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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sexuality: Norah Vincent, a Self Made Man, and me

I can't get to sleep tonight. Worrying a bit about my *cough* who is currently in Italy, alone, and whose mobile hasn't acknowledged receiving my texts today.

Anyway, in a bid to send myself to sleep, I thought I'd check out what new downloads my iPod aquired tonight. Watched one video podcast starring some lecherous gaijin trying to pick up japanese girls in a park. kimochii warui... then moved on to the daily extract from BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Well, that kind of woke me up.

Norah Vincent - Self made man. 10 minute interview (4mb) Download it here. There's another one here. Read a Guardian article on it here.

I find her extraordinary experiment absolutely fascinating, as I've always had this kind of internal battle going on regarding my own sexuality. By that I don't mean that I feel that actually, I'm gay, or that I'm a woman trapped in a man's body. Rather, I have a real problem with conforming to stereotypically masculine modes of behaviour. This might explain my (infrequent) outings dressed like this. It could also go a long way towards explaining why I have so few close male friends, and no doubt my complete disinterest in football could also be attributed to this feeling of femininity. I find myself easily bored in men's company, unless they are prepared to join me in taking conversations that one stage further to the realm of stuff that matters. I can't even stand like a man. *Cough* has on occasions promted my legs to straighten when i've been posing girly style whilst in conversation.

And of course, I NEVER stand up to wee, except when in public. (By that I mean except when in public toilets. As a rule I don't usually wee in public, i.e. against lamposts, in phone boxes or by the reservation counters in libraries) (the phone box rule is something i feel very strongly about, since a fateful night in 1996 when I went to a party that was raided by the police, and I ended up at 3am, desperately tired, in the rain, in the middle of nowhere (Peterstow) - the only place I could find shelter was a telephone box. Unfortunately I was too stoned to realise that someone had recently wee'd in it - that was, until my trousers started to feel uncomfortably damp)...

er, where was I?

Ah, yes, my sexuality.

These feelings do have their limits though. They don't stray into the field of intimate relationships. There, I know firmly where I stand (if but a little cross-legged) - I feel absolutely no conflict there. I would dare to suggest that I am perhaps a little more caring than the stereotypical man, but this is more due to having learnt from being a bastard in the past, rather than posessing any special gift. If I think back to my late teens / early twenties and the relationship i was in then, I really do feel that my attitude and behaviour was stuck in the Victorian era. We're talking Pride and Prejudice (was that Victorian?), except she was ginger and I was working in a supermarket called Lidl, and didn't own a country manner, and sadly didn't have a Mark Darcy style smouldering stare). This was not due so much to being a nasty person, but rather, due to the inability to deal with the conflicts that compromise brought with it - having never been in that situation before I found the whole couple thing really oppressive, and so for much of the time I was fighting for my rights rather than adopting a new frame of mind in which the health of the new entity - our relationship - was alloted the slightest sense of importance.

Mind you, having said that, I suppose this stereotypical man of which I speak and look down up may be becoming increasingly hard to come by - perhaps? I mean, if I think of the men I know, I find it difficult to picture them being bastards to their partners. One man whom I know extremely well (he happens to be my father), has often expressed his admiration for young people today who are so much more in touch with their feelings, and so much more aware of the feelings of others, than he and his cohorts were back in the 1950s and early 60s. (I'm grateful to have my dad as an example of how not to do things - I'm able to learn from his mistakes - I must tell him how grateful I am when I see him on Monday!)

There was one thing that Norah Vincent mentioned that i found particularly interesting - that about the glass wall that springs up when a man first meets a woman. In her study, as Ned, she was able to compare this with her experience of meeting a woman for the first time as a woman. I too find this barrier, brought on by the fact that the parties do not share the same sex, really hard to deal with. The fear of being preyed upon by the woman that I am talking to, or indeed, merely my fear that they are afraid of being preyed upon by me serves to act as a real barrier to effectve, meaningful communication. Mind you, I feel this far less now I am in a relationship - *cough*'s existence offers the other party, and therefore me, reassurance, thus helping to dismantle any barriers that may exist.

Speaking of which, she's just texted. And I am tired. I think I should be able to sleep now, but if I can't, I think I'll give Glenn Hook a go.

oyasumi xxx

2 Comments:

Blogger Mikey H said...

Hey,

Thought id start commenting from time to time on here as a way of giving something back, because I really enjoy your mumblings! (I never know if you remember me lol, when you spent the day making sushi before Japan Day, well I was the quiet person in the corner, Jasons friend)

Enjoyed your bit on Liverpool (the tall white buildings to the right of Lime Street are my student accomidation) I think you're right about it being an up-and-coming city, Im eagerly looking forward to 2008, alot of improvments can be seen even now! Having not been able to install Itunes for the past.. well quite a while I looked up the error codes and sorted it out, and Ive been checking out a few podcasts, Japanese101.. and other various ones, finally another reason to use my Iriver more than I already do! I havent checked out that pod that inspired your latest blog, but I think its good you feel open enough to say what you have, although I was a bit scared by the pic!
Maybe its the travellng and your past life experiances but I find it good that in this day and age when its.. I dont know how to put it, thought of as different to not know all the latest football players etc, that you so openly say anything and everything about your thoughts. I too have few close mates, in college my 'group' was me, 7-8 girls and a guy called John, who was gay, not that this had any effect on my outlook towards my own sexuality. My 'guy' friends are ones that like you say, have more in common with me that the sport/girls/beer that i find.. in some ways sad, if thats all you can think to talk about.

Anyways, keep writing!

Michael

9/4/06 06:02  
Blogger Joseph said...

Cheers Michael!

I've just had a quick look at the CCTV footage from our sushi making party, so can now put a face to the comment, and now, yes, I remember you, being quiet in the corner!

Ahh, so you must be in UNITE then? I hope it's better than the rabbit warren of theirs I have the pleasure of living in in Sheffield!

Yes, the development in Liverpool does look pretty impressive, especially the big construction site down by the water. It has a name that seems like it should belong to a Japanese project. I forget what it is, but it's something like "Paradise" or "Utopia".

The pic - yes, I forgot to mention that Jason, now that he's secretary of Japan soc, has to wear that outfit come December..!

Your college days sound just like mine! Yeah, good to hear your thoughts on that.

Anyway after that late night I need to go to bed early. Take care, and hope to see you again sometime.

9/4/06 06:22  

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