Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Am Woman, Hear Me Not


I'm the girl.

If gender roles are defined partially by specific social behaviors, and not just by whether you have a vagina (and/)or a penis, then, in my relationship with Domestic Partner, I am the woman. This has been confirmed by my female coworkers.

Me, complaining to coworkers: "When I tell him that I wish he were more physically affectionate, he does not validate that as an actual need, versus his need for me to do more cleaning around the house. It's like my need to be touched by him is not even a real issue."

Female and Honorary Female Coworkers: "Omigod, you're so the girl!"

Understand, please, that I'm not even talking about the physical roles of who's-catcher-and-who's-pitcher (email me, if you really want to know--although you may be disappointed by the answer). I mean emotionally.

"What's wrong?" Domestic Partner will ask, when I am being uncharacteristically silent.

"Nothing," I will answer before adding, "I'm just tired."

This was the stock answer I gave last week, when he was less than supportive in his response to my expressed desire to buy the new smart fortwo micro car.

"It's not practical!" he protested (duh!). "It seats only two people and it's too small. It doesn't seem safe if you get into an accident. You should wait until you've finished paying off your scooter before you start making car payments."

Inside, I was thinking all of the things that I wanted to yell back at him:

I don't want to be practical! I don't care about the safety risk--any car is going to be safer than my scooter! I'm really excited about trying to buy this car. Why can't you just be supportive?

Instead, I said, "Never mind, forget I brought it up."

I remained silent for the rest of the evening, in the car and during dinner at the restaurant.

Normally, I am very chatty with Domestic Partner, as I am with everyone. I talk about feelings, how things make me feel, rather than sports, or politics, or anything that has to do with mundane reality. I write my feelings down in journals. I discuss emotional problems with friends, family, and coworkers. I am someone who is comfortable hugging people on a regular basis. Domestic Partner is not, not even with me.

Does that make me the woman and him the man? I can live with that. I'll also live longer than him.

7 comments:

Quin said...

ack! silence buys us nothing.

shout your feelings. give into what is bothering your, or, my dear friend (and i do believe we are) he will outlive you.

suppressed feelings cause ulcers, the way suppressed farts cause big hips.

unless you run him over with the smart car.

Jason Phoon said...

heys, sounds like I'm the woman too!

girl: why are you queit?
boy: oh it's nothing ....

sometimes I wish I was less sensitive :(

golfwidow said...

The problem is that, if you're female and you hold in your feelings, you wind up depressed.

If you voice them, you're a nag.

I have no idea what happens if you're the girl, but you're male.

thelastnoel said...

You don't have to convince me that you're the girl.

Brenda said...

I am surprised that YOU are supressing your feelings - didn't you always tell me that you hoped you could help others - I think it was mostly females - gain a voice to speak up for themselves? You won't live longer if all that supressed emotion ends up toxic within you. Was domestic partner right?

Peter Varvel said...

Q, by that logic, I should have the slim, boyish hips of Posh Spice.
I, too, believe we are dear friends (you and I, not Mrs. Beckham).

JP, Domestic Partner would be among the first to say it's an Asian thang. He and I are both the kind to hold in a lot resentment . . .

GW, yeah, sometimes I need to be slapped with a reminder of how easy I automatically have it, simply because I'm an 'outtie,' not an 'innie.'

N, do I take that as a compliment, or a come-on? ;-)

B, ah, do come to L.A. so that we can hash over every infinitesimal detail of each other's lives over Cosmopolitans!

ALL: Thanks for your responses. I felt hypocritical posting this I-Keep-Silent confession. A complicated issue for me, but a small one, nonetheless. The Emotional Drama is minimal to none, for DP and I, which contributes significantly to keeping us together.

Passive-Aggressive Pete

Erin said...

Being the girl can be powerful. Hey, scratch that - be the strong, savvy, sexy woman. She can get exactly what she wants and needs in a way where her significant other feels like it was their idea.