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April 25, 2014

A Canuck in Kantuck: Boys at my table

(Continued)

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

But when a man comes into your house balancing Tupperware he’s, a), remembered to bring, and, b), cleaned himself, there is something somewhat charming and unanticipated about it.

Two, the nature of the conversation is different. For example, we talk about NPR, like, a lot. In fact, there have been several times one of the guys has brought up an article on, say, stem cells or honeybees or Chechnya and the three of us chime in, “Oh yeah, I heard that one on NPR too.” Whereas women often home in on catching you up on what’s happened since you’ve last talked, the guys are happy enough to talk about world events or fitness or subjects that have nothing to do with people we know in common.

Now, that being said, let’s be clear: They are not above gossip. They all work at the hospital here and, boy, are they ready to delve into some of the juiciest bits. But interestingly, that usually comes later in the party, usually by the third course or, fittingly, with dessert. I’d wager that women would never think to or want to wait that long.

I’ve also found there is less clarification needed with men. I had always been suspect of the claim that men just don’t think about things as much as women, but I’ve come to believe it. With men, if you apologize about something you said the night before that maybe you shouldn’t have said, they don’t even know what you’re talking about. But how many times have I woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat worried I said something inelegantly to Suzy? Or in a way that could be misconstrued to Claire? Countless times. Then when you do apologize to Suzy and Claire they know what you’re referencing precisely, and there are a few long minutes before you decide if the apology is truly accepted — or if they’re annoyed but just being polite.

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