Friday, October 19, 2018

Is She a He or Is He a She?

You might not believe it, but the Ask Polly advice column has its fans. There are people out there who take Polly’s advice seriously. Some of them, like this week’s letter writer, believe that her advice has changed their lives.

The letter writer, dubbed Unwillingly Obsessed, writes about a romantic problem, something about unrequited love. Polly is anything but sympathetic to the circumstances, which seem more suited to adolescence than to someone who is working at a real job.As it happens, Polly has nothing of interest to say, aside from offering up her usual helping of emotional drool. I will spare you the pain of reading it. I read it so you don't have to. Show some gratitude.

I quote the letter for another reason. As sometimes happens with today’s millennial generation, its members disguise their gender. You would think, from a couple of references in this letter, that the letter writer is a male. And yet, if UO is a man he writes and sounds like a woman. He or she is in love with a woman who had a boyfriend. He or she believes that the woman who had a boyfriend is attracted to UO. It turns out not to be the case. Obviously, it matters whether UO is male or female. Or, it ought to matter.

The problem might be immaturity, as Polly suggests. But it might also be a case of gender confusion and a refusal to consider the ramifications-- for the woman who is the object of UO’s unrequited lust-- of having a relationship with a woman. Duh?

Anyway, here is the letter:

I love your writing and your outlook on life. Your book has changed my life for the better. But right now I need your unique brand of tough love because nothing else seems to be working.

I ended a two-and-a-half-year relationship at the start of this year. I loved my partner deeply, but she had issues with alcohol, rage, and jealousy. The previous year I had lost a friend to suicide, and instead of seeking comfort in my partner, I became withdrawn and stopped communicating effectively. I accept that this was wrong, but I also accept that my partner failed to support me, instead becoming paranoid and repeatedly accusing me of not loving her and having affairs. When my partner moved out, I felt a tremendous sense of relief but also enormously sad, broken, and alone.

Evidently, the word “partner” is gender neutered. But, why call a girlfriend a partner, if not to signal that the letter writer is female? Then again, today’s woke males might also adopt the same stylistic quirk.

This letter is about another woman. She was a colleague of mine, though she left my office shortly after my breakup. On learning that I was single, she broke up with her boyfriend and began texting me constantly. I was conflicted because I was very attracted to this person but I also did not want to dive into another relationship. We stayed in touch, went on a couple of dates over a few weeks, and one night we kissed briefly before going home. She told me that night that she had wanted me since the day we met and had fantasized a long time about us being together. Then at 2 a.m. that night, she texted me saying that it wasn’t the right time for her, as her ex was back in town. I was devastated, and I beat myself up repeatedly for not being more decisive early on. But I took her at her word, decided to give her space, and thought if she was serious, she would come back to me. A couple of months later, she got in touch. She told me about all the trouble she had with her ex and her new job. We had a great night out, and I lifted her spirits a little. We went out again, and I asked her where we were, to which she replied completely nonchalantly, “Oh, I’m seeing someone.” I have since learned from other sources that she has been seeing one of my current colleagues for months and they are now living together.

So this woman has clearly displayed dishonesty and a lack of empathy, as well as perhaps some rash decision-making. But the thing is, I still can’t stop thinking about her. I tell myself that I wasn’t ready. That I was hurting from my breakup and my friend’s death. That I’ve learned so much about myself from these months of being single. That she doesn’t display the qualities that I want in a partner. That I’m a great person and there are plenty of other amazing women out there.

But I can’t let her go. I wish I was the one living with her. I keep thinking if only I had of done things differently, or if only this other guy wasn’t on the scene, everything would be great. I know these thoughts are unhelpful, and I hate wasting my energy on this person. What can I do to get my life back?

Unwillingly Obsessed

Strangely, the woman she is obsessing about once confessed that she was attracted to UO. Does that mean that UO is a man or a woman? It could have been either. Perhaps she does not know. I suspect that a woman would be more likely to admit to an attraction to a woman than to a man. In order to seem to be woke.

Her problem is not just immaturity. It’s gender confusion. She might not know which she is. She has no sense of male and female roles. She has written it all into an emotional morass and does not know how to get herself out of it. Then again, what if she is really a he. What if he is pining away for a woman who is rejecting him? How many men do you know who are whining about a partner’s lack of empathy?

So, the question is: Is Unwillingly Obsessed a male or a female?


Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

Reality-based Progloscience:

A person with 50% black African heritage is black, but a person with 100% X chromosomes is a man. Cool.

Sam L. said...

Well, I guess it's time for "I don't know, and I don't care".

whitney said...

Female. And it's not just the style of the letter which is clearly female it's How the Other Woman acted. If she were dealing with a man she would have reigned in the crazy a little bit and she didn't. Lesbian relationships have to be hell