Earlier in the week I had 7-8 fellow bloggers volunteer to read my short story, Itinerary, and almost every one of them showed a bit of surprise when they discovered it was written from a female POV. Most commented that I did a pretty good job communicating a feminine perspective. Anyone ever wondered why I go by DL instead of my real first name (Don)? First, I have never been crazy about my name and when I started writing I was determined to change it. Secondly, I wanted to avoid some of the same pre-conceptions that arose with my short story this week. Initials are gender-neutral, and I don’t have to struggle against bias towards a male author writing from a female POV. And it does exist!
Why am I so comfortable writing as a woman? I come to work every day and supervise seven women. Their ages range from 43 at the youngest, to 62. All but one of them is married and has children and/or grandchildren. They are as close to me as family. Most of us have been working together in this same office for 20 years and you can’t do that without knowing each other inside and out.
In fact, during my whole career I’ve only had women working for me. It wasn’t a conscious choice, things just worked out that way. As a result I’m usually the brunt of jokes around the office regarding my harems. Let me tell you something though, it ain’t no picnic! Between PMS, menopause, fashion talk, diets, ex-husbands, current husbands, suitors, rebellious children, and ignorant co-workers, I put up with a ton of shit! Do you know how many times I heard the phrase “MEN SUCK”? Anytime a guy does something wrong, I hear about it. Most of the time I am trying to defend the “male” gender or I am asked to explain the “males” point of view. It can be exhausting and not always easy. It’s even worse than being raised with sisters because they don’t share the same 20’ X 40’ room eight hours a day, five (and a lot of times six) days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 20 years.
On the flip side, I don’t have to worry about getting “in touch” with my feminine side because I am forced fed it every day (more like “bent over”). As a result I have a very good feeling for the female perspective of things. Let me clarify that…….I have a sense of the female perspective….it doesn’t necessarily mean I agree or understand it. In order to do that I would have to have my brain totally re-wired.
Other men might have the tendency to overcompensate when put in a situation where they are outnumbered, and in this case it would mean being as “Butch” as possible. Not me. I do what I always do……go with the flow.
That’s not saying that I’m not “Butch”, but I do have a great recipe for Eggplant Parmesan!!