How Sensitive is Too Sensitive?

The modern guy is caught in a weird, weird dichotomy. One where he’s told every day he needs to be sensitive to the plight of others, and at the same time, he’s told to be a “real man.”
So, which is it? What do women really want?
I can’t speak for all women, but I can certainly speak for myself, and don’t kid yourself. I don’t think I’m too far off from the masses on this one. But because I sometimes find it easier to write in the collective voice, I shall do that for this piece. Thus, the royal “we” shall be affected throughout much of this, but it really means “me, the prima donna, I think this.”
First, this question was asked in earnest by both Albion and Mad Coyote this morning. But it’s been on my mind for two or three weeks now. I’ve tried writing before now, but I’m having a hard time. It’s hard to put a finger on all the gender problems we’re currently afflicted with, because man, they’re a-plenty.
I’m a feminist with a twist. I love ze men. I love masculinity. I don’t want equality, I just want to do what I want to do. I think my gender’s in my favour, especially given that this writing’s something I love to do. But there’re a lot of fucking problems between men and women in this day and age, and the definitions of “feminine” and “masculine” are a great place to start.
Tackling both is too much in one post, so let’s talk about the boys, then, and just this issue of sensitivity.
A reader recently asked me what women think of men who cry in sad movies and the like. I flat-out said it was sissy. And it is. A guy who gets a sniffle, okay. Maybe he gulps, you know, that’s sexy. That’s hot. He’s affected. A guy who breaks down with some tears coming down his cheek, I’m sorry, but it’s perceived as weakness.
“Sensitive” means acutely affected, easily affected, so the word itself is actually the wrong word, and it’s part of the problem. It’s grown past being a mere issue of semantics. It’s simply the wrong word. We don’t want sensitive men. We want empathetic men. We want open men. Men who can understand where we’re coming from, who can be of support, who can express their sentiments about any manner of topic.
If you crumble, you are of no use to us. If you crumble, you defeat the purpose for us to pairbond with you.
As a woman, I am well aware of a few things. I am strong, I am creative, I am resourceful, I am sometimes indefatigable. And sometimes, I am emotional. Sometimes it’s nice to have a man around who is empathetic, but not overwhelmed. Then he becomes a pillar for me. His stoic aspects influence me, and I remember to look at things more objectively. It’s a yin to my yang.
It’s no secret, men and women tend to deal with problems and such in slightly different manners. Sometimes it’s nice to have that juxtaposition there. But if you get overly affected, overly emotional, you are of no use. Period. It’s that simple.
There are times when a man can cry and it would be understandable. The death of a parent or a friend, that sort of thing. At that moment, I’d be moved for him. I’d want to be his world, to help make it all better. I’d never forsake a guy at that moment. Three weeks later and the mood’s still there? It’s hard to deal with as a chick. When a man’s crumbled, it’s just a hard thing to see sometimes. To have that state maintain, it can begin to affect us on some pretty deep levels, too, and that’s hard to sometimes handle.
Remember 9/11, the horrible fucking footage of that day from the streets of New York? It was unthinkable to see the Towers, but devastating when the cameras took in the faces of the aghast men in the street. The women, crying, that was almost typical – tragic, but typical.
I can remember the face of this one burly man, though.
A big broad man in his 40s of Irish or Scottish heritage, a ruddy complexion, piercing blue eyes, and he was staring up at that soon-to-topple tower, with people running in fear and panic all around him, dust filling the streets, screams and sirens raging in the background. His eyes were turning violently red, tears streaming down his face, and his body heaving with his gasps and sobs, his cries muffling in his throat, as he stood there fucking horrified at all this tragedy coming down around him, fully aware his life was changing then and there, and nothing would ever, ever be the same.
And that broke my fucking heart.
I cried like a little girl, my body wracked with sobs as it hit me, too, just how bad that day was becoming, how etched it would be.
That look, the posture, said, “This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever endured,” and anyone who saw it, we knew. We felt it, too. And that’s the thing, when a man cries, it should be for something that would break the heart of any person, any where. Men are our measure of how bad things get. When it’s times like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 or the Tsunami, it’s always the stricken fathers that leave us knowing how bad things have become.
So, how do you empathize just enough? It’s in the eyes, the way you listen to us. It’s in the way that you reach out to softly stroke our hands when you hear something that’s upsetting us, the timing of the squeeze after we tell you the worst of it. Don’t respond every time we tell you something sad with a hug – it makes you look a little too soft. Stroking our hands, an arm over our shoulders – be there, but have a little distance from time to time, too. It’s really about listening, or really sharing your opinions. Not being afraid to tell us you’re scared, but also not letting too much of it show.
But that should be true for everyone.
A woman who lets all her fear show is less attractive than a woman who reveals just a glimpse of that terror. A woman who’s strong tends to have more sex appeal than the fluffy kitten girl you know is gonna be high maintenance. It all correlates from one sex to the other, but masculinity ups the values of those traits, that’s all.
Be open about how you feel, but be a little reserved about showing too much of it, I guess.
I suspect there are some women who think I’m full of shit and way off base on this one? Lemme have it. If you agree, I’d love to know that, too. Thanks.

