I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (because I love to repeat myself), I love The Golden Girls.
I don’t care that the show premiered a year before I was even born and that the characters are still about twice my age. I don’t care that, at face value, it doesn’t seem like I should be able to relate to a group of over-50, widowed and divorced women sharing a house in Miami.
Not only do I relate to them, I freaking love them (you know, as much as it’s normal to love fictional characters). But just like everyone I love (whether they are fictional characters or real people IRL) sometimes they annoy the heck out of me.
(For instance, I just annoyed the heck out of myself by saying IRL in the last sentence instead of “in real life”like I was some kind of jerkface who doesn’t have time to type real words any more.)
See nobody’s perfect. Not even the golden girls are. Not even the most self-proclaimed perfect golden girl – Blanche Devereaux.
(Sidenote: Don’t worry, I’m about to start making sense to people who have never seen The Golden Girls. I will also soon get to the point. I realize I’m sounding a bit like a Rose Nylund St. Olaf story here – okay, that was just for G.G. fans.)
Anyway, here’s a bit on Blanche if you’re a Golden Girls novice: she’s a confident, worldly, sophisticated, lively, beauty of a southern belle who at one point or another has probably used all of those words to describe herself. She’s also, well, very popular. We’ll just say it that way.
That’s the gist of Blanche – and I love the gist of Blanche. I love almost everything about Blanche, especially her seriously impressive pajama collection that appears to cost more than my entire wardrobe.
One thing I don’t love about her though is that she plays into one of my least favorite stereotypes of women.
If someone asks Blanche how she is doing and she says “fine” she never just means fine. She means that there is something terribly wrong and it is up to the people talking to her to ply her with questions until she finally reveals why she is absolutely not fine.
In one episode Blanche goes so far as to chastise her roommates because they have the absolute nerve to just believe that she is fine when she says she is. Turns out, she isn’t and she expects her roommates to magically know this and come to her aid with friendly advice and presumably chocolate cheesecake.
I hate this type of behavior. It’s not attractive or mysterious to speak this ambiguously just so everyone else has to go through the trouble of decoding your speech. It’s not cute. It’s not coy. It’s just annoying.
And most infuriatingly, it just perpetuates the stereotype that women can’t be trusted to say the words they mean or mean the words they say.
It just plays into the old joke that when a woman says she’s fine she never actually means she is fine, she means something else entirely and it is up to her significant other to figure out what she actually means.
(The punchline of these type of jokes is always the same: hey guys, isn’t it funny that women never say what they’re actually thinking? )
I hate these jokes because they just make women sound like a bunch of tricky, manipulative, duplicitous minxes who are trying to slowly drive their significant others insane with their exhausting, passive-aggressive mind games.
I, for one, am simply too lazy to make my comments into complicated riddles I then expect others to decode. Most of the time I just say what I mean, because, frankly, my life’s just easier that way.
And I think the vast majority of women I know (hell, just the vast majority of people I know) do the exact same thing.
It’s a heck of a lot easier to get want you want if you just say it.
And as smart as Blanche is, you’d think she’d know that. (Insert a Sophia joke about Blanche and the word “easier” here.)
Anyway, the point is, when a woman says she’s “fine” she probably just means she’s fine.
Because that’s just how words work.