiting for our friends to tell us why our life sucks LESS, play this game with ourselves and counter our own complaints with some positives. Looking on the bright side may be trite, but then again, half-empty glasses are WAY less fun than ones half full.
Especially if they’re half full of Cosmopolitans.