I’m going to be honest with you:
I’m not as familiar with the ladies as I wish I was.
That’s not to say I’m totally ignorant.
Andrew Smith recently-ish (I’ll go for vague here) said that he’s completely ignorant about the ladies. They’re foreign and alien to him. And there’s been a bit of a backlash to him saying that. (He’s got 9 novels published) I know this only because I’m on Book Riot right now, listening to a podcast, and they’re currently talking about it.
He’s supposedly only know a few females; he has a daughter, and that’s it. That’s pretty sad. To think that someone has only known 3 women in his entire life – his mother (maybe), the mother of his child (maybe), and his child (aged 17) – is pretty bleak. What about teachers? Editors of his books, or the publishing team behind them? Surely you know SOME women!
But I’m talking about this because I am in kind of the same position, sort of. See, I’m shy. As a shy male, I don’t approach the ladies. Ever. If I know any, and I know a few, it’s because they approached me first. I’m reserved, I’m introverted, and for most of my life, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting that many of the female persuasion.
Most of my friends are male. That’s a hard fact. I do know a few women, but it’s way less than 51% of my friend list on Facebook.
But even I, who only has a few female friends, don’t make the mistake of thinking of women as alien, foreign, Different.
Yes, there’s some things that only women have to experience. You know, that whole menstrual cycle thing. And maybe feelings, I guess?
Back to seriousness, well, men feel things too, you know? We feel anger, sure. But we also feel love. We feel confusion. We feel envy. We feel uncomfortable when another dude kisses a girl we were talking to ten minutes ago. We hate, we love, we fear.
Guess what? So do women and girls. We all have these reactions, because we’re all human.
But to admit you don’t know many of the opposite gender is brave. Because you’re putting your view out there to be scrutinised, and you’re going to be judged whether you like it or not. That’s life. Man or woman, that’s what happens. You’ve got to be aware of that. You can’t hide behind a shield of “I don’t know women”. And while it’s true that some men really don’t, there’s a point where it’s necessary to admit that you need to learn, and then to learn.
If you don’t know many women, you have to correct that. I know it can be fear-inducing; for my entire school life, I didn’t know more than about 2 girls. And when grade 7 came around, when I was liked by TWO girls, I completely shut down and basically took a fetal position and tried to keep it all at bay. I did however like the attention, but since I was a ball of anxiety and confusion, I didn’t do so well with two girls liking me at all, let alone at the same time. Hormones are a bitch. People with Asperger’s Syndrome have it worse. It’s hell. It’s confusing as all hell, you probably don’t want to admit you have a problem, and you don’t know who to turn to.
I knew maybe three girls before I turned 15. Just three. One I knew from Sunday School at Church. My mum got ostracised from that particular church and I never knew why. I later reconnected with a girl from preschool, and at the same time, word on the street was that a popular girl liked me (bullshit, I said). It made me really embarrassed (out of confusion and not being equipped to handle that sort of strange new thing). The girl from preschool stopped liking me when I didn’t reciprocate with the fact that I actually liked her too. I COULDN’T, because I was a messed up ball of fear. So know you know my deepest, darkest secret.
It wasn’t until I was 15, or grade 10, that a girl even said hi to me again. It was short, I was nervous, I regret not being braver. Shit happens.
I go to my local pub, and I know maybe 10 women from there. Yes, 10. That seems a lot to me, considering how shy I am, but not that many, in the greater scheme of things.
The thing is, I don’t know anyone really well. I’ve known some of these females of the species for three or four years, but mostly, they have other people to talk to. The time spent with them is small compared to the time they spend with other people who aren’t me. I don’t know them deeply, I don’t know much about them, only the five minutes I get to spend with them, which is only enough for surface level stuff.
I’m almost 30 and I haven’t had a girlfriend, except this Chinese girl for about a month (3 days, if you want to get technical).
That was when I was 20. Two people in my entire life has asked if I have a girlfriend; one was a coworker and one was a gay guy. One guy, one girl. That’s it.
I think it might be that I’m just not appealing to people in general. I’ve gotten more interesting in the last 10 years, being a writer. But I think it might be that I’m shy. Shy people are hard to talk to, because we’re short with our answers and we don’t go around saying hi to people. It takes a lot of courage to do that. We suck at it. I met a shy girl recently, she didn’t seem very interesting. Maybe she is, I’ll definitely spend more than five minutes with her next time I see her, but she seemed pretty shy to me, not really knowing how to answer questions or get conversation going… and I finally saw what shy people are like from the outside.
I can finally say I’m less shy than I used to be. I’m not an outgoing person; I’m still antisocial in a lot of ways. But saying I don’t know any women? Well, that’s pretty ridiculous. There’s my mother, the girls I know from my local watering hole, and people I’ve worked with or for, or studied with (one of my best friends from Uni is female).
I know some fantastic ladies. And some plain ones. I even turned down a really unappealing one just the other day (a pregnant bogan who asked for a cigarette, then for my number, then for a cigarette again – no, just… no). Yeah, I usually only met weirdo, obnoxious women and I despaired because no female I met was interesting, not insane, and at least a 4. These days are better: I know some beautiful, interesting, intelligent women. I follow women on social sites (not in a stalkerish way, as far as I know). I’m even blessed to some my friends. And I am in a position that I can actually reject women who strike me as trouble. Because I’m not desperate. Because I know women now. I don’t consider them aliens any more. They’re not *that* foreign, any more. Some of the ones in my life I even like the company of. (okay, most)
So it sucks to not know many women. They make up 50% of the population! How can you not know more than 3? You must be a ball of shyness and nervousness to only have 3 in your life (or less). I’m not saying they’re all fantastic creatures (the ones I know seem to be though), but seriously? So few that you claim you don’t know ANY? That’s pretty sad.
And besides, you have to know SOME. Even if it’s just to reproduce. You obviously had to know at least one for that to happen. Unless it was this drunken thing and nine months later you got a special delivery to your door. Even then, you’d probably know at least 2. And not knowing your own daughter? That’s a bit cold, don’t you think?