I have just returned from a snowboarding trip with NewMan and three of his male friends. This was a first for me as my usual holiday companions for the last 6 or so years have been close female friends, so I was certainly apprehensive about the prospect of spending 8 whole days with four boys (or three boys and one man as would NewMan correct me). I was also somewhat panicked by the assumption that I would have to keep up with the boys in terms of boarding on/off piste and drinking when very much on the piss.
And keep up I did. The snowboarding was steady with some long, hard and fast days but on other occasions we took it easier and enjoyed the vin chaud and pression more. Bizarrely I actually found it more difficult to keep up with the drinking as I've now come home full of cold and at least 3kgs heavier. There is of course a strong argument that there was no obligation for me to keep up with their jugs of Amstel, but hey, I was one of the boys for the week!
On a serious note it was an educational experience. I have learnt that boys really aren't as blindly ignorant to dirt as I had previously thought. They can also be very considerate (waiting for me to get down icier parts of a slope) and best of all they did accept and carry out my orders (they may be aware of dirt, but that doesn't mean they rush around to get rid of it). Of course the last comment didn't apply to NewMan who politely told me where to go each time I asked him to empty the dishwasher, though I have to admit he is very well house trained and doesn't need much nagging, ahem, I mean asking. They were all also excellent at keeping our wood fire burning ("Me man, make fire") and thanks to some brilliant tuition I now know how to play poker, and win ("Total beginners luck").
This not a man-bashing post; far from it. The boys were great company and aside from one or two odd conversations about IP addresses and iPhone apps I felt included and on completely equal terms. This was flattering, not because I am a girl but because I am a girlfriend. I know my friends and I leave a lot of conversation topics off limits if one of our boyfriends was present. Likewise, I don't think my girls and I are as open and honest with each other. For me and my lady friends, going up the mountain and picking our runs and first coffee spot for the day would have involved protracted discussions and some bartering of emotions. With the boys, one picked and others grunted agreement. Later on if anyone wanted to do something different to everyone else, they did just that. Again, with (my) girls that could have meant hurt feelings and conspiracy theories. Lesson learnt.
However one day last week when my legs were sore and I'd had one bad fall too many I was craving my best female company (i.e. my Mum) just so I could have a bloody good cry and a moan. Admittedly NewMan got a ski-lift preview of this show but I could tell he wasn't interested in a ticket for the full length feature so I blew my nose, shook the snow out of my knickers and grudgingly went back to being one of the boys. Another lesson learnt.
In all in all it was a brilliant "boys" holiday, though I fear my liver and legs will continue to ache for some time. But that's ok as I am back with Mo and will be seeing my other girls this week so I can get all of the backdated moaning out of my system and catch up on their emotional traumas too.
You can take the girl away with the boys... but this girl will always be one of the girls.