Colette Freedman believes men and women experience different sorts of friendships.
It’s a word – a bit like the word, love – which is bandied about all too easily. We all have friends, we all need friends, and yes, men and women can be just friends. But do men and women have the same sorts of friendships?
I don’t know what I’d do without my friendships. Many are lifelong, some much more recent, but each one is important to me. And over a lifetime of friendships made and lost with members of either sex, it occurs to me that men and women have different sorts of friendships. I believe men are not as open in their relationships as women. Sure, they may have a confidante; perhaps even two, but how many men have deep and intimate friendships, someone to share their closest secrets?
Women are different. We have several close friends with whom we can share our worries, pains, joys and concerns. Friends we go to for advice about health, children and men. Always men. Younger women may think know it all, but older women know they know it all, because they’ve been there.
Why is this? What makes women’s friendships so intimate?
I can only speak from my own experience, but I think it’s because we tend to talk through our problems. It’s the metaphor of the man refusing to ask for directions when he is lost. If a woman is lost, even metaphorically, she asks her friends for advice … she asks for directions. I am constantly asking for directions and I would be lost, literally and figuratively, without my girlfriends.
Much more importantly, women listen.
Men may listen, but experience has taught us that many times they come into a conversation with their mind already made up. Sometimes, they are not looking for advice, they are simply looking for affirmation.
The Consequences is a microcosm for this. Sure, Robert has his friend Jimmy Moran, and even though the older man is more of a father figure to Robert, they are open and honest with each other. Like most male relationships, their intimacy is masked with joking; yet, the men do open up enough to get to the heart of their issues. And even though Jimmy represents all that Robert could become – alone, friendless and lost – Robert does not really listen. His mind is made up; driven by instinct, he knows what he is going to do.
Kathy, the wife, on the other hand, has several women she can talk to: Maureen, Sheila, Rose and, bizarrely, even Stephanie, her husband’s mistress. In fact, at the end of The Affair, she ends up learning more truths – hard truths – from Stephanie. And, because she is a woman, she listens and learns.
Similarly, Stephanie, the mistress, has her best friend, Izzie, as well as her sisters and her parents to go to for advice. Like Kathy, she is prepared to listen and make a decision once she has all the evidence in hand.
In The Consequences, all three characters are lost. They are embroiled in an affair and disoriented as the consequences unfold around them. Both Kathy and Stephanie lean on their support systems of women to get through their troubles; yet, Robert, for reasons revealed in the book, can no longer rely on Jimmy.
I believe it is nearly impossible to emotionally survive bedrock-shaking incidents alone. We try, but it is the support of friends which eventually helps us navigate through the bad times until we end up standing on solid – though not always familiar – ground.
The end of an affair may be only the beginning … Over the course of one tumultuous Christmas Eve, Kathy Walker confirmed her suspicions about her husband’s affair, confronted his mistress, Stephanie, and saved her marriage. She and Robert have eighteen years, two teenagers, and a film production business between them – plus a bond that Kathy has no intention of giving up on. Yet though Robert is contrite, Kathy can’t quite silence her doubts. While Robert reels from his wife’s ultimatum and his mistress’ rejection, Stephanie makes a discovery: she’s pregnant. Her resolve to stay away from Robert wavers now that they could make a real family together. And in the days that follow, Stephanie, Robert and Kathy must each reckon with the intricate realities of desire, the repercussions of betrayal, and the secrets that,once revealed, ripple through lives and relationships in thoroughly unexpected ways.
An internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays, Colette Freedman was voted One of 50 to Watch by The Dramatist’s Guild. Her play Sister Cities was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe and earned five-star reviews: It has been produced around the country and internationally, fourteen times including Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur) and Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle). The film version has been optioned and is in pre-production. She has co-written, with international bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is gearing up for a national tour. In collaboration with The New York Times best-selling author Michael Scott, she wrote the thriller The Thirteen Hallows (Tor/Macmillan). She is also the author of novels The Affair and The Consequences.