36 thoughts on “How Sensitive is Too Sensitive?

  1. Beth

    Oooh, good topic. And “… it’s always the stricken fathers that leave us knowing how bad things have become” knocked me out. That’s some good writing, woman.

    But on the topic of the topic, I agree with you, just like ol’ Spanky up there. I want a man who’s capable of showing emotion, but who isn’t mushy.

    I feel a post coming on, with a link to your post, to give credit where credit’s due.

  2. Mad Coyote

    Very interesting…and very insightful…thanks Steff…and thank you Spanky and Beth for corroborating her opinion.

    The world becomes a little clearer now- and you’ll all be happy to know that one man has become a little more of a man for it.

    Thanks ladies.

  3. scribe called steff

    Thanks, Coyote, Spanky, and Beth. Happy you’ve all enjoyed it, and glad S&B found lines they’ve loved. 🙂

    I’d like to hear from more men and women on this, but the stupid Oscars interrupted the comment flow.

    (How about that… Crash, huh? Hmm. Surprising!)

  4. rachel

    I’m a long time lurker, but I had to come out just to say that I completely agree.

    I’m one that will cry at the drop of a hat. Movies, weddings, commiserating with my friends, what have you. You can’t cry in my presence without expecting me to cry with you. Happy, sad, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to cry.

    But, when my husband cries? That’s when I know that something has truly gone horribly wrong. I just never would have come up with the words, “Men are our measurement” on my own, even though it’s completely true.

  5. scribe called steff

    hey, rachel — thanks for delurking to chime in on that.

    i’m glad it’s that passage that appears to be resonating… says a little, i think, to men.

    i think guys fail to realize how much we do still value and want them when it comes to those classic age-old desires of having someone around that makes us feel appreciated or safe or whatever it is we seek in relationships. it’s simply nice… and sometimes it feels like guys fail to see it, and women fail to press that point home: there’s still reason for us to do this godforsaken dance with each other — because it all feels good.

    i don’t know if i’m even making sense. insomnia. 5:06am, sleeping fitfully since midnight, and there’s no one to distract me so i can perform oral on them and entertain myself.

    pity. 😛

  6. me

    As a girl who rarely, rarely cries, I take issue with guys who are sensitive. In fact, I really don’t like sensitive people all that much — people for whom the world just ends if they get mud on their new shoes or take serious offense to the smallest infraction. Criers make me uncomfortable. It’s my dad from whom I got my dislike for public emotional outbursts — not sure if it’s nature or nurture.

    I use myself as a judgement for guys. If they’re crying at something I might cry at, it’s okay. If not, well, he’s probably too sensitive for my tastes. But this is all just me.

  7. Ashley Johnston

    Straight single white male here. Am I allowed to read, and comment?

    I too very much enjoy your writing. I find the issue of sensitivity very interesting. I’m just curious if the word ‘perception’ should be in this discussion. As I understand women, I get the impression that you want men to be able to percieve everthing, and percpetion happens to require sensitivities. But then I agree that how these perceptions affect us is a major issue.

