Thursday, April 29, 2010

Choking on Testosterone

I am the only girl in my house...well, except for Biscuit, but she's furry, walks on four legs, and worships the ground my boys walk on, so she's not really any help. Most of the time, I'm okay with being the only girl. I've learned to adapt.

I can get ready for anything from a stroll in the park to a formal wedding in 20 minutes flat. That includes showering, dressing, hair and make-up. When we decide to go somewhere, boys won't wait. I never sit on a toilet without looking first. I routinely wash clothes that ought to be put in a biohazardous waste container. I can talk football or baseball with authority. I don't blink when I see a phone or laptop wallpaper pic of a buxom woman in a tiny bikini.

I can even roll my eyes at the semi-regular pissing contests. Yes, I know that's a crass expression, but it's apt. And yes, women play power games too, but not in the "I'm the alpha dog" way of men. Like I said, I can roll my eyes, and usually do, but I must admit, it's tiresome.

The thing I still struggle with...the thing I'm choking on at the the male expression of emotion. Sadness is expressed as anger. Frustration is expressed as anger. Guilt is expressed as anger. Anxiety is expressed as anger.

Are we detecting a pattern here?

What is it about the male psyche that transforms every difficult emotion into anger? Maybe the other emotions just leave a person too raw and vulnerable, and vulnerability is difficult. I don't know, but I'm becoming more adept at playing Name That Emotion. I get my head snapped off in response to an innocent question, and I know someone's feelings are hurt, or someone is worried about something. I ask a few probing questions, and if I've asked the right ones, I discover what the real problem is. If I've asked the wrong ones, well...there is growling and baring of teeth and someone ends up grounded.

I've had friends say, "You should be glad you don't have girls. There's always drama."

You think there's no drama with boys? Lord God Almighty, save me from drama. With boys, you get snarling instead of tears.

It's telling that so many fictional romantic heroes are sensitive and in touch with their emotions. I suspect I'm not the only woman who occasionally chokes on too much testosterone, and the real fantasy is the man who can express a difficult emotion without reverting to anger.

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