Confession: I am totally intimidated by blunt women and women who speak their minds automatically, to people they don’t know well.
This is something I learned about myself when I mentioned how intimidated I was by a girl in law school that I sort of desperately wanted to be friends with (ex-Mormon lesbian from the Pacific Northwest with impeccable style, why don’t you like me?). Our mutual friend told me that everybody’s intimidated by her and it’s because she’s not nice. Not that she’s a jerk, but that she doesn’t bother with the usual niceties that women use when we deal with one another. This was a revelation to me, and one that explained my feelings toward most of the women that have made me feel nervous or uncomfortable or less than in my adult life (this is all totally irrelevant to my pre-adult life, when it was silly things like straight hair and boyfriends that made me feel inadequate).
More recently, I think this may be responsible for some bristliness I’ve felt from women online. Since I started writing this blog, I’ve spent more time writing and reading comments on other blogs, on twitter, and other community-based websites. These are incredible forums for women to speak loudly and honestly and it’s the loud honest voices that keep me coming back. At the same time, there are also little (or big) things that rub me the wrong way: a terse reply (or lack of one) on twitter, a reproachful comment that may or may not be directed at me, a whole post where a woman loudly and smartly objects to everything I believe in. Again, I confess: I find it all a bit intimidating.
I hope that recognizing that these feelings stem from women dropping the niceties — something I wholeheartedly endorse — will help me overcome them, because I want to continue to engage with bloggy, twittery women in a healthy, positive manner.
[As a note, my endorsement of more straight talk does not mean that I’ve embraced it. I still use (and adore) the niceties, at least in real life, because that’s how I am. I suppose it’s possible that I am more blunt and terse online, though.]