not really, right?

I ask a male friend of mine, older and perhaps wiser. “Um, the guys I have dated or even just hung out with are only interested in their interests. They are not interested in me or what I am doing. For example, I mention that I have a blog twice to two different males recently and they completely ignore it. I mention that I just did a poetry reading and one whips out his phone and shows me a family member’s poem. What is it with that?”

“Well,” he says, “Men are only interested in what a woman is doing, if they are in love with her.”

“Really?” I say. “Holy crap.”


I am still chewing on this. I have dated various “gentlemen” for a couple of years each since I got divorced. One of them is still a friend. Last month he said, “I think you like writing better than I do.” Um. He has known me since 2008. Powers of observation, like a hawk in flight, heh.

I can think of seven guys since 2007, when my divorce was final, who really showed very little interest in what I was doing. Ok, one of them did read my blog and another admitted to reading at least one post, but refused to EVER comment. What the hell? Meanwhile they want to talk about their collections, their jobs, their lives, their interests.

And so I reexamine my ex-husband. He actually DID listen and WAS interested. Mostly he laughed at me, but medical school and residency were off the scale dysfunctional and ridiculous. And in turn I listened to his golf shots and watched Payne Stewart dress in NFL colors and plus fours.

But I don’t get it. Maybe the younger generations are a lot smarter and I think they are darn smart to say who cares about the XX or XY or XO or XYY chromosomes! There are lots of other chromosomes! Let’s get over race and gender! That stuff is shallow unless you are interested in someone in the pants zone.

And then men complain to me that they do not understand women. Really? I ask if they have ever read a romance novel. One said, “Those are for women. I wouldn’t do that.” So one romance would take away your man credentials? I say, well, you might understand what our culture indoctrinates women with if you did read a romance. Not to mention notice that Disney animation glorifies virginal princesses, but gosh, queens are either dead or evil. Doesn’t seem like a good career choice, breeder for the ruler. Especially if you’ll die in childbirth or turn evil.

I hope my male friend is wrong, but I am paying attention. And noticing if a man is not.

10 thoughts on “not really, right?

  1. Misky says:

    I’m still chewing on that assessment also, and I think he might be right.

  2. Back in the days when I was dating, after the divorce from the Good X, all of the men were substantially younger than I was. Those were better relationships, and I thought at the time it was because they’d been raised by a different generation of parents, particularly mothers. The Evil X was, of course, only a couple years younger, the first guy in my generation I’d dated in years and years. The last man in my life was 10 years younger (still is, ha ha).

    As for people being interested in what someone is doing? My current theory is that no one is, not really, unless the interests converge or overlap or there’s a transactional payoff. I am sure that sounds cynical, but…

    • drkottaway says:

      I don’t know: I realized in college that I am a happy generalist and liked the classes that synthesized science: ornithology and limnology and cell biology. Led me to family med and I am a bit interested in everything.

  3. I hate to say it but it’s not limited to romantic relationships. I have four older brothers who, if I won a Pulitzer would say: oh, you write? My SO might read the book if I won. On the flipside, I have a younger friend who knows I love music so is always sharing new videos, but never asks about my writing. Maybe this is why we have female and online friends who share. Yeah, maybe it’s generational and societal and geographical.

    • drkottaway says:

      I remember my mother being surprised in her forties that her IQ was as high as her brothers and my fathers. And why not? I wasn’t surprised at all.

  4. In the 1970s I had a children’s radio program. I read stories and promised no damsels in distress rescued by handsome princes. While it took some work, I found remarkable children’s literature that did not reinforce those old stereotypes. While I hope that has trickled down to the rest of us, your experience does not reinforce that (and Disney still makes the same stories, with minor tweaks). Your friend’s statement scares me a bit…as does any statement that purports to speak for a vast swath of the population…though if you look at advertising you might wonder if we have progressed at all. (But then, advertising is one of those parasitical fields that I would hesitate to use as a model for anything.)

    • drkottaway says:

      My favorite princess series when my kids were little was Dealing with Dragons. The Paper Bag Princess is pretty fabulous too. I agree that any statement of “this is how it is” is suspect, but I asked him to get his view. Unsurprisingly cynical and funny.

  5. Wind Kisses says:

    I think I could write a response as long as your post. I won’t. Lol. Human behavior is a strange thing. I do think society has become “me” driven. There are reasons for that. It doesn’t mean I agree with it.

    I’ll just sit right here and read the other responses. Who will be in agreement, and who will you piss off? Hmmmm lol.

  6. VJ says:

    It’s tiresome, really. I think it is societal conditioning. My former husband used to say “It’s up to you to keep yourself happy”, but divorced me because I wouldn’t traipse to the race track with him every weekend with 3 babies in tow.

    • drkottaway says:

      Snort. Well, if everyone is they/them, it will be harder to discriminate, right?

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