Friday, June 03, 2005

What we talk about

There are differences between what guys and gals talk about. From my extensive and labor-intensive field research (of 2 male discussions and a myriad of female conversations), I have noticed that the topics of male discussion and those of female's are vastly dissimilar. While age is correlated to differences within each gender, the variation is negligable.

So here we have it (at the risk of much stereotyping), the themes of guy's conversations:

1. Girls & Sex
Usually males will discuss the females they have met or just those that have walked past. The "chio bu" rating scale will come out and all the conversationalists will debate on the number of stars to give her based on the face, hair, boobs, legs and butt. Other body parts are seldom considered.

Almost invariably, the pretty girl theme will lead to an in-depth chat about sex. The subject may not be the female of the earlier conversation; it can be about male fantasies as well.

2. Money & Future/Life
Guys may be more philosophical than girls. I have witnessed debates about religions, life after death (or not), heaven vs. hell and the definition of a utopian society among others.

They also look at the amount they have earned and plan for the future. Like what car they would want to buy and the house they want to live in. I suppose this is in relation to the life course differences between genders. Guys are supposed to be the breadwinner and provide shelter and transport for their partners right?

3. Games
Guys play a number of games; they can be MMORPGs, sport games, mind games etc. Naturally, these will feature strongly as their topics when they discuss tactics, strategies, characters, positions and how they would like to murder their opponents. Fighting dirty is usually not beyond them as I have discovered from the 2 male conversations when I sat in.

Talking about admirable key players are also one of the themes. Although I cannot fully comprehend the talks of clans, guilds, teams and the minute differences among them, I guess these jargons will not be lost on the male members of the species who are familiar with MMORPGs. So XXX from Clan A is an excellent range player but YYY from Team B is good in casting spells. Headache dey!

4. Alcohol
Who has drank what, when, where and why is another common topic. Multiple weird-sounding names are shot out as males argue over what should be branded a non-macho drink and where certain liquors can be cheaply purchased.

I guess females also discuss alcohol but I don't think we really give a shit about whether something is too "manly" for us.

5. NS
National service is an abbreviation-filled topic that only those who have been through it can fully understand. Is it ORD or ROD? The captain is bigger than the colonel, or is he? These are second-nature to guys who have fulfilled or are fulfilling their national liabilities (An NS term I picked up).

Booking in is bad as is AWOL. Clearing leave is good while being "tekan" is hell on earth. It's good being a girl.


What do girls talk about? Let's pigeonhole a little:

1. Other girls
Strictly speaking, this is not talking; it's bitching.

"Check out that bitch at 4 o'clock. She think she Gisele meh?! Wearing cowboy hat indoors!"
"Yikes! Look at the woman! Where got people wear bright red with bright yellow?!"
"Pui! That stupid bitch wearing shades while clubbing. Act celebrity!"
(Incidentally, even celebrities will be criticized for doing this.)

Most of the time, girls will be the targets of female bitching. You have to congratulate yourself if you find a male as the subject for the day. Female subjects are not restricted to strangers; friends can also be targeted, albeit with less venom and a lot more humor and restrictions.

2. Shoes
Shoes are a whole subject by themselves because they are frequently discussed. Take a look at Victoria's Secret. They have a whole section for shoes, see? And they are not categorized under accessories. Footwear are more than just accompaniment. Girls are constantly plagued by questions of the kind of shoes we should get. Ballet flats, wedges, thongs, kitten slides, stilettoes, pumps or boots? Should the style be slingbacked, stacked heel laced-up, strappy, or peep-toed? Which is the "in" color of the season and what nail polish matches it?

We know we only have one pair of feet. All the more we should enhance our pretty pedicured toes with the best shoes and continue buying until we find that perfect pair.

3. Clothes, Accessories and Beauty Care
Strictly speaking, clothes should have a whole section to itself but the purchases of these are usually acommpanied by buying accessories to "go with it". Bags, earrings, necklaces, and rings are complements to our clothes and you never fail to hear the statement "What kind of accessories should I wear with this top?" when a female decides to buy a particular article.

Beauty care are somewhat less frequently discussed unless one is asked by others about the items they have been using to get that smoother skin. You see, we know XXX brand works and makes us prettier. But no one really shares her beauty secrets. It is a natural instinct to keep one more attractive and/or others less attractive so the males will be tempted to continue their lineages with us. It's sexual chemistry baby. Lol...

4. Discounts/Sales
The merits of Sales A and Sales B is thoroughly dissected in a long conversation over shopping tea intervals. Especially now during the Great Singapore Sales. However, the conversation need not be face-to-face. There has been an increase in woman-to-woman SMSs during sales because we should spread the good cheer to our sisters and disseminating the news helps us find shopping kakis. If someone can arrive earlier and chop place in the queue, all the better.

5. Guys
In my field research, guys in terms of sexual terms are seldom discussed. Maybe it is because my research participants are less proned to talk about their sexual activities. It has its merits. I don't suppose any guy want to be rated against a scale for his performance in bed. It's rather private, don't you think?

In any case, when guys do feature as a subject, they are usually passing eye candies or topics for bitching (e.g.: XXX is a fucking bastard! He cheated on YYY and accused her of sleeping around! !&*#08!&).


So there we have it! The very skewed post about gender differences of conversation topics.


YellowPony said...

You have nicely summed up for me why I had the inherent inability to make female friends for the first 15 years of my life. I still have a difficult time forming relationships with other females, probably because all this time, I've been talking about the stuff on the guy list.
This clarified a lot for me.

jllt said...

I suspect many guys want to hang out with a female buddy that is like them but do not actually want one for a relationship.

Adrian said...

Heheh, you really blogged about it dear.

Anonymous said...

there can never be a perfect pair of shoes... :D

Anonymous said...

I think it varies from group to group. If you try your covert operations on lets say, the breakdancing community, you'll find that gender doesn't play a big part in conversations? I agree though that social circles not created by common interests but rather by random selection do behave in the way that you've discovered. (:

jllt said...

adrian: Yep. Should not waste the previous tibits I gained from Wednesday.

giraffes: The very reason why we have so many pairs of shoes! Yikes! I just bought 6!

simplicate: Agreed. Heh heh... I was careful to point out that it's an overgeneralization in case some dumb dumb decided to flame the hell out of me. (:

Icebreeze said...

lol. I really have to give it to you. But I also wonder if the things that we discuss about are merely the minority of men in the society. You should note that there are the nerds/decent fellas out there whom I met with before and realized that these topics are rarely in their conversation lists. Perhaps only the gaming part is the same. But please don't ask me what else they talk about cos I simply have no idea. And that's y i don't hang around with them as well.

Icebreeze said...

One more thing. lol. Congrats to you clearing off your consipated bowels. It's just too bad because I just self experienced one of the BEST ways to get yourself to shit today! =x

jllt said...

Hmm... Maybe nerds are assexual? They talk the same way regardless of gender... Hahaha...

Please share your deconstipation formula. We can all do with more ideas.

Injenue said...

talk is all good and dandy but heck talk is just the prelude to the action mah. be it games or girls, we talk about it, but it all boils down to the action! my fav phrase, xin1 dong4 bu4 ru2 xing2 dong4!!

Soli Loquy said...

eh wat about when guys talk to girls??

jllt said...

injenue: What kind of actions you talking about?

cheneille: That one is very dynamic. Hard to generalize. Haha...

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