Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

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December 3, 2009
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Alison Berkley: The Princess's Palate

My friend Summer just called me from L.A. to tell me all about this horrible fight she's in with her friend Tara.

The details of the fight aren't important. All you need to know is it's a classic Cat Fight.

Cat Fights can really be the bane of your existence when they occur, whether you are male or female. Guys, if you have a woman in your life and she is engaged in a Cat Fight, guess what. You are too because chances are she won't shut up about it until it's over. She will obsess about it, she will spend many of her waking hours investing energy into it, she will be spending her time writing e-mails about it, talking on the phone to all her friends about it, and whining to you about it. And in the end, all this energy will be wasted.

I know I've been tagged as a feminist and even a man hater, which is the most ridiculous thing in the world because the bottom line is chicks are a pain in the ass. We're irrational and narcissistic and when in the midst of a Cat Fight, we think the whole world revolves around us. Dogs run around peeing on everything all day long, and they look like they have fun doing it. But when a cat leaves her scent on something, she means business. Everyone has to suffer.

So anyway, Summer and Tara just went on a trip to Baja together, and things went awry.

What women do in these situations is not say anything. They sit silent, gritting their teeth and rolling their eyes and hoping someone else in the room notices so they can take their side. It reminds me of fifth grade when we mastered "the dirty look." The Dirty Look was accomplished by squinting the eyes and pursing the lips and lifting the chin in the direction of the person you are giving The Look to. It told that person, and anyone else in the room who caught it, that there was a problem.

As we enter adulthood, The Dirty Look doesn't fly so it's been edited down to those more subtle cues I've mentioned above. When a woman is mad at another woman, she tells everyone and anyone, except the person she's mad at.

After a while, one of two things happens: the Woman Scorned either hears about it through the grapevine or the Mad Woman finally loses it and flips out on Woman Scorned. Because she's been holding it in, she's like a pot of boiling water. She's a pressure cooker and her lid is about to blow.

Guys are so awesome that way. When they get mad at each other, like in Boston, someone gets punched in the face and then it's over. That's why I love my guy friends. You can toss them an apology and a few tequila shots or feed them something to eat and it's done.

So Summer calls me and wants to read me the e-mail she's written to Tara. It's the classic rant, riddled with emotional innuendo, accusations, insults and (get this) half-assed apologies.

"Erase it. Erase it now," I say 10 minutes later when she's done reading. "You don't want to put that in writing. Plus, she's not going to read it."

Women can be moody, difficult, annoying creatures, and the worst part is we do nothing to help each other through it. That's why the best friendships are the ones where you're the least likely to be moody and irrational at the same time.

I recently got into a Cat Fight with my friend Dana because we are exactly alike. We are equally spoiled and stubborn and have a flair for the dramatic. She got on my nerves and I got on hers, and despite my attempts to shrug if off, to put myself in her shoes, to accept her for who she is, I start getting annoyed. Because I'm annoyed, I do my best to make sure she's aware of it without just coming out and saying it or punching her in the face.

We never discuss it, so of course the bomb eventually explodes and the residual e-mails and gossip fall from the sky like shrapnel. This goes on for several weeks, with exchanges on Facebook that say things like "Seriously? You de-friended me?" and melodramatic e-mails that go, "I can't cry another tear."

Nigga please. Even I know when this is getting ridiculous.

The cool thing about my life these days is I'm living with a man who is very manly in terms of the way he thinks. When I go crying to him about stuff like this he usually says something like, "Who sits around and sulks and has little tantrums when they're 39 years old? Sounds like you're spending too much time in the hen house."

Thank you, god. I've finally met my match.

As I listened to Summer read her incensed e-mail to Tara, I could relate. There are times I spend a good part of my day writing e-mails I never send and having arguments in my head when I know good and well these are futile efforts. The craziest thing about a Cat Fight is it never lasts. Your best bet is to just stand back and let the fur fly because chances are, no matter how many insults were slung and claws drawn and skin scratched, when it's over, it's over. It's kind of like giving birth. They say there is some hormone that's released that makes women forget about the pain, something about survival of the species? It's kind of the same thing. Sure, there's the occasional friend-ending fight, but more often than not, the Cats turn back into Kittens and start purring once again.

When it comes to dealing with a woman who is pissed off, my advice is go hang out with some dudes.


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 3, 2009 06:49AM Published Dec 3, 2009 02:39AM Copyright 2009 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.