    I understand that we are expected to put most things into place in a larger picture. From the female perspective though, should there be an upper limit on the size of that picture? Perhaps just small enough so that you remain important in it. 😉

  8. Anonymous

    Yes… I think the key is that the man, except in severe instances, always have a “hold” on himself. As long as he is being sensitive, that’s okay if he keeps it under control. If not, well, then he’s being the woman…. And, hey, isn’t that my job?

    ~Woman on Bottom

  9. scribe called steff

    CamouGirl — I’m not big on emotional displays, either. Hence, for me, it’d better be just a sniffle unless some serious shit’s gone down. I’m a pretty stoic girl, myself.

    Ashley — hey! My whole famned damily’s from PEI, man. Something like 3 generations. First West Coaster right here. 🙂

    Personally, I don’t expect or want men to perceive everything. In my books, you’re not the most perceptive guys. This is why I advocate communication. Too many chicks want guys with decoder rings who’ll be able to use superhuman powers to detect the least little change in mood or circumstance.

    NEVER going to happen. I don’t give a shit if guys become as sensitive as a nerve ending — guys aren’t built that way. So, this is why people have voiceboxes. Say what you’re thinking, etc. But YOU, the MAN, you need to be able to listen, to understand, to at least be able to do remedial math — 2+2 = She’s having a pretty shitty day, I should say something nice here. You know what I mean?

    And you’re right — we have to keep things simple. We can’t expect the evening’s conversation to also include a cure for famine in Somalia. I mean, there’s a limit to what we can expect. All we should ever really expect is the genuine effort to understand what we’re saying, and the will to support what we say we need or want.

    And that has to go both ways.

    That’s the number one thing. This is why I’m constantly trying to explain the male POV for the chicks tuning in, too. It needs to go both ways. Life’s too hard without a little mutual understanding.

    Anon — Ain’t your job, honey, but it’s sometimes the role you play. A very big, very important distinction there.

    It is not your job to be an emotional mess. It’s not your job to feel the pain of the world. It’s not your job to be unable to process your emotions without the help of a man.

    But sometimes it happens. Thus, a role. Not a job. Remember that.

    We is strong, girlie. Yo.

    (Yeah, I know, you didn’t expect me to go all semantic on your ass, but the fact is, we sometimes say these things and don’t realize how much they’re conditioning the way we think. Sometimes it’s important to be conscious of our word choice.)

  10. Cat

    I think your right, we tend to mean empathetic rather than emotive when we say sensitive.
    I find the boy’s calmness in the face of my sometime too-strong emotions helps balance me out, helps me be more vocal about what’s bothering me rather than letting my frustrations reduce me to the communication level of a two year old.
    But it’s also sweet to see his eyes mist up a little once in a while.

  11. PS

    steff, really lovely post. And of course, great writing. Wouldn’t be here if it weren’t.

    You’re right, often we must first talk about how we speak, the language and the diction, before we can move on to the issue at hand. cat with the head on nail, sensitivity is empathy in our lexicon – which couldn’t be worse for defining what men and women need from their relationships.

    i think of myself as a stoic empath. I could never be one or the other – I enjoy my masculinity in tandem with a good choke up too much (only 3 times have I ever truly cried – once whilst watching Joe die during Mighty Joe Young (1949), the others I do not admit to, hah!)

    From the “modern” male’s POV (if you’re interested), I must admit to feeling torn at times. I embrace stoicism (not in the extreme, which is a struggle at times) and have done so ever after reading Shakespeare’s fantastic Julius Caesar wherein I fell in love with Brutus. I also, try to, embody what it means to be an empath which I believe is a full extension of what it is to be defined by one’s passions (sexual and sprititual together). It’s hard to embrace both as completely as I try to (and fail, no doubt). I must try to be the man. I must also try to be comforter, which is part of my definiton of what a man is (but for purposes I separate the two).

    Really, it’s the simplest thing in the world but the damned hardest at the hardest times.

    The culture we live in, the history of man – it defines a struggle to be the man I want to be, for myself and my love.

  12. Anonymous

    I can understand a mans tears as they usually are for a good reason. I can’t stand seeing a woman cry, it leaves me cold. I watched my mother use tears to her advantage… all her grown kids do not cry, we never did.

