I never thought I would ever have to worry about being gender challenged at age 62. I pretty much always thought of myself as male and pretty much of a bull at that. I mean I openly acknowledge my lust for sex and the fact that I started my weight reduction process because I was getting to fat to fornicate. But then my friend Mike E asked me about the impact of hunger on writing and The Middle Manager introduced me to the Gender Genie.
I found in my initial analysis that I was prone to shorter “more” feminine blogs when fasting and longer androgynous blogs when eating well. Of course, The Ideas Man teased me about switching the name of the column to The Gonzo Fat Female and some frriends privately mentioned that the weak winy voice of a fasting male might be feminine in nature.
Now I wasn’t too concerned that my non fasting style was somewhat androgynous when eating well. Why, it was only a few years back that I declared myself to be a cool, sensitive, worldly, metrosexual guy. That claim didn’t last long as my daughter gave me a book called the Reluctant Metrosexual where this guy went through having his eyebrows plucked and a full body wax to remove pubic hair so he could share the pain of the female gender. My phase abruptly ended as I recognized that I did not have the credentials or the desire to get enough to validate me as a metrosexual and went back into the Fat Savage mode.
So why do I believe that the starving me is feminine in my writing skills and the answer lies in my ADHD. In school, I pretty much refused to learn anything I was not instantly good at and that included writing, tennis and golf. If at first you don’t succeed, quit. Fortunately, IQ and SAT tests never tested my writing skills, the bias was at word games, logic skills and math. That part was instant knowledge and I could excel without learning. In college, I only needed I year of writing English and I passed with a D for great ideas poorly executed. The crunch came when I started a job after my Master’s work in Engineering where I punted on the Thesis.
Here I am a brilliant engineer being mentored by a more brilliant chemist who never went to college and he pointed out the obvious. In big business, you are not judged on your ideas but the presentation of them. If you can write, your paper will be passed on. If you can’t, your boss will write the idea up and pass it on. The boss will get the credit for hiring you and recognizing your brilliant ideas. The other thing he said is that those who write the minutes of a meeting control history and can slant the meeting in their own directions. Since everybody hates to write, the volunteers are always selected.
So now writing became a discipline that I had to learn and my wife taught me. I started writing letters to the editor which she would correct and edit. If she was going to type it I had to clone her style. This was before computers and spell checkers and the Bill Gates grammar rules. I hated typing so I became her writing clone and remained that way for 30 years until Word Perfect arrived on my desk. Besides, I never knew their was gender bias in writing; I just thought there were rules of grammar.
The first article I wrote (which was published in the New York Times), she typed 36 times and told me never again – I had to learn the rules or type it myself. By 1990, I got an award for the best small business article of the year and got a write up in Inc Magazine (I brought 10 copies). I typed that myself but still relied on my wife as an editor.
So a far simpler argument for being feminine in writing is that when I’m fasting, I don’t feel like arguing about style and revert to the rigid rules established by my wife. When I’m sated, like all Fat Savages, I’ll argue and fight with anyone for the fun of it.