Spending your lunchtimes with your male colleagues can be quite instructive. For instance, when I was working as a banker, I had to spend my very short lunchtime with three colleagues that kept on talking about football (soccer for the US readers), from the Champion’s League to small regional divisions. I thought it was boring at that time, but now I’ve switched to an upper level in the financial world, I realise these little informations (I knew nothing about football then) are quite helpful when you have a business lunch with – again- exclusively men. Or when you’re invited by an investment bank to a game, in the VIP section. That doesn’t mean I’m into football now, though. I don’t watch any match on TV.
When I arrived in my newsroom, I found myself again going to lunch with mostly my male colleagues (it’s not my fault, I get along really well with men in general, less with women- and besides, female journalists are still a minority, except in the women magazines). The topics of our conversations vary (thank god) a lot more than in my previous job, but it all boils down actually to two subjects: football (again) and women. One of my former colleagues ( a true misogynist) used to say that women have only two subjects of conversation: their appearance and men. Well, I can send the compliment back to him. What’s amazing in men’s conversations is that they can’t avoid judging physically their female counterparts, but are unable to tell you directly what they think of you. An example? I went out with four male journalists once, and they kept on talking about the different (young) female journalists in the newsroom. And it went something like this: “Did you see how she was dressed this morning, she looked like a ho?” or “Yeah, that one is really a true beauty, she’s definitely shagable” Of course, it depends on which colleagues you’re talking about. Some of my colleagues won’t talk exactly like that on their female counterparts. Some don’t care at all, while others just criticize their many physical defects. And I always wonder if they act ten times worse when there’s no woman with them on the midday break. Probably, since I have the impression that my ears whistle during this particular period of the day when I attend a press conference.
What strikes me is that when I go and lunch with only female journalists, we never abord the question of our male counterparts. Well, not on a physical aspect, at least. I’ve never heard any of my female colleagues saying she would boink one of her male colleagues. And this topic doesn’t occupy 85% of our conversation time like for my male colleagues. The subjects consist more on the family, travels, …
So, I’m curious, do you gossip like that on your colleagues?