  13. macoyote

    That last post reminded of a quote from an old film noir…

    “Men like to see women cry. It makes them feel superior.”

    -George Brent,
    “The Spiral Staircase”

  14. PS

    That’s something I guess I just can’t understand…I don’t like to see any woman cry. I hate to see my woman cry. If I am the role of comforter, so be it, but it is not my choice. I don’t want to be the perpetual “stone.”

  15. Mad Coyote

    I’m not saying I like to see women cry…it’s just a quote from an old movie. As Freud is rumoured to have once said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

  16. scribe called steff

    Cat — Yeah, eyes misting up is kind of sexy from time to time, unless it’s because the Monster Truck Hour has just been given a double-header and they’re tears of joy.

    PS — It’s difficult for guys. Showing a bit of weakness is all right, but I think there still needs to be that grasp of masculinity. For chicks like me, the strong ones, we need to find that in you guys. If it’s not there, well…

    Anon — It depends on the woman who’s crying. Some women, it’s just far too much, too easy, too soon, too, too, too. Others, you can see the pain and see the truth, and that’s different.

    It’s a shame you’ve had that experience, though. It’s tragic when people use emotions to manipulate us, and so hard to get past it sometimes, too.

    Mad — I don’t get that sense, tho. I’ve never seen a guy seem to enjoy my tears, in fact, it’s always been the opposite. Thank goodness.

    A cigar is just… So it’s all right that I have an aversion to sausage with breakfast, then?

  17. scribe called steff

    Jazz — I’ve yet to hear from the guy!

    I’m kind of in a mad-at-men phase tonight, though, so I might be all right with not hooking up.

    I’m going to refrain from discussing the little pissant that has put me in this mood, though.

    Certainly makes older men that much more attractive this week, though. I’ll tell you.

  18. Mad Coyote

    Okay, first of all, it was JUST A QUOTE. Hadn’t meant for anybody to read all this into it. It’s from a movie. That’s all.

    Second, you know what? I will admit it.

    Sometimes, I do like it when a woman cries, and I’ll tell you why.

    When a woman wraps her arms around me and cries on my chest, and I stroke her hair and tell her everything’s going to be okay, in that moment, I feel more like a MAN than I get to throughout most of my life. Because in that moment, she is allowing herself to be completely vulnerable to me, she is putting all her trust in me to be HER MAN, to keep her safe and protect her from the entire world, and in that moment, more than any other, I get to be Her HERO. And those moments are more precious to me than nearly anything else in this life.

    And if it’s wrong for me to feel that way when a woman cries like that, than so be it. As long it’s right for her and right for me…that’s what counts.

  19. scribe called steff

    You know what?

    That totally makes sense to me. I dig that. And kudos for admitting it.

    I’ve felt that way about being able to be someone’s support system. To be able to contribute that to a person is always a pretty powerful role to play, and yes… I think admitting to enjoy it in some small, not vindictive way is more a testimony to being in touch with that male part of you than it is anything else. It’s just biology/nature, and maybe even nurture.

  20. PS

    mad coyote, forgive me, I read a lot into the fact that the quotation came from film noir.

    You’re right, it is an incredible thing to be that rock in a tide of emotion. But it’s hard to be the rock all the time, that was my only point. Cheers mate, well put.

  21. Ashley Johnston

    Three generations.. Yep yep. I’m number three (at least, I’ve been meaning to look into that). And I have family in Alberton.

    I considered putting this pervision in my original comment when I wrote “you want men to be able to percieve everthing”. I didn’t mean ‘expect’. But what good is a sensitivity if it doesn’t change a perception in which you are important. Imagine he had a siern that went off every time you were upset. He would then be sensitive to it. But if he didn’t care or he did but it was diluted with all of his other concerns I don’t think that benefits you much.

    Crap.. I guess I could just assume when you say ‘sensitivity’ you mean ‘percepetual sensitivity’.

    But if the perception is too acute, again, the emotional instability creeps in.

  22. scribe called steff

    Justin — I don’t know, man. That’s a big topic. Hmm.

    Off the top of my head, I think we both need to mirror each others’ virtues. I think the application of those virtues might differ between the sexes.

    Hmm. I don’t know. 🙂

    Did you have anything specific in mind?

