Girl World
July 3rd, 2009 by Christina

easter-2009-127a2For the past 10 days, I’ve been sequestered at an artsy all-girls sleepaway camp in Maine, where I’m running the creative-writing program. My daughters are here with me, living as the other campers do, and I gotta say that the experience is making me seriously question the whole mom-dad-kids nuclear family construct.

Here, all of our meals are planned, cooked and served to us (which makes up for the fact that they are not especially tasty.) My daughters engage in wholesome, mostly technology-free activities run by delightful, nurturing counselors, who later make them brush their teeth and go to bed. Wait–it gets even better: I see the girls several times a day and we usually hug and kiss each other. I haven’t noticed them whining or bickering, nor have I had to shop for groceries. Sadly, our camp session ends in a few days, so we’ll be packing up and leaving–but I’m planning to get off at the first exit that leads to a decent commune. It does take a village, dammit!

Another notable aspect of life here is that, except for the cook, the maintenance guy and a handful of others, this is a completely man-less zone. I am trying so hard not to become one of those droopy, unlucky-in-love types who has concluded that all men are creeps and losers. And I am not a member of the gay-and-gray generation chronicled in the recent More magazine article entitled “Over 40 and Over Men.”
(Though if you could switch teams, why wouldn’t you? No, really: Why wouldn’t you?)

Still, it’s surprisingly relaxing to take a break from Y chromosomes. It’s not so much that men are flawed, but that women behave differently in their presence. For example, since I’ve become single again, my mind goes into immediate assessment mode when men my age are around (Is he married? If not, why not? Should I care–and if I should care, do I look OK?)

Obviously, living in an all-female society comes with its own set of pressures and dynamics (remember the hell that was junior high school?), and I suppose it would be a drag if we all renounced men and our species became extinct. But in my case, this simultaneous vacation from the co-ed universe and the drudgery of daily life has been rejuvenating. In fact, I’m psyched for the day when I get to join an assisted living community.

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6 Responses  
Jennifer Fink writes:
July 5th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I’ve often thought the commune idea is a great idea. :)

But I’ll never get a break from the Y chromosome. I’ve got 4 boys!

L1za Lauber writes:
July 6th, 2009 at 7:56 am

yes it DOES take a village, and even our couple’s therapist said LAST WEEK something like ” any woman/mother would rather be room mates with her girlfriend than with her husband”. I love running the home the everyday chores, and basic child herding, feeding , driving with my best girl friends. I try to invite other moms and and their kids over all the time. I used to live in a neighborhood where we all had the open door policy, We shared meals, baby sitting and organizing activities for the kids. It was very communal without the weirdness of a real commune. Then I moved to a more upscale neighborhood and got a nanny. Life has never been so lonely. I miss the village.

Ricki Grater writes:
July 13th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I agree with Liza, as you KNOW (personally) — I LOVE communal living! (thus my never locked door)… But seriously, it really is the way to go – so much healthier than our isolated, fear-based, cocoon living. Ah well… we do what we can – and you are ALWAYS invited over!

I also agree with you on the way Xs change when a Y walks in the room! SO SAD!

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » Get Me to a Nunnery writes:
July 28th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

[...] a convent? It would offer the freedom from shopping and the outside world that I so enjoyed while at camp in Maine. Mirrors are probably not plentiful and so I could age without having to notice it constantly [...]

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » Ode on a Swedish Urn writes:
August 4th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

[...] for order is a persistent theme in my recent posts. I thrived on the structured life I enjoyed at summer camp. Then came my blatant convent envy. Today I celebrate the mother of all mental-chaos tamers: [...]

Ricki Grater writes:
August 21st, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I just need to say for the record, I WAS JUST KIDDING ABOUT NOT LOCKING MY DOOR. My door is always locked.

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