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« Gale Garnett, Women and Drama | Main | This is Not Art »

April 17, 2008

Women and Drama 2: PatrickH Has Been There

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

On my previous posting, visitor PatrickH volunteered a comment that deserves not to be missed. Here it is:

It is hard being a woman, though. And I mean "just being a woman". Being a man is an emotional piece of cake by comparison.

How do I know this? Well, I was once a woman myself, for a short while. I took clomid (fertility drug-lots of estrogen effects) as part of a post-steroid recuperation cycle, and it put me in a very female frame of mind (quite the contrast to the effect of the 'roids, I can tell you). I was hypersensitive to the tiniest sign of suffering in another being, was always on the edge of weeping, and was filled with a kind of wistful, formless yearning that, while not unpleasant to feel, had no object that could fulfill it.

I also came to want to withdraw from people (for a time) and just sit and "be me". I absolutely NEVER understood what women meant when they said that, but I do now. You just have to get away from being FOR OTHERS, something that as a man I never bothered thinking about, let alone trying. Now I know why women need to get away from that. It's exhausting to be that wide open to other human beings...all the time!

It's hard being a woman. I know. I was one, for a while.

Get this man a book deal.



posted by Michael at April 17, 2008


it's funny to me how intelligent people to this day will still argue in favor of the socialization hypothesis of male-female differences. it must issue from a deep-seated need to want to believe in changeable human behavior. woman are especially prone to this malady.

Posted by: roissy on April 17, 2008 3:01 PM

On the subject of women, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn has died.

Posted by: dearieme on April 17, 2008 5:11 PM

No doubt PatrickH joined the Democratic Party, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and hosted a Tupperware party before finally coming to himself. Must have been a bitch. (Pardon the expression.)

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on April 17, 2008 5:32 PM

How interesting about Miss Joan Hunter-Dunn. It never occurred to me that she might be a real person. Makes me wonder about the identity of Myfawnwy (spelling?), with her tea and cakes.

Posted by: alias clio on April 17, 2008 6:34 PM

Aw shucks, Michael. Thanks!

And Charlton, I feel like demanding that you apologize to me for days for that remark. And buy me lots of presents. NO TUPPERWARE!

Posted by: PatrickH on April 17, 2008 6:49 PM

Lusting after Miss Joan Hunter-Dunn,
What jolly good fun!

Posted by: ricpic on April 17, 2008 6:59 PM

PatrickH, you must be the most extraordinarily - how shall I put this - polymorphous person I ever encountered in real life or on the web, and that's going some. I've been pondering this comment of yours since I first read it a couple of days ago. A very interesting take on what it's like to be female. A pity more men can't go through it - just briefly of course. I wouldn't want the process to be carried too far.

Posted by: alias clio on April 18, 2008 3:41 PM

PatrickH is a very interesting guy.

I've heard of two other examples of this kind of thing. Guys with advanced prostate cancer are often filled-up with female hormones (as a way of suppressing the male hormones, which sadly inflame the cancer). The guys almost all report that their flesh dumplings up both in terms of fat and sensitivity, that their feelings become big and exaggerated and easily-hurt, and that they spend their days being moody.

From the other side, I remember a woman who was halfway thru a sex-change procedure had gotten to the point where she hadn't yet had the surgery but was all pumped-up on male hormones. And she was amazed what it was like. She said she was walking down the city sidewalk and the world was just a collage of cleavage, boobs, thighs, legs, necks -- that because of the male sex hormones, the entire world seemed to consist of women's erotic parts. "Is this what it's like to be a guy?" she asked her male friends, all of whom nodded "yes."

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 18, 2008 4:03 PM

I think when you get beyond the raging hormones aspect of what makes the sexes different there is one thing they have in common: amour propre.

Self respect or self regard: the ease with which it can be wounded and the desire to both fortify and project ones self in the best light possible into the world motivates and in fact may be the key to what makes both men and women tick.

The fierce concern for status is as great in young women hostessing dinner parties as it is in captain of industry boardrooms.

Posted by: ricpic on April 18, 2008 7:03 PM

I think I'm being complimented (?) or something. I'll just blush and carry on, I guess. Just to follow up on Roissy's Andrew Sullivan's essay on his experiences with testosterone injections (taken because he's hypogonadal...maybe because of his HIV). It's called "The He Hormone", and it's a brilliantly written description of what it's like to cycle through high-T and low-T levels, and how that cycle influences everything about your world view, especially how you relate to others. Sullivan describes being in a high-T state as being "braced".

"Braced for what?" he asks. "It scarcely seems to matter."

That's it to a T.

Posted by: PatrickH on April 18, 2008 7:55 PM

I'm less interested in how testosterone injections make men feel, for the simple reason that, being female, I've already spent a fair amount of time trying to imagine what it is like to be male, and not altogether unsuccessfully. I get that you are dizzied and rattled and sent into transports by the sight of female flesh, for example: it's pretty tough not to grasp that, if you grow up female. I understand that certain intuitions are tough (though not impossible) for men to achieve, because they are looking either too high (in the realm of abstract thought), or too low (in the realm of pure sensation). And that's just two examples.

Men, on the other hand, often enough show an alarming tendency to refuse to believe that women mean anything we say, or that our accounts of our emotional states have any reality at all.

An illustrative anecdote, for what it's worth: I once finished a sentence for a man - annoying, yes, but he was taking so long to spit it out - and he was furious not because I was wrong, but because I was right. He wasted about 20 minutes insisting that I couldn't possibly have known what he was going to say; I must have gotten it right by pure coincidence. No, I explained patiently; I know you, I know something about how you think, I know how you respond to things and the kind of words in which you do so. But I don't think I convinced him...

Posted by: alias clio on April 18, 2008 10:00 PM

Cynthia Heimel usta have an article in Playboy, and for one she tried on the testosterone patch.

She claimed it did 3 things:

- Made her aggressive
- Made her horny has hell
- Colors appeared to be simpler; there weren't a wide variety of shades, blues were just blue, reds were just red.

It is anthologized here: -- search for "testosterone" to read part of the article

So there appears to be something to this hormone stuff.

My wife and I have a running joke; she sees many more colors than I do, so when she asks me if I prefer [one fancy color name] to [another fancy color name], I ask, "What's that in guy colors?"

Posted by: yahmdallah on April 19, 2008 12:07 PM

I just listened to this yesterday, an episode on Testosterone from This American Life. listen here.

Posted by: azad on April 25, 2008 9:30 AM

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