I just got done recording an episode of Too Many Words with the wonderful Jayme B. Jayme and I get on really well, which is new to me. I don’t always get on with women for an extended amount of time. We actually talked about this during the episode a little and I discussed this with one of my best friends (someone who has the same problem, and is still a steadfast wonderful friend).
To both of these women, I noted that my humor and my demeanor seems off putting to women specifically, and I’m not sure why. I’ve been getting tons of misunderstood encounters and interactions with other women over the last two years or so. This doesn’t happen with men, as much.
Sometimes men get the wrong idea, but it’s easy enough to be like, “Nope, I was just being nice. I’m not interested in that.” And most men are like, “Okay. Sorry. That’s cool.” Some aren’t, but most are. But why do women have a hard time with me?
I think part of it comes from what I want to call the Caroline Bingley syndrome. For those of you who understand this reference, I tip my geeky hat to you. What I’m referring to is the ways in which women are trained to compete for the attentions of men or other women against one another. A Caroline Bingley is a woman who sees every other woman as competition, someone to scorn to bring herself up. Even though this figure is over 200 years old, I think this still happens. Women are constantly bringing each other down, competing with each other to be the most eligible woman in the room. In-fighting is not going to make winners of us, ladies. Not only do I not want to compete with you, I want to raise you up. Successful women are good for womanhood generally. I am not a jealous person. I am not a covetous person. I don’t want what you have. I have what I have and I like what I have.
But another thing I that scares other women away, I think, is that I’m weird. My favorite things to do include: discussing politics and important social topics, reading, making shit up and writing that shit down, gardening, tea drinking, dressing up, and talking to myself to get that poem or dialogue right. I’ve found that my hobbies do not fit the area or style of place in which I live. A lot of women my age don’t like the things I like because they are my age and people my age don’t act like they are old. I act older than I am. I always have. When I was a kid, I preferred speaking with adults and didn’t really like to play with other kids. I would, but it was not my first choice. So, I’m weird and act like I’m 20 yrs older than I am. That’s on me.
But what really bugs me is when I’m misunderstood. I am not a mean-spirited person. I like lifting others up, especially those who are often disenfranchised. So, yeah, women, I try to be extra nice to you. I know what it’s like to be shut out of a conversation, to be told what to wear and how to act, etc. Even if I’m not always interested in what other women my age are interested in, I am nice to them and try to lift them up. And I am often met with suspicion. Were you being mean or sarcastic when you said that thing to me? No, I actually do like your hair and think it makes you look like a punk rocker. You don’t want to look punk rock? Oh, sorry. I…I was trying to be nice. Truly. I don’t believe in bringing other people down by speaking badly of them. I like to listen to others and help if I can. So, while I’m sarcastic sometimes, I’m not mean.
Are we women not used to other women being nice? Are we supposed to still be falling into outdated “cat fight” stereotype? If so, I’m not participating. I’m weird. I’ll give you that. I’m not mean. I want people to feel happy about themselves. And even though I’m okay being a bit of a loner, I also kind of miss having a couple close female friends. Being in your 30s and making new female friends is hard when you’re bipolar and weird. And that’s fine. I don’t really need a horde of female friends and I wouldn’t know what to do with them if I had them. Mostly, I miss being understood by that one friend I can have coffee with whenever. I have been, lately, very misunderstood. And it’s a truly blah feeling.