Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mean Girls?

Good morning! It's my long day as I go from morning until 10 pm tonight. No worries....I got it covered...done it before...not crazy about the schedule but I created it to be free in the spring. So, not wanting to complain about it, I move forward and do my job.

Yesterday, something interesting happened on the tennis court. I subbed in for a friend who was working out of town. As we played, the usual banter and dopey play was evident as we hit some great balls and hit more balls out. All in all, playing morning tennis does what it is supposed to do...give me an outlet for my stress, a little aerobic action, and fun with the girls. That's it. When we finish after 90 minutes, we go our separate ways and run to work.

Until yesterday.....

S mentioned that the ladies on the next court (and I now use the term 'ladies' with my tongue in my cheek) commented to her friend that they were surprised that she was playing with the 'mean girls.'

Huh? I did not play last year because of elbow issues and played twice this season. I am not sure which mean girls they were referring to, but I was shocked by the comment. Looking at the ladies in our contract time, I can't think of one mean girl, 'cause I don't roll with a group that is nasty to others, especially when they have the privilege of not working on a Monday morning and can afford indoor tennis. The courts are not cheap and we pay up front for a season. The gals are professionals or housewives who are active in the community. Who is a mean girl?

Odd? Was it me? Am I a mean girl? What does a mean girl mean? When I was in high school, there were mean girls. Looking back, they were the most insecure of the bunch. So, they acted as if they were better than anyone else and excluded the nerdy types (uh, that would be moi). And so, I was never included in the mean girl clique in high school.

College...let's see...college....perhaps my head was in a book too much to know any mean girls. I work mostly in a female dominated profession....yes, there are some mean girls there, but there are mean guys too. Really mean...nasty....this is just their personalities. I have to work with them, not party with them. Like college, I focused on the work and not someone's personality. However, I recall the time when an upper class man asked me how I could wear my shorts and ripped sneakers to tennis practice. After all, the cute guys were on the court next to us. Oops...my bad....sorry, I did not have the money for new sneakers and the old Pumas worked pretty well.

On to today...mean housewives....Interesting television show concept, The Mean Housewives of the Tennis Court. Who are they? Well, some of them are the ladies who took up tennis after the kids were in pre school since they had a few hours to kill each day. They were never on a competitive team before and do not know how to act in a sportsmanlike manner. I know a few and stay away from them unless I have to play against them.

For example, a few years ago, I played with a woman who is a bit socially challenged...like me, another book nerd. She is very nice and thoughtful...and anxious about her tennis. Anyway, I played with her against women that I have known for years. One of my pseudo-friends asked me why I was playing with her and said that her social group called my partner "Encyclopedia Brown."

Knowing that this was a major 'dis, I walked away and got pretty angry over the comment. First, they were gossiping about a nice woman. Second, they had a name for her....kind of like the other nicknames that I have heard players use for other women.

This made me sit back and think about who I hang out with and avoid a friendship with women who have nothing better to do than gossip.

Are all of these women 'mean girls'? Absolutely not. Most are the kindest, nicest, sweetest individuals a person could meet. They would help in a flash and are often the people who volunteer in community activities when the rest of us are working. They are the pillars of society and do not brag or boast about their volunteerism. 

Now, my new tennis group has been identified as mean girls. Startled, I think that they are wrong. The Monday morning ladies have life in perspective as their families and communities are first in their lives. A competitive tennis match is 9th on the top ten list.

And so, gossip does not end in high school or college. It stays in our society as women and men who have nothing else to do with their time manufacture identities and personalities to people that they do not know. Sad, I wish them well and a life to focus on rather than my little group of Monday morning misfits.


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