During one of our airport layovers this summer, I sat down at the food court while my husband went off to get some food. A woman sat next to me, and soon we were chatting. She was just leaving when my husband returned.
Him: Who was that?
Me: I don’t know. She just sat here because it was crowded.
Him: (curiously) So what were you two talking about so intently?
Me: She’s going to Mile High City to visit her son. She’s 62 and she’s still having hot flashes, even though she had a hysterectomy three years.
Him: What? She told you that? After like, two minutes?
Me: Women can achieve intimacy very quickly. I don’t think men aren’t socialized to do that.
Him: I don’t know about that. The guy behind me in line was telling me about his erectile dysfunction.
Me: (through my dramamine haze) Really?
Him: No. OF COURSE NOT.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately — how women will often share intimate details of their lives with each other very quickly. At academic conferences, I’ll ask a woman I’ve just met to pose naked for my blog, and next thing you know, we’ll be in a deep discussion about her ex-husband or how she feels about her body. I’m guessing this ability to achieve intimacy so quickly is a learned social skill, and I’m still wondering why there’s such a gender difference, especially in this century, when it comes to those conversations.