Note: there are twelve polls in this post. Please take part.
There was an episode of The Closer a few years back when Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) learned that her husband, Fritz (Jon Tenney) peed in the shower. She was outraged and threw a hissy fit at this disgusting behavior and demanded that he scour the shower. Wisely, he did. But he didn’t understand why she was upset. After all, it’s washed down the drain right away, right?
Obviously, the writer or writers of this episode knew that the male gender sometimes pees in the shower. Perhaps her reaction was typical of women . . . but the fact is, being of the male persuasion, I don’t know. Do, in fact, women sometimes pee in the shower? Are there women for whom that would not even be worth a shrug?
What do they think/feel?
So it goes when writing a narrative set in your opposite gender’s point of view (POV). I’ve done that—two of the four POV characters in my novel, Hiding Magic, are women. No women who have read it have told me that I mischaracterized the female characters, but I really don’t know if they were just being polite or not. The one gender-specific piece of the narrative that comes to mind is when a female character who is accustomed to wearing pants (she’s a Homeland Security agent) is required to wear a skirt in the middle of a Chicago winter as part of an undercover operation. Here are her thoughts on that:
. . . she hates the skirt—it makes her legs look heavy, and putting one on always feels like a demotion. Damn cold in the wind, too.
Did I get that right? I don’t know—it seemed right for that character, who felt she was a victim of sexism (and temperature). Which brings to mind a universe of things I don’t really know about the feelings and mindsets of my opposite gender, and I suspect it’s the same for you.
What about sexual attraction? A poll.
We write about this all the time, especially in romance novels, but are we getting it right? I wonder, for example, what single feature or aspect of a stranger woman is the first thing that attracts a man’s interest? Figure? Legs? Ass? Breasts? Eyes? Smile?
And what single feature of a stranger man is the first thing that attracts a woman’s interest? Build? Legs? Ass? Chest? Eyes? Smile? Tell us what it is for you.
How to work these polls: due to the nature of these polls, there must be at least two responses in addition to a write-in response. So you will see duplicate gender identities in each poll--choose one of them, but only one. The choices are heterosexual women and men, and gay women and men. For economies of space, I left out bisexual and any other alternatives.
- Click either one of the identical gender identity choices—but only one of them.
- Write in your answer in the Other box provided.
What about peeing in the shower?
While it’s beyond the scope of this post to explore the myriad of differential gender characteristics, perhaps we can shed light on the titular issue. Please respond to your gender-appropriate poll.
What else would you like to know about your opposite gender?
Pass this on to everyone you know.
The more people who answer the polls and surveys in this post, whether writers or not, the more we’ll know. So please pass this post on to friends, family members, whoever you know who can contribute. It’ll be fun to see how this comes out.
I'll post this a few times and then compile the results and report back to you.
My books. You can read sample chapters and learn more about the books here.
Writing Craft Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling
Fantasy (satire) The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles
Mystery (coming of age) The Summer Boy
Science Fiction Hiding Magic
Science Fiction Gundown Free ebooks.