Sunlit Water

July 25, 2006

All I Really Want Is Girls

Filed under: Culture,Personal — by teofilo @ 2:07 am

A White Bear is apparently the kind of woman who hangs out with guys and doesn’t get along well with other women, as is LizardBreath.  I’ve heard this kind of thing a lot, and I can understand it on an intellectual level (and AWB’s post in particular gets at some connections to internalized misogyny that hadn’t really occurred to me before), but it’s so far removed from my own experience that I don’t really get it emotionally.  I love women.  All women.  No matter how butch or femme or cringe-inducingly stereotypical.  I just love them, love being around them, and feel much more comfortable interacting with them than with other men.  I always feel awkward around men, as if I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do in social situations with them.  Even with my close friends, there’s always a bit of tension in my manner; I’m never fully at ease.  With women (at least the ones I know well) I can truly relax and be sociable to the extent that I’m able.

I’m not really sure where this comes from, but my dad’s the same way.  Perhaps there’s some sort of genetic dimension, or maybe my dad’s upbringing shaped him in a way that he passed on to me through my upbringing.  Or a mixture of the two.

One possible source is the predominantly female environment in which my dad and I both grew up.  His mom had three sisters and no brothers, and the four of them were very close all their lives.  They had between them seven children; my dad was the only son.  He’s an only child as well, so his cousins were the main family he had growing up and he’s still quite close to them.  His family overall was remarkably female-dominated for the time and place, and I’m sure this had a strong influence on the development of his personality.

While my upbringing was quite different, there are some parallels.  I have a sister and no brothers, so there was no masculine influence in our household except my dad.  We continued to keep close ties to my dad’s family while I was growing up (and do still), so I probably got a heavy dose of that dynamic.  I always interpreted my mom’s family as being similarly matriarchal when I was young, but I know realize that it only seemed that way because the main patriarch-types (my grandfather and his brother) had died long before and the women had taken over.  Still, it was mostly women that I encountered.

I don’t know how much influence this family stuff really had either on my dad or on me, but whatever the cause, I’m just much more comfortable around women.



  1. I feel the same way. I’ve always had many more female friends than male friends, and I always feel more at ease with the former than the latter.

    I don’t know why that is. Part of it has to, I’m sure, with unconsciously internalized ideas about masculinity: a man “can’t” really open up to another man in the same way he can open up to a woman.

    Comment by mrh — July 25, 2006 @ 12:01 pm |Reply

  2. I’m sure that’s part of it too. I certainly open up more with my female friends (though still not much).

    Comment by teofilo — July 25, 2006 @ 12:55 pm |Reply

  3. It’s funny, I’ve always had the perception that more of my friends are/were girls than boys; but I don’t think it has ever been true. Probably true, though: “I have always had a higher proportion friends who are female than have guys I interact with.”

    Comment by The Modesto Kid — July 25, 2006 @ 1:05 pm |Reply

  4. I am uncomfortable around most people. Even though I enjoy companionable silence, I get nervous about what someone may be thinking of me and I will talk faster and faster. Weirdly, this is only in English, because in Andalucian Spanish, I would talk fast anyway, and speed up purposefully to sabotage eavesdropping by anyone not fluent.

    In college, I targeted one man and one woman to befriend. I don’t get guys, and I don’t want the wrong one to think I like like him. I have been friendly to men who quickly seemed to have crushes on me, and that makes me want to take off running. Unequal relationships are a burden.

    The other day, I saw a woman ahead of me in a line, and I wondered what it would be like to have her for a friend. Seinfeld said you don’t make new friends after age 30, and I am wondering whether my personality is the reason I haven’t. I’ve been wondering whether people consider me a jerk. I used to be easily dismissive of people and I cut someone off over something that shouldn’t matter.

    Comment by ~Macarena~ — July 25, 2006 @ 5:47 pm |Reply

  5. Yeah, I’m the same way. I think a lot of it is that I just couldn’t imagine being emotionally intimate, or non-sexually physically intimate, with another guy. Maybe with a very particular kind of guy. It would just feel so taboo.

    Comment by pdf23ds — July 26, 2006 @ 1:56 am |Reply

  6. I’ve always had great friends of both sexes, but I realized recently — most of those male friends are gay. I guess that’s because I traffic so much in the theater scene, but it’s a very liberating thing. The weird tension you describe isn’t there, because, well, they’re already gay. And they know you’re not! So you can have all kinds of emotional intimacy without awkwardness or straight-guy taboo. Provided you don’t hate the gays.

    Comment by Joe Drymala — July 26, 2006 @ 10:25 am |Reply

  7. Awww, I love men that like women.

    No, seriously. I think it’s a surprisingly rare and highly prizeworthy quality.

    Comment by bitchphd — July 26, 2006 @ 12:43 pm |Reply

  8. Yeah, I should try to start hanging out with gay guys.

    Comment by pdf23ds — July 26, 2006 @ 4:54 pm |Reply

  9. I’ve long thought that really loving all women is the trait that leads to the astonishing successes of my favorite slutty men. (Good kind of slutty men, where it is all happy and fun and everyone enjoys themselves. Not the bad kind of slutty men, who are proud of their numbers.) You may have a bright future in front of you.

    Comment by Megan — July 26, 2006 @ 5:08 pm |Reply

  10. A lot of it is probably that being around those of the opposite sex alleviate some of the expectations of conforming to gender roles, since those expectations tend to be enforced more with peer pressure from those of the same sex.

    Comment by pdf23ds — July 27, 2006 @ 9:53 am |Reply

  11. I’ve been thinking about this and now that everyone’s moved along I’ll comment.

    I want to say that I’m more comfortable with women, in part because I’ve done a couple of programs where I was the only or just about the only guy: during a semester in DC, of the 10 people I hung out with regularly 8 were women; in a summer Russian class I was the only guy of the 4 in a class of 15 who showed up regularly and so was the only one who had lunch regularly with the rest of the class (we started at 9, class until 12, there was a break and we’d eat lunch outside, then one more hour of class). But I’ve also done things – like a similarly constructed German class – where there were very few women, or where, like in Boy Scouts, there weren’t any. And I’ve felt comfortable in both types of situations. I do think as I’ve gotten older all male groups have felt less comfortable.

    So: I’d say that I’m most comfortable in mixed company. In larger groups this applies even if I’m the only one making the company mixed. One on one, it means my closest friendships are, have been, and likely will be in the future, with women.

    Comment by eb — July 27, 2006 @ 2:16 pm |Reply

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