Here's a question: why does there seem to be a disconnect between certain groups of men and certain groups of women? Of course, there's always been a fundamental disconnect in the languages the two sexes speak, but sometimes it seems like women prefer to associate exclusively with other women. Point in case: my two brothers and I just served food as volunteers at a fundraiser dinner. No big deal. Give them plates, take plates away, make sure they have enough alcohol, etc.|
Anyway, there were eleven or twelve other servers there, all of them women. At least six were teenage or young adults. Now, I don't claim to be a terribly interesting person, but I'm usually worth at least saying hello to. During the wonderful confusion of table assignment, I was odd man out. We were supposed to be teamed in pairs. My brothers, true to their family mentality, teamed up, leaving me partnerless. I figured, Okay, I can do this. I walked over to where several of the girls were sitting together at tables, chitchatting, and asked multiple times if anyone didn't have a partner.
I'm not sure whether they were directly ignorning me or if their isolationist attitudes just made it harder for them to hear me. Regardless, they were effectively deaf to me. Eventually I managed to get their attention, only to find out that they all had parnters. Fair enough. There was an odd number of tables, so it only figured that I'd be the only one not partnered. I wound up triple-teaming three tables with my brothers.
My brothers and I, having arrived early, had already set out the wine at the tables, so our duties as servers were temporarily halted. We basically stood around waiting for people to arrive and for the salads to be ready. I managed to find a few smaller jobs to do, like filling carafes with ice and whatnot, but we still had an hour to kill and nothing to do but stand around and talk. Or attempt to talk. My brothers were more than willing to talk to each other and include me in the conversation, but I talk to them every day anyway. I was ready to start up a conversation with someone else.
There were a few older ladies there who were also willing to talk, but I also get to talk to adults a fair amount. Since leaving college at the end of the semester, I haven't had alot of contact with people under twenty-five. I wanted to talk with some teenagers.
But I was too late. The girls had already set themselves up in a group against the wall. It was the only long stretch of wall that wasn't obscured by a table, so pretty much all the servers were standing there. The girls were on one end, my brothers on the other. I hopped in the middle, looking around for anyone who looked female and interested in talking. Too late. They had already arranged themselves into their little group of mutual friends and were more than happy talking without any external intervention. Even the girl who didn't say anything and looked rather left out avoided even looking in the direction of me and my brothers.
Admittedly, I didn't actually walk up and say, "Hi, my name's Andrew. What's yours?" but I really thought that standing nearby, not having anything to do, and appearing interested in talking would at least earn me a passing glance. Once again, I doubt that they actually were thinking "Eww, boys have cooties, I think I'll stay away from him," but there was definitely a wall up between the sexes.
Eventually the salads and the guests were ready. We began our routine of rush in, grab salads, rush out while attempting to look non-rushed, place salads on the table, and repeat. There wasn't any opportunity for conversation. Then we rushed out, cleared salad plates, and brought out the main course. Then we rushed out and cleared plates and brought out coffee. At that point, I realized that the dishes were really stacking up. Most of the plates still had large portions of food on them that needed to be scraped off. I grabbed an apron and started scraping gunk off plates.
And then a funny thing happened. The pre-menopause females began noticing me. Aside from the occasional comment on how disgusting the large amounts of goop were, they didn't say much, but they were at least forced to acknowledge my existence. And as I proved my usefulness and adeptness at doing the kitchen jobs nooone else was picking up, a few of them even began to smile when they handed me a plate covered in glop.
My interaction with them didn't really get much better after that point, but at least the interaction was there. Eventually, when the servers were finally able to eat, I was at least able to demonstrate friendliness by clearing their plates for them. As before, they smiled and said thanks, but that was it.
I was pondering the whole evening later and I eventually wound up at the question of why did they begin to act friendly only when I was sitting there doing the icky work? Were they just glad that they didn't have to do it? Maybe thankful that I was saving them from the task? Or was it because I was willing to do crap that noone else felt like doing, making them feel superior to me? Or was it just a random fluke?
Arg. Women are confusing.