I met a woman recently at a gallery opening in the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs. She was beautiful, smart and charming. Yet I know absolutely nothing about her … just the way she wanted it.
You’ve probably seen women like her in social gatherings and not been able to distinguish her from any of the other guests around. She’s probably beautiful, stylish and very engaging. Women like that are often moneyed, elite and privileged. They can also be eye-candy, attention-getting and spontaneous. But unless you’re really observant, you’d never know what they are really like because you could never get an honest emotion out of them even if their life depended on it.
They’ll make you a master of the monologue and pretend to care because that way they don’t have to talk about themselves. It’s the perfect protective diversion away from anything that even remotely resembles an honest probe into their lives, their feelings, their emotions and their opinions.
These women have mastered the art of the façade and mixed signals. Whether it’s in films, the arts, politics or business, these women have an image to uphold and a façade to hide behind. They’re in your church, your school and at work. They may have even ‘friended’ you on Facebook. But they collect friends like trophies and don’t know the true meaning of the word.
Women fascinate me. Always have…probably always will. As a writer, it’s great fun to create a new female character especially if she is a protagonist in one of my novels. They can cover a gantlet of emotions and, Myers-Briggs aside; provide a rich tapestry on which to paint my story.
But one kind of woman, more than any other, has always mystified and confused me. It’s the woman with no pulse. I can never tell what brings on this fear of self-disclosure. Is it low self-esteem or are they just ‘emotionally unavailable?’
It’s quite a feat for these women to do that for most of their lives. Yet I know several folks, especially women who have, for the most part, succeeded quite admirably in doing just that. For them, sharing emotions and true feelings is far too dangerous a thing to do. Their conversations always remain superficial and always directed toward the other person.
With that in mind, I broached the subject of communication in my novel “Love in the A Shau” when the dorm mother is talking to my protagonist, Colleen, about her relationship with Daniel. Colleen is fearful of opening herself up to Daniel for fear of rejection or judgment on his part. The dorm mother reminds Colleen:
“Remember that the only way to achieve true intimacy with another person is to be open and vulnerable.” Then she goes on to explain that without intimacy, their relationship is all very surface and safe and really just a façade to hide behind.
Of course, to research this mysterious phenomena between the sexes I simply googled it. Not surprisingly there was a plethora of articles covering many different aspects of communication between men and women. One of the more poignant was from John M. Grohol, Psy.D. who wrote an article entitled: “Ten Reasons Why You Can’t Say How you Feel.”
In a way, I feel sorry for those folks with ice in their veins and an empty stove for a heart.
If I thought it would matter, I’d like to tell them: “Oh, come on, have a heart.”
Life is so much nicer that way.