  23. Justin

    Whenever I read about gender roles, the first thing that occurs to me is that any masculine virtue–say, quiet strength, forthrightness, and confidence–would also be equally a virtue in a woman. In certain more specific cases, like the stereotype of a strong southern woman, the Steel Magnolia, we actually do find those same virtues. Likewise any feminine virtue, like compassion, empathy, emotional awareness. We may not assign those virtues to traditional roles, but we recognize and appreciate them all the same.

    Assigning virtues to a gender for their exclusive purview, even assuming very traditional roles, doesn’t really distinguish anything, and provides no guidance to someone looking to better live their assigned role.

    What your entry on sensitivity made me think of is that gender roles are defined in people’s mind less by what virtue each includes, but more about what weaknesses are tolerable. It’s tolerable for a woman to go to pieces at little things, but not for a man (your sensitivity essay reinforces this); it’s tolerable for a man to be insensitive to his friend’s emotional difficulties, but not for a woman. Our expectations for each sex are built up by how we expect them to fail.

    There’s a parallel for women with men no longer knowing how to act–‘girly girls’ are also getting frustrated at men who expect a measure of personal competence from them. Look at Craig’s List for Vancouver–every post in Women Seeking Men where some female UBC student is looking for ‘some help with tuition in exchange for favours’ is met with a barrage of “you’re a whore” and “die, gold-digger” responses.

    I don’t have a larger point; these are just thoughts your blog raises. I do appreciate your tackling of these subjects, especially with regard to men and male identity. It’s an under-explored area, I think.

  24. scribe called steff

    hmm, interesting. i think the well-rounded person must possess both masculine and feminine virtues, if there are such things. jury’s out on that. we’re moving to a new place, societally, and i think that’s all changing. feminism was a big bump in the road, and now we need to learn to assimilate that.

    your later comments about the so-called girlie-girls being expected to be competent and reacting — women aren’t supposed to be in that place anymore. we’ve moved on, as a sex. those chicks need to get with the fucking program, and i applaud any man who expects more of them. rightly bloody so. if the girls want to piss and moan about it, well, y’know, let’em. they need a little self-respect.

    i disagree that weaknesses ARE tolerable, for either sex. they’re human, but it’s not something we want to tolerate daily in our lives. extreme circumstances beget extreme responses. forgetting where you parked the car? not so much.

    we must be strong, proud people who are capable of leading our lives in intelligent, mature fashion. we live in a society where everyone can shirk blame, sue whoever they want when they spill their fucking coffee. “but i didn’t know it would be that hot!” i mean, we’re a society of wimps, really. women have gotten stronger, but the new generation has kind of this bi-polar thing going; the fluffy Britney wanna-bes and then the ones like me who think Janeane Garafolo and Avril Lavigne’s where it’s at.

    and who’s to blame? who bloody knows, but my money’s on the good folk in the media, creating images and illusions of what a chick should be.

    me, i don’t think it’s acceptable for women to break down over the least little thing. i think crying is weak for either sex, most of the time. misting up’s all good, but the thing is, we all get weak. it doesn’t matter if it’s fucking tolerable or not, it’s just human. sometimes, it happens. it’s not about being weak, it’s about being strong enough to get the hell back up.

    like anything in life, being emotional isn’t about just being emotional — it’s about being emotional with dignity. blubbering women are unsexy, uncool, and not a part of the vibe i’m emitting or ever will emit.

    ah, well, i lost my train of thought way the hell back there, but hey. like i keep saying, big topic. thanks for a really interesting question.

  25. Albion

    Hi, y’all. Apologies for absence – especially since I was one of the guys that kicked this off – but Blogger wouldn’t play!

    Thanks, Steff, for going the distance on this one; it’s important as it’s a step on the road to understanding…and enlightenment…

    Almost as soon as I’d hit the send button I realised that even the act of raising this subject sounds weak and petty and whining and, well, exactly the things that men hate women to think that they are and women hate to see…

    But the fact is that some men are.

