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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Would appreciate ideas from smarter people

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Author Topic: Would appreciate ideas from smarter people
Member # 44190

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Uhm, howdy everyone.
Apologies in advance if I'm too obscure or not easy enough to understand; I'm really not sure how to phrase this question in the first place - but here goes.

I'm really attracted to women who act like men; who dress like men, are willing to get down and dirty or know technical skills, athleticness, have extremely short hair or untraditional figure, etc. That's not to say I can't be attracted to more traditional women, but there's something - maybe it's because when I grew up, the girls I hung out with wore overalls and we adventured through the wilderness and built tree forts and stuff - that makes those qualities more attractive to me.

The place I live is kinda rural, and there aren't too many people here. Currently going to college, and the problem is this, I guess. Generally, appearance-wise, most women I talk to who kind of look like this, or have the same attitude and appearance I look for in a potential partner are homo-or-nonbinarysexual(I think that's the right term? sorry if it isn't), and that's totally cool; I just don't want to feel like an idiot, or offend anyone.

I guess what I'm asking is, is it normal to find these sort of qualities attractive as a straight guy, and are there women or non-traditionally-identifying people out there who'd look at a very confused dude and not be totally blown away if he asked if they'd like to pick up a cup of coffee and talk about Bakunin? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question or something - it's just that I feel really confused, out of touch, and unsure if I'm even describing my situation/question well. I'll be glad to try to clarify things if I can though, and thanks in advance for taking a look at this. I appreciate it a lot!

Posts: 7 | From: Аляска | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 13388

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ecofem     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey captaininsomnia,

I think you're obviously intelligent yourself but here's my two cents. [Wink]

I hear you saying you find yourself attracted to women who have "masculine" characteristics but are concerned that your expressing this interest to them might be unwelcome or even offensive. I say that, as long as someone specifically hasn't told you: "I am ONLY interested in dating women" or "I do not want to date [you or anything that you'd fall under]," it would be appropriate to ask them out. It may be a bit tricky if they only want a friendship but also don't want to hurt your feelings; however, rejection (or potentially even offense) is a risk that is involved with asking *anyone* out. However, I believe that can minimized by being polite and mindful, which you are certainly. [Smile]

I will mention that I hear you are interested in women who defy certain gender norms, but I'm also seeing you right about women versus men as a binary. For example, I'm very feminine-looking but I am good at fixing things and athletic; my dad was in the military before retiring to be a full-time stay-at-home parent but I think of him as a very nurturing, caring, sentimental person. I lived with a few male flatmates once but I as the one female was the one who'd always fix stuff around the house; I specifically told them I wouldn't be cleaning up "because I was neither their mother nor their [maid]."

I think that our gender identity is certainly a big part of us but it doesn't really explain who we're attracted to; attraction is much more complicated that the purported football player-cheerleader relationship "ideal", but you certainly know that! [Smile] Most of my female friends (who are interested in men) who are really into outdoor stuff have chosen male partners or dates who share those interests; however, they may or may not be the, uh, burly lumberjack type. I lived in Germany for a few years and can't tell you how many times I'd see a woman with very short hair and square glasses (a look that might be considered a sign of being a "lesbian" in the US)... and then I'd see her male companion right next to her with the SAME exact haircut, glasses, and outfit.

That said, I know where you're coming from because I was in your shoes for a number of years. I often found myself attracted to men who weren't gender normative in different ways but ruled out the possibility of dating them because 1) if they're not gender normative, they *surely* wouldn't be interested in a woman who at least appeared gender normative, and 2) I heard a lot of speculation that they were probably gay. It's really too bad I never even tried even though many times these guys in point even seemed very interested in me. ("Oh no, they just think I'm a nice person..." Well, maybe it's platonic but maybe it's something more.) I'm glad that I've opened my eyes more over the years because, while it's good to be open-minded about dating possibilities, it's also really cool to date someone who you're really into and similarly-minded in so many ways.

As for these women, it really depends on the person, but I say don't hesitate to ask them out; at the worst they'll say no, either way you could have a new or better friend, and maybe you'll even find yourself dating someone with whom you share many interests and traits. [Smile]

[ 09-29-2009, 12:28 AM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

Posts: 3318 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 44190

Icon 1 posted      Profile for captaininsomnia     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First of all, thank you *so* much for the advice. And the compliments too; this has been an area of my life that has been really... Not exactly problematic, but just me trying to wrap my head around things. [Smile]

Staying at home has always appealed to me. Things like cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. I also enjoy traditional 'manly' activities, like DIY and fixing (or attempting to fix, ehehe!) everything from cars to computers, but most of my friends try to just lump me into either one category or the other. It's jarring, but I'll live with it.

As for asking people out, I'll remember your advice; I think most of my worry is internal and more than a little crazy. [Razz] People aren't gonna throw their hands into the air screaming if I can't tell their gender-al preferences right away, and there've gotta be some buzz-cut glasses girls out there for me! [Wink] Although again, it's mostly the personality traits that do it for me. (I told my sister the burly lumberjack bit though, and she cracked up and told me that's totally like me, soooooooooooooo- xD )

You are so right about ignoring the signs from people who might be interested. Ack, I feel like such an idiot reading that, because I've had the same experience too! You're probably the first person I've met to bring it up though, but I know exactly what you're talking about, where someone is being really nice and cool, but you kind of shut them off subconsciously? How could I not have realized that one- Ah, well. There's plenty of time and people in the world, so I'm determined not to let my earlier worry get to me.

Thanks again for the very good advice. I'm literally kicking myself over here for some of it - it's like I should've been able to see it, but didn't - but that doesn't change the fact it's really nice to hear, and a great eye-opener. [Big Grin]

Posts: 7 | From: Аляска | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 13388

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ecofem     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey there, captaininsomnia!

I'm glad to hear that what I wrote resonated so well; you're welcome and thank *you* for the compliment. [Smile]

It sounds like you're definitely on the right track... I was thinking today how people who don't ID with traditional labels are generally more open-minded about dating options; people (as in they or we) will like who they like but gender really is only one aspect of a whole slew of things that make an individual attractive or count as chemistry.

Additionally, I know from my brother's and others' experiences that sometimes as a feminist-minded male, even some like-minded women may question your motivations for the beliefs... (as is, like "just to pick up dates" or "is he really a pseudo-feminist?") BUT true character reveals itself with time and you seem very genuine and thoughtful and I'm sure that shines through. After all, be it for a cup o' joe and some gab or a hook up or building a shared "Anarcho-Hick, Mister Junkyard Survivalist," coffee-drinking life in the Alaskan wilderness [Wink] , the women who are interested in the same (and interested in dating men and/or you) are going to *welcome* being able to enjoy it with a like-minded person like you. [Smile]

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Member # 34135

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bonnie.N.Clyde     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not to butt into the conversation but I wanted to say I think you sound really cool and refreshing, captaininsomnia. My college is filled with straight, short-haired, tough chicks which restored my faith in the area I live in (I'd long felt like I was an outcast). What's even better is I know they're not all located in Olympia, WA; they are everywhere! For us non-traditional folk, it's a bit more difficult to find ideal persons of interest, but when we do, boy is it rewarding!

Have fun!

"And when everyone is super, no one will be."


Posts: 116 | From: Olympia, WA | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
paper towel
Member # 39124

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Being one of those kind of girls myself, lemme tell ya, it can be hard to find a guy willing to admit he's interested in you. In fact, a lot of my similarily "manly" lady friends have the same problem, so seriously, go ahead! And most of the lesbians I know wouldn't be offended, they'd just set you straight, pun intended.
Posts: 52 | From: Oregon | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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