Sunday, July 24, 2005

Cerebrally Hot

So I've recently discovered Bitch. Ph.D. and a couple of days ago, she was talking about Nice Guys and Bitchy Women. (Go and read it, if you'd like. Read the comments, too--I'll wait.)

Just in case you don't want to navigate over there--although I highly recommend you do--here's a synopsis.

She sorts "Bitchy Women" into possible categories:

1. There are surely women who are genuinely mean people; and often these women are bitchiest to other women, but tend to play up to men, because on some level being a "bitch" is all about power. . . .

2. Women who are abusive. Nothing much to say about this; women who treat their partners and / or kids like crap suck, just the same as men like that.

3. Strong women, as we all know, all get called "bitch" sooner or later. That's the spirit in which I named the blog; and sure enough, there've been a few comments here and there. . .

4. Women who are bitchy in private relationships. . . .women who are sometimes described as "high strung" or "high maintenance" or, as Mr. B. calls me, "stressmonkeys." Up to a point, I think these women are good partners for solid, self-confident guys; we have a clear sense of boundaries, we're direct; we're not conflict-averse; we don't mess about on the borders of hinting that something's wrong--we'll come pretty straight out and let you know. But I'll admit that sometimes those skills get misapplied. . .

She also suggests that perhaps Bitch #4 has some weird corollary relationship to Bitch #3, then she observes, "I think that a certain level of personal "bitchiness" is fine, and I suspect a lot of men are attracted to strong, assertive, ambitious women, which is of course the simple answer to the "why do men like bitchy women" question. But I wonder about the men who live with those of us who are (4). What's the attraction? I admit: I don't think I could do it."

*Whew* Okay. I've caught you up on what I was thinking about, and the conversation I've been following. I thought about replying there, then chose not to, since the conversation had become rather stultifyingly hetero, then increasingly combative, then began to degenerate into a discussion about whether or not Angelina Jolie is sexy (yes, but in a not-altogether-comfortable sort of way,) and why.

She says later, in the comments section: "I also wonder, come to think of it, how these archetypes play out in same-sex relationships, or whether there are different archetypes altogether."

The answer to that is, of course, "it depends" and "yes."

That is, I know same-sex couples both male and female who seem to avoid the nice partner/bitchy partner dynamic--but I've never quite managed the trick of it.

I didn't want to cut-n-paste the entire post, so I've omitted Dr. Bitch's nice-guy classifications. They're insightful and funny. Really, you should go and read the post. If you had Firefox, instead of the cursed IE, you could even open it in another tab and zap back and forth for reference.

And cuz this is my own blog, I'm not particularly inclined to explain why I classify myself as a nice-guy type. You'll have to just take my word for it. I'd love to be a bitch. I really would. I just can't ever pull it off. The closest I've come is when a dear friend described me as "mostly feral" and I'm not even certain what that precisely meant. I took it as a compliment. My friend who made the observation is very much a bitch, by the way. In the good sense of the word.

(I'm terribly tempted here to launch into a monologue about the urgent need to expand the lexicon: "Bitch" has been neatly appropriated by strong women to mean a combination of sexy/strong/wonderful/and-if-that-scares-you-we-don't-give-a-fuck. I applaud that appropriation, and suggest that those who need a gender-specific pejorative should go looking for another word to use. I'm resisting mightily. Feel free to admire my fortitude.)

What were we talking about? Oh yes. Nice dyke/bitchy dyke partnering arrangements, and what's the attraction.

*disclaimer: the following is mostly irreverent observation, thrown together out of my personal experience. It may well have no bearing on any one else's reality whatsoever. I'm okay with that.

So here's the thing. Dr. B's Bitch #3 and #4 are mostly the same woman, although there are some exceptions. She's strong, sure, intelligent and articulate in her public and professional life--but there's a cost for that. She's often strong, sure, intelligent, and articulate in her private life, as well--but sometimes she's a bit...err...neurotic.

Okay. You know what?

Occasionally, she's just plain bugfuck nutso.

Even that's sort of sexy, in a not-exactly-healthy-or-comfortable way. The "stress-monkey" side-effect is friggin' adorable as long as you can maintain a healthy detachment. Because it's still about knowing precisely what she wants, and how she wants it. Even though she's perhaps the only person in the world who can understand the logic. It spells the difference between Athena and Boadicea. Athena is, frankly, a bit boring. Boadicea is, well, a total hottie.

This is a phenomenon I've long associated with education. More recently, I've realized it's just about intelligence in general. Or rather, a combination of intelligence and a talent for appropriate introspection. So it's something I often see in well-educated women, but not exclusively.

It's a kind of sexy that's got little to do with pheremones, and so when it's combined with good pheremones, it's completely and overwhelmingly irresistable.


Jill said...

Great post! I promised my lovely and loving husband who works well with his hands that I would never disparage him on the Internet. And I won't. So read between the lines re: why I would respond to this entry as, "Great post!" (see Jill smile) (PS You can bisit me anytime. When I visit Seattle next, and there will be a next, I'll be sure to let you know!)

Mac said...

Hey Jill! Terrific to see you here. Absolutely give me a call when you're in Seattle, next.

Anonymous said...

a long time ago someone told me Bitch stands for: Being In Total Control (of) Herself. I liked that, I get called a bitch every so often. DD

Mac said...

Ah! DD, You came back. Good! I'd wondered where you'd gone off to.

DD said...

Hi, how do you add links to your page? I am really new to this, but thought you would know, everytime I read your blog your link list has grown.