    Now, I’ve had quite a week so far, and my brain resembles pease pudding slightly more that normal, so please stick with me as I voice some radom rambling thoughts…

    I have this theory, and it goes something like this;

    The majority of men are brought up by a woman; namely their mother. From a very early age, therefore, they get used to staying on the right side of a woman by saying what mum wants to hear…

    trouble is, when we grow up, it’s all too wasy to assume – and we do – that the same tack will work with the women we want to have a relations ship and, yes, sex with.

    It won’t.

    In fact it’s the most annoying, frustrating amd pathetic thing that we can do, but it’s so ingrained by the time we get old enough to get hard it’s just second nature…

    There have been various attempts to right this wrong…but up to now most have failed. Perhaps the feminist movement was one of them…not sure…

    …but almost certainly one of them was the encouraging of men to ‘Get in touch with their feminine side’…

    Unfortunately men took it as meaning that we had to start acting like women…

    A bit tough that one…especially as we haven’t a clue how women act – well we do, but we don’t empathise with the reasons behind their ‘behaviour’, so we don’t understand it. It’s like learning the words of a foriegn song phonetically and anyone listening would think you spoke the language…

    listen guys, women are fluent speakers – they spot a faker faster than you can say ‘Casanova’…

    This thing that we’re talking about here has caused rows between me and just about every woman I’ve been involved with…

    …you mean I haven’t learned the lesson yet?

    Well yes, actually, I have. But remember that bit about being brought up by a woman? We get so used to being made wrong or being verbally attacked by our mothers that when a woman opens her mouth and starts to talk emotionally about something we either see it as ‘I’m about to be blamed for the way she’s feeling’ or ‘I’m about to be attacked for something’, so what do we do?

    She needs a heart to heart – she needs reassurance in her life, her relationship, her man, her…well, everything…and we pile in there with big boots on a fuck it up.


    But there is an answer, although it needs patience and willingness on both sides…

    I’ve listened to the way guys talk and I’ve listened to the way Girls talk. And it’s different.

    Guys generally cover up their problems unless they’re drunk – then they just get embarrassing.

    Girls know instinctively that what they do is spill their troubles to each other; they EMPATHISE – which they can do because they’re girls too…finish their coffee and go on with their day having a bit of renewed clarity with which to deal with stuff.

    And that makes it sound like I’m making your ‘stuff’ less important and significant than it really is. Which is exactly what always happens because I’m not a woman.

    And no, I’m not. Making your stuff less, that is.

    The answer?

    When you want empathy, give us a clue first. My best friend in the world is a woman. I know by the look on her face that we’re in for one…I just don’t know for sure what it is until she says to me…

    ‘Look, this is a girly talk, ok?’

    That’s my cue and immediately I know.

    This isn’t personal.

    This isn’t a ‘get at’.

    This isn’t blame.

    This is ‘You’re my hero and I need one right now.’

    This is ‘You actually mean enough to me for me to spill this stuff to and I appreciate that…it just won’t sound like it.’

    This is ‘You probably won’t understand this and you definitely won’t be able to fix it in fact I don’t want it fixed I just want you to try and to be there.’

    I think Mad Coyote has it.

    We are ALWAYS our woman’s hero; we just don’t always act like it because we don’t always realise or remember.

    And we’re not going to be told by our women because then we are being everything EXCEPT heroic.

    Spanky said:”Men are our measurement” and I can see what you mean. Everything in the world gets measured against a reference – a bench mark.

    Perhaps it is that men and women provide the juxtaposition we each need to get a handle on this crazy, crazy world we inhabit together.

    Chaps…try to be a hero every day. be Noble.

    Girls…just be. We love it, really we do.

    If we get choked up a little on occasion it’s because we get slapped in the face with the knowledge that we can’t always fix everything and we feel like we should be able to.

    If men are the measure that women use, perhaps women are the touchstone that men use to judge how what’s okay to be.


    Sorry if this is too long or has nothing to do with the topic…the stream of consciousness caught the weatherman on the hop.. :¬)

    Thanks for putting up with me.


  26. Mad Coyote

    Thanks Albion. Very well said too.

    Oh, and I agree with all the stuff that’s not directly about me too (heh heh).

    Seriously, though, I sent Steff a two-hour monologue about how when it comes down to it, most of us guys just want to be heroes- but somewhere along the line, we learn there’s no place for heroes in the real world. So we become lost.

