Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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July 22, 2005

I've been thinking about guys a lot lately -- thinking about guys as guys, not simply as people (the default setting) who can be trusted, up to a point, until they start acting like, well, guys. Now that "My Terrorist Eye" is done and the financial challenges of two eye surgeries seem to have been met, The Squatters' Speakeasy, my second novel, is taking up more and more space in my head. Most of the characters so far are guys, and most of the guys are straight. (So far. I think.) I just caught on. First I was startled, then I was dismayed; now I'm telling my muses, "OK, whatever you want; you tell me how we're going to pull this off."

Not that there weren't any guys in my first novel, The Mud of the Place. Sure there were. But you'll notice that they rarely congregate in groups where no women are present, and when they do the interaction is ruled by something other than male bonding. Squatters shows no sign of letting me off so easily.

So lately I've been thinking a lot about guys, especially about how they manage to avoid sights, sounds, and facts that are so obvious to any woman in the vicinity. Once upon a time, I attributed this to the notion that men are aliens. This was a popular conviction among women long before books like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus made it big on the talk shows. Its big asset is that it explains the inexplicable aspects of men's behavior, of which, as any female person knows, there are many. It also lets men off the hook: if men do bizarre things because they are aliens (which is to say, because they are men), then bizarre behavior is part of their nature, they can't help it, and any attempt to change them is just so much nagging.

The bad news is that humanity and the planet we live on are in big trouble because of this inexplicable behavior, and, worse, women aren't immune to it. The good news is that this behavior isn't inexplicable at all.

More later: Rhodry wants to go for a walk.


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