"Home lies in the things you carry with you everywhere and not in the things that tie you down."
-- Pico Iyer

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Eternal Questions

     I just read a book called The Secret Place by Tana French. It's a mystery that takes place at a private girls' high school in Dublin. It's one of French's six Dublin Murder Squad books, which she's written along with a few other mysteries, all set in Ireland.

     If you're looking for something to read, I recommend all of her books. But that's not the point of this post. What caught my eye in The Secret Place is a series of questions about human nature that came up while the two detectives were interviewing various persons of interest at the school  And I'm thinking, those of us who have been around a while, who have a lot of life experience -- and who are looking for something to think about other than the remnants of an election -- might be able to answer these questions.

     Most of the interviews involve teenage girls. But they cover boys as well, along with a few adults.

     Throughout the interviews the detectives have to figure out who's telling the truth, who's holding back secrets, who's passing on stories fed to them by someone else. And this suggests some questions about human nature. Let's see if you have any answers.

     At one point, one of the girls says: "Everyone thinks girls blab everything, yap, yap, yap, like idiots. That's total crap. Girls keep secrets. Guys are the ones who can't keep their mouths shut."

     Do you agree? Are girls better than boys at keeping secrets? How about grownups? In general, who is better at holding onto secrets, men or women?

     Another issue comes up -- and you'll have to "excuse my French" so to speak. One guy is called a "prick." Later, a girl is called a "bitch." Here's the question: Is a bitch simply a female version of a prick, and a prick a male version of a bitch? Or are they fundamentally different?

     One last issue. The plot of the novel turns on Chris who is a handsome, popular 17-year-old from the boys' school next door. He's also a player. First he goes out with Joanna. He dumps her because he's smitten with the dreamy and fragile Selena. But Selena's friend Julia knows that Selena will only get hurt. So she seduces Chris -- not because she likes him but to keep him away from her friend Selena.

     My wife B says, "Oh, come on, I don't believe a girl would 'give herself' to a guy just to save her friend. I can't suspend belief that much." Can you?

     By the way, if you're instantly angry at Chris, don't worry, he gets murdered. But that's not a spoiler. The question is: Who did it? To answer that, you have to read the book.


gigi-hawaii said...

Very humorous book. Taciturn people keep secrets. Loquacious people don't. The more you talk, the more you blab.

ApacheDug said...

Excuse me for a moment, I need to look up loquacious & taciturn. Ah, okay! :-) I agree with Gigi that talkative people tend to spill the beans more, butttttt... on the whole, I’d say women keep secrets better. Men can get sloppy with their talk. As for bitches & pricks (ahem) this is crazy but I see bitches more as a personality type and pricks as someone malicious, dangerous. Anyway, poor Chris. What handsome 17 year old boy ISN'T a player? :-(

Rian said...

I'm not sure that 'keeping secrets' is related to gender. True, women are more inclined to open up emotionally and men not so much. But... keeping a secret is more a loyalty thing and that depends on a person's character, not their gender (IMO).
Don't really know the definition of either prick or bitch (excuse my french too), but just consider both derogatory terms.
And being 'a player' is never a compliment to me. But I can see how it could be considered one if you're male.

Arkansas Patti said...

Kind of agree with Doug on the personality types of bitches and pricks.
Also think women are better at secrets. Men aren't but that is because they usually don't understand the premise of "secret." I have seen many a secret spilled by a guy having no idea what he is exposing.

Olga said...

I have always heard that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

Laurie Stone said...

I think there's no one gender better at keeping secrets than the other. It depends on the person. To me, prick and bitch are the same thing -- a disagreeable, nasty person. As for Julie, she probably secretly lusted after Chris and used the "protect her friend" excuse as a way to get closer to him.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom....interesting questions. Off the top of my head I would say that women are likely better because they often try to "hide" things so they will be seen as kinder and or more socially acceptable and want to be liked. Men, not so much. In most cases they don't even think that way so just say what's on their mind.

As far as the pricks vs. bitches comment...I just listened to a podcast with Brene Brown and Dax Shepard where they got into a rather hilarious discussion on whether it was sexist for men to use the word "pussy" (forgive my french) or for women to use the word "dick." What did they end up deciding? That the word dick just sometimes applies to anyone who is nasty, but that you will usually only hear a man use the word "pussy" as a put down to another man--and in that case it is always sexist and wrong. I agree. And I agree with B that "giving herself" to a boy to save her friend doesn't sound that realist to me either. It sounds like she wanted to do it and used that as an excuse. Okay just my 2 cents on your questions and I promise I'm telling the truth!


Kay said...

I agree with Olga and Doug.
I can often keep secrets because I forget them, unless it's a really juicy secret. In that case, please don't tell me.
That sounds like a very interesting book. Thank you for the recommendation.

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