    The thing is, having said it, I realise and understand it. And that’s the first step in finding my inner hero again.

    I’m on my way.

    (Have to mention this- always loved the cartoon Darkwing Duck. In one episode, Darkwing and his sidekick Launchpad McQuack go into Darkwing’s mind to meet his “inner hero”. Through a tiny door in Darkwing’s mind comes this three inch tall knight-in-shining-armour sitting on a three inch warhorse. Darkwing’s in disbelief- “That’s my inner hero…!!!”, when the knight says, “Wait until you meet my partner!” This horrible noise comes from behind the wall in which the 6 inch door is set, then the wall starts to break apart, revealing a gargantuan, deranged, Darkwing. Darkwing Duck stutters, “My…my ego??!!!”

    (Sorry, I just always loved that part- had to share it. Anyways, back to being a man and a hero and all that.)

  27. scribe called steff

    Albion, so that was the longest comment ever. Well-written, though, so thank you. Too many points touched on for me to comment, but I’ll be referring back to it as writing fodder, I assure you.

    Mad — Darkwing, huh? Wouldn’t have figured.

    You know, mentioning heroes and all, I had a Marine in Iraq write to tell me how much he liked this post. (People — No, don’t get political on my ass and start belittling troops and shit. A lot of ’em are damned good people, and the administration that sent ’em there, they suck. The troops are just doing jobs, and some of them are fucking up — like we do, in our jobs, all the time, ‘cept they land on tv.) Anyhow, I really loved that dude’s letter. Probably up there with my all-time fave letters from readers. Just awesome. I want to share it but I like it so much it feels private.


    I should say this: There are a lot of circumstances I could handle a guy getting a little broken down over something. I’d feel good to know the weakness found him from time to time. I just don’t want a regular event, you know? Anniversary of a bad thing, something like that, that’d be understandable, too. I think it seems a little black and white in the post. Sometimes, it’s okay. Just not often, and not in really emotional ways. I mean, learn to be manly emoters, y’know? Heh.

  28. Mad Coyote

    What?! Darkwing Duck was awesome!!

    The mysterious hero, from the days of film noir…

    “I am the terror that flaps in the night…”
    “I am the pin about to burst your bubble…”
    “I am…DARKWING DUCK!!!”

    Now that’s cool.

    Seriously though, the dark, mysterious hero in the trenchcoat with the oversized chapeau, who swoops in, saves the day, and then disappears into the night before the damsel-in-distress can even thank him…

    Hey, look at it this way, at least I don’t collect Star Wars or Star Trek figures…

  29. Marvin

    Great post as always.

    I particularly liked how you distinguished between “sensitive” and “empathetic.”

    Keep up the good work, Steff.

  30. A Scribe Called Steff

    Mike’s Girl
    Posted March 24, 2007 at 6:03 pm | Permalink | Edit
    His stoic aspects influence me, and I remember to look at things more objectively. It’s a yin to my yang.
    Um… sorry… but it’s the ‘Yang to your yin’ — the standard definitions are: Yang as masculine, strong, solid, upright, objective and yin as feminine, weak, emotional, flexible, and subjective.
    However, I always advise people on my dating/mating/marrying forum that yin and Yang are opposites but also complements. The yin is actually no less strong than the Yang — merely its obverse.
    If you consider the “tai chi” — that black and white interlaced half-circle with the ’seed’ of the opposite color in its head? — you’ll notice that the yin (black half) is EXACTLY the same size (strength) as the Yang (white half); so it’s not weaker or lesser, merely opposite.
    The stronger the Yang/male half is, the stronger must be his yin/female partner, else she is not his complement — his natural mate! If she is a weak wimpy female, then a strong male cannot partner her very successfully. She must also be a strong female — but not strong in a masculine sense; not aggressive and pushy and directive — not “like a man.” Rather she must be strong in her own femininity; protective of her sense of herself, of her feelings, of her own best interests.
    Anyway… just a note in passing… as I enjoy your blog….

  31. Peter Wallace

    um, by giving these pre-approved vehicles of expression and repression aren’t you kind of ruining it? i see what you’re saying, but- harsh.


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