Really, men don’t do that?

If you read the last post I was talking about how M, C and I were sitting about talking about the things that girls talk about. In that were two interesting comments:

  • M likes to hang with guys sometimes because they are just simpler, they are what they are
  • Guys don’t read between the lines

And so I went off and thought about this some, and some more, and thought about my past. Many years ago I worked here on the east coast for a west coast company. I’d see my boss face to face four or five times in the course of a year, in the meantime I’d often be on a slow simmer. Not because he actually said anything, but because I was always wondering about what wasn’t being said. I couldn’t see his body language or his face.

Then I’d go out to Silicon Valley and see him and say to myself, yeah, everything’s cool. I’d instantly know there were no issues brewing.

I knew guys weren’t forthcoming with details of their lives. I had driven P’s brothers crazy because I talked about my feelings and they just didn’t know what to make of it. I mean I was acting like a woman and I was a guy and what?

The job thing, which wasn’t unique, just a particular thing I remember was about twenty years ago. I never thought I was acting unusual for a guy, I think I figured anyone would wonder what else was going on, that what I was doing was just what any person would do.

Yet here I was with M and C and what I’m hearing is that this is something girls do but guys just take things at face value. There’s no consideration of nuance, there’s no reading between the lines. I was telling the above story to M today and she said that was I was doing with feeling right just seeing my boss in person was exactly a girl thing.

I talked with her some more, “you really mean *no* guys are going to read between the lines? Think about the consequences of what they’re saying or what messages they might be sending” and the answer was a resounding no.

I thought, hmm, well I know this bunch of guy friends or more like acquaintances now. Why don’t I ask them how they see things. So I start to write them an email and my ex calls about the AC and we get to talking. I ask her and while she hems about the subject because, after all, we’re talking stereotypes, when I suggest I would send such a message the comment was more or less you have got to be kidding. So I deleted the email.

Thirty years ago, twenty years ago I was already acting like a girl in many ways even if I covered it up. I didn’t know, I didn’t even realize it wasn’t normal male behavior. I thought it was normal to wonder what it was like to be a woman, to wonder about what they experienced. I thought it was normal to question motivations and to consider how to take actions that would allow someone to save face, guess again.

I’ve since been proven wrong on every one of these. I’ve found them all to be enormous signposts pointing to now and my genuine existence as Rachel.

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2 thoughts on “Really, men don’t do that?

  1. Rachel,

    I think this is a really good insight, thank you for putting words to feelings I’ve had myself. Looking back on my relationships with all my guy friends and I was always convinced I was just a weird guy for feeling a certain way, saying a certain thing.

    In hindsight it confirms that I was never “one of the guys”. This behavior was never taught, either, it’s just something I’ve always felt was normal when socializing.

    Not sure if that makes sense, but I wanted to just say thanks for the insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It makes good sense. Thank you, I think we all need validation and these pieces of feedback in both directions are really great.

    Like

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