The female of the species |

The female of the species

Alison Berkley

I went on this amazing date the other night.We sat around and listened to music, drank wine and talked about books, theater, film and art. We played around on the computer taking pictures of ourselves with the built-in camera, putting on all these different hats and making silly faces. We talked about the creative process and various projects we were working on, hoped to do or had already finished. I felt pretty and smart and left with a mix of new music on a CD and a reading list, my voice hoarse from that glass of wine that turned into a seven-hour-long conversation.There’re only two little problems: She’s already married.That’s really too bad considering she fits the bill on almost every level except for the being female part. Someone told me to write down a list of everything I wanted in a man, and I did it, even though I thought it was silly. High on the list was “someone smarter than me who can teach me about things, tell me what to read and expose me to music, art, wine, good food, travel and all things aesthetic” (the list was probably a little longer than it’s supposed to be, but whatever).Jordan has dark, bottomless eyes the color of wet tar and skin like toffee. With a background in theater she’s a walking performance, filled with drama, grace, beauty and an almost uncontainable humanity that can best be described as range in an actress. She once asked me if she made me nervous, and I said yes. After knowing her for only a few days she made me laugh so hard I was on the verge of tears, but not the laughing kind but this deep, scary opening of my heart that I fought hard to resist. I remember we were in the copier room at CMC preparing for the teen writing camp we were team teaching, and I was laughing so hard I buckled over this table that had a phone and a paper cutter on it. I put my head in my arms to try to contain myself because I was afraid that if I started to cry I might never stop.No, I’m not gay. Don’t be ridiculous. Let’s not compare apples to bananas here.I don’t want to come off as one of these outspoken Maureen Dowd-type feminists who are basically bitter man-haters who in all likelihood would feel differently if they were getting laid regularly. After reading their impassioned rants, it’s also easy to understand why men might run the other way as soon as they see these chicks walking down the street. I’m pretty sure most men prefer intercourse to discourse, a box to a soapbox and so on and so forth.What’s funny is all my girlfriends are that way – headstrong, intense and maybe a little too smart for their own good. I can’t think of another time in my life when I was surrounded by this much female energy. It’s probably because we drive all the men in our lives crazy and are left to sort through our various neuroses on our own. (Just for the record, the only male currently in my life is already crazy, which is why they call him Psycho Paws, hello. He was just born that way, and it is so not my fault.)I mostly hang out with the Spaniard and the French Baby, and the picture usually goes something like this: We get together for a girls’ night and sit there and roll our eyes a lot and argue, and it’s actually a lot of fun. Because at the end of the night, we all still love each other and it doesn’t matter how insane we all really are. (The fact that they’re European and always have good wine on hand really helps.)The Spaniard is from Barcelona and is the first woman I ever met in my life who actually knows how beautiful she really is. She is tall and skinny with sky-high legs, creamy, flawless skin and big boobs, even though she eats like a football player.She’ll bust out with lines like, “I know I’m pretty. Don’t you think my body looks hot?” and she isn’t being sarcastic.The French Baby is the youngest of our lot and was basically born with wine in her bottle and a cigarette in her mouth. It is unbelievable how entitled French people are when it comes to sharing their opinions. Their delivery is second to none, with the sultry accent and the exaggerated poise with which they hold their heads and blow their smoke out into the air.”I dew not like dat at allll,” French Baby will say when I come out of the dressing room modeling some item of clothing I’ve fallen in love with. “Dat is id-dee-us.”You gotta love the girl for being honest. She is also the only person I have ever met who can tolerate me for hours on end, especially on lazy weekend afternoons when we nurse our hangovers with movies, popcorn, endless conversations and giggles.Then there’s the Pedigree Blonde, my old friend who lives down in Carbondale that I have known since high school. We’ve shared so much with each other over the years that there have been times, especially recently, when we have been in tears over how much we mean to each other after everything we’ve seen each other go through. I mean, how many guys would be willing to say, “I love you so much I’m going to cry” without having drank at least 17 whiskey Cokes first?I know a couple weeks ago I said women are idiots and maybe in some ways we are. But we’re also loyal and steadfast and honest. Our relationships with men seem to come and go, but I’m just so grateful to know that we always have each other.The Princess is hoping her tan won’t fade too fast. Send your loving e-mail to

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