No wait, why don’t I just pull a pin on a grenade and wait 5 seconds…it will be the same as trying to survive this blog or any discussion that dares to invade the inner sanctum or reasoning process of half the human race…by the male half.
I am in the finishing phase of my 5th novel, Give Us This Day, and for some unknown reason, I risked my life and limb to stubbornly, not only write a book with a female leading character and hero (heroine!) but to have the audacity to go inside her, to delve into her psyche and foolishly think I could come out with my cognitive skills and self-image intact!
Note to all male authors: When delving into the working of the female mind, always, always, always assume that you are wrong. Then just ask any female and you’ll quickly confirm just how wrong you are. But then ask another female and see how wrong the first woman was! — No, no, no, not that Female #2 agrees with you, noooo, you are not even on the same page as her, the terrifying reality is that she doesn’t agree with Female #1!
Okay, so back to me. I recently was enlightened to the fact that having a male character ask a female character for permission to call her by her first name, i.e. “May I call you, Brooke?” Is actually worse than chauvinistic. This critique hit me like I was T-Boned in my new Corvette just as I was pulling out of the dealer’s lot. I quote from the response of a woman whom I sought out not only for her brilliance but also because she is, like my protagonist, Brooke Burrell-Morton, a powerful person of achievement and position, who was kind enough to read and comment my manuscript, …
“It’s huge power play and condescending for a man to address a woman who is an equal or better by her first name. It’s like him asking her to get coffee for him. She’s [Brooke is] a sharp cookie and should be offended or at least think he’s a sexist a**hole by his asking.”
I had two simultaneous thoughts when I read that… First, thank God for her and her sharing that critical piece of social decorum of which I was totally unaware, ill-informed and insensitive. As, apparently, were a few other female early readers who missed it. (See Female#2)
My second thought was…I am never going to talk to a woman ever again, God knows how many faux pas I commit per minute in just even the most innocent and casual chat with someone of the opposite sex. Yikes, I don’t want to ever be a sexist a**hole, EVER! Much less announce and confirm that fact in un–retractable, New Times Roman set 12 on 12 in 435 pages that will live-on somewhere or on some shelf or digital file till the sun flickers out.
Now, on second thought, where’s that hand grenade?