Friday, October 16, 2009

Shoulda been the boy

Just before graduating college I took this weird test. Write a five hundred word short story, bring it to class, and have your writing gender revealed. Writing gender? Hello?! I'm a freaking woman, just look at the little kid dragging at my knees, the swollen ankles and the bloated gut if you could miss it, Bub. Like I needed some fancy, high-tech piece of hardware telling me what sex I was.

I went home, kvetching all the way about the idotic assignment. Feeling peckish I sort of took "liberties" with the content. Okay, I snickered, drank a beer and shared a laugh with my husband as I crafted my mistresspiece. Being female, I refused to call it a masterpiece.

The next day it was all I could do not to chortle as I typed the words (with as perfect grammar as I could muster) into the machine only to get a thermal paper ticket spat at me declaring me to be 82% masculine - much to the hilarity of the rest of the class.

To explain the gales of laughter at my chagrin, you'd probably have to know me. From the time I could first express my own opinion, which was probably day one, I've rejected all things pink, frilly and feminine. I had jean jackets, ball caps, jeans and sneakers until my parents enrolled me in Catholic school for the education. Personally, I think they did it in a last ditch effort to see me in a skirt before either of them died, but the ploy back-fired once I learned that atrocious plaid ensembles also came in pants. The nuns didn't like it but they lumped it, after deciding I was possessed (another popular theory the sisters considered was that I was a bastard child of demons but that's a story for another day). At one point in my teens even my own brother broke down in a fit of depression, complaining that we should have been swapped inside like Freaky Friday, "you shoulda been the boy." I played full tackle football, went fishing, hunting, target shooting, drank with the boys-shot-for-shot, so why wouldn't I write like one? In fact, all of my friends were guys...

It was something that made me think long and hard... before I started laughing. All the things that made me "weird" all my life just made me all that more appealing to my husband. Shopping? Hate it. The Mall? A torture chamber filled with potential enemies. Dining out? Why bother, I cook better and it costs less. New car? Um no. Give me a truck from before the 1980s, something with a 350-engine and no annoying computer to die. Furs? If I want one, I'll shoot and tan the critter myself. Jewelry? Nope, just gets in the way, but I'll take a tattoo if you'll keep me company while I'm in the chair. And don't worry, I'll save you a seat at the Super Bowl party too.

Guys are simple, loving, creatures, and I'll hang with them anytime - gay, straight, metro or retro. As for that story, if you ask nice I may share it with you. One day.


Nerine Dorman said...

Interesting. I found "your writing gender" online then ran different extracts from my novel through it. About the most accurate that they got was that I was a "weak European male" in the majority of the cases but also enough instances where I was female. Damn thing couldn't really decide. Unless my MC is sexually ambiguous, which he is.

Melissa said...

Isn't that sucker a hoot? I gotta share the prologue to Boondoggle Baby with you so you can see where I got my manly rating from :D

Unless they've changed their rating system in the last few