See, here's the thing.
Women are bitches, and there's no scope for negotiation on that, they are. I don't mean in a "belonging to some gobshite with far too much Elizabeth Duke jewellery" kind of way, I mean PROPER bitches.
Quite often, I am to be heard wailing to The Mother on the phone, "Why couldn't I have had a boy ? I mean they just break things". Little boys who have an issue with each other sort it out with a punch to the nose and it's over in ten minutes. Girls, on the other hand, drag it out like a badly scripted three part holiday special of Eastenders. "She said I'm fat". Oh, give me strength.
You'll have gathered by now that I am fed up to the back teeth of the school holidays or as I prefer to call them, hell. Catty comments are made worse by the fact that the weather has been akin to a flood in some countries, meaning the little darlings are not even doing the parents the favour of leaving the house to bitch face to face, no. It's all being done on MSN.
I don't think I had a particularly deprived childhood, and I certainly don't feel the worse for being booted out the door every day of the summer holidays to you know, go to that big scary bright place outside, where people actually TALK. Every so often I get those emails from friends about how we used to drink water from taps as opposed to bottles at £1.20 and I just think, "Damn, you're completely right". I remain firmly of the belief though, that were I to suggest to my little darling that she actually venture OUTSIDE and build a tree house, there would be a sharp intake of breath in horror, followed by a speedy google search to establish what the criteria is for having one's parent sectioned. I could almost certainly expect a call from a frantic Childline operator.
I would love to be able to tell you that bitchery ends when school ceases to be a factor but I'm afraid with women, that's when it gets worse. This is the stage of life when women are hunting for a partner and "finding themselves", to the cost of all else. Take if you will your typical women's night club toilet on a Saturday night. It's bedlam. Allow me to briefly compare to men; in the men's toilet it's in, do what you need to do and out, so much as look at another man while he is doing that manly legs apart thing and you run the risk of being beaten up as a potential geigh. I know this because I have given up on the queue for women's toilets and sidled into the men's on several occasions only to be ejected very shortly thereafter. Some people have no sense of maximising resources.
Back to the women's toilets on a Saturday night, what men don't understand when they question why women always go in a group is that the women's toilets are not just a perfunctory measure, they are a social experience, or an opportunity to bond. Y'see, the ultimate "letting your guard down" signal to another woman ( ie: an indication that you are ready to bitch about everyone and everything) is to share a cubicle. This entails standing with your back to your newly acquired pal while she does what she needs to and when the time comes, swapping places.
Having made it out of the cubicle, the newly bonded females have several entertainments to look forward to. Firstly, there will always be a girl in the corner, sobbing her heart out by the mirrors. Around her, will be a group of her friends (this is where the group dynamics come into play). Many consoling words and phrases will be in evidence, typically -
"I never liked him anyway".
At centre stage, will be the "best" friend, this is the woman whose task it is to hug her the tightest, gently caress her hair and when she thinks the afflicted is not looking, roll her eyes to the amassed crowd, who actually, are spending more time preening in the mirrors anyway.
Moving on from that is the more "hardcore" of female toilet social interactions, it's the cubicle where there is a subject being violently sick and the posse are in evidence once again. Here the roles change, the "best" friend is the one tasked with rubbing her back and murmuring consoling words -
"Good girl, get it all up, better out than in".
The lower echelons of the group are either fetching sodden tissues with cold water to soothe a fevered brow, or they are busy checking the status updates on Facebook on their iPhones of the group who are still consoling the newly "dumped" member of the Toilet Sisterhood in the corner.
It all sounds like really cold hearted stuff, doesn't it ?
In mitigation of my membership of the fairer sex, when it comes to certain situations, such as bad clients or ESPECIALLY the welfare of our cubs, that's when you see real solidarity amongst women. All of the above goes right out the window, and women will gather around one and other in a protective circle, a circle which is impenetrable to all but the divine.
I'm very proud of the wonderful women around me, those women I have the honour of calling my friends.