the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

“Write Like the Opposite Sex Day” on Friday

Over the weekend, I mentioned that I was struggling with trying to make one of my female characters believable.  No matter what situation I put her in, she seemed to always be taking off her blouse, rubbing against the male lead, and saying “Take me now, you hot-blooded schmuck.”

When I asked for male writers who can “write women,” you gave me a whole bunch of cool suggestions, from Wally Lamb to Stephen King.  Thanks.

On a somewhat related note, the director Sydney Pollack died at the age of 73.  He was a very classy Hollywood professional, director of such mainstream classics like “Out of Africa.”  He directed my mother’s favorite movie — “The Way We Were.”  Redford?  Streisand?  Is it surprising?  He also director one of my top five movies of all time — “Tootsie.”

In Tootsie, the Dustin Hoffman character dresses like a woman to get a soap opera job, and does such a good job that he/she becomes a star.  It is a very funny movie.

Maybe I need to be a little like Tootsie in order to write like a woman.  BECOME the WOMAN!

In celebration of Sydney Pollack’s work, Friday will be “Write Like the Opposite Sex Day” here on Citizen of the Month.  I will write my blog post as if I were a woman (even more so than I already do), just to have you judge my ability to see my own life as a woman.  On Friday, please also comment on my blog as if you are commenting as the OPPOSITE SEX.  That means, men should be giving me the “hugs” and the women should be making sarcastic, unemotional, unrelated comments.

I will also run a little contest here on Friday.  Write your own post like a member of the opposite sex!  

Can you do it?  Would you write about your day differently if you were a man?  Would you curse more? 

Can a guy find his inner woman?  Would he be all emotional if he was a woman with PMS, crying because he was stuck in traffic?  Can you see yourself as being a member of the opposite sex? 

I will be the judge. Whoever I deem to be most in touch with their masculine or feminine side, will win a prize.  Usually my prizes are zilch.  This time, it will be a brand new DVD of Tootsie!  Hey, so it isn’t a wii.  At least, I’m paying for the damn prize with my own money, you ungrateful…! 

Wait, wait…how would a woman handle this situation?   “I hate you!  But I love you too!  Waaaaaa!  I am having the worst period EVAH!  Oh, did I tell you about my new shoes?!”


  1. Memarie Lane

    “the women should be making sarcastic, unemotional, unrelated comments.”

    Don’t I already do that for the most part?

    So will you have a Linky up or what? What’s the shizzle?

  2. Jonathon

    I understand how you’re feeling. Identifying with other people can be difficult, but I think you’re really brave for working through it.

    OH WAIT, not till Friday.

  3. Neil

    Memarie Lane — You mean you’re a woman?! You’re as sarcastic and unemotional as a man! Linky up? Shizzle? What the hell are you talking about? But whatever you want, I’ll do it. I’m afriad of you now.

    Jonathon — That was perfect. Keep that one for Friday. Make sure you use the word “brave” again.

  4. Dagny

    Maybe after you pretend to be a woman, you can go on a little field trip to the LBC.

    And that last part? Sorry. Just didn’t sound like my mother. It should have been more like, “I know it’s not much but you know they say it’s the thought that counts. And when I was your age, I would have appreciated it so much because we had so little.” And then there’s a bunch of sighing. If it’s really bad there’s the whole childbirth thing.

    Now if you want to go the period route, it’s more like, “You should be damn happy I got you anything. Because I’m bloated like a beached whale. And these cramps? Where is my chocolate?”

  5. Avitable

    This is a brilliant idea. *hugs*

  6. Finn

    I’m in… I already have an idea.

    And I ADORE “Tootsie”!

  7. the slackmistress

    People generally write women as more empathetic and as having a deeper emotional life and men, well, the opposite, which I think is a load of crap.

    Of course, I just wrote a pilot about two nerdy guys who want to touch a girl’s boobs. But they do have an inner emotional life!

  8. 180/360

    You are an idea generator.

  9. rhea

    I guess there’s gonna be a lot of crotch-grabbing in my post.

  10. Mr. Fabulous

    I could have a lot of fun with this…but Friday is my moving day.

    Dude. Tootsie? Top Five?

    We need to talk.

  11. Penelope

    “Would you curse more?”
    I doubt that! Hell, I’ll give it a go!

  12. Neil

    Slackmistress — I agree with you. I think the gender differences might come out more in the public writing persona than in the mental one, where we are more similar than we say.

  13. sa_scully

    You’re on… I’m in. Intriguing idea. Most people I work with say I have bigger balls than the guys around here. I wonder if that will translate into the written word.

  14. mp

    The Pollack thing makes me sad. I kind of always had a wierd crush on him.

    Tootsie had some awesome knockers. I’d hit that.

    One was me as a guy the other as a girl..can you figure out which was which?

  15. cruisin-mom

    Thanks Neil…you reminded me of a post I wrote 2 years ago. Gonna repost it in honor of Sydney Pollack. (I even used the same picture of “Tootsie”).
    Love your contest idea.

  16. melanie


    sighs.. that means I am going to have to rack my brain to write like a man.

    I am thinkin P. J. O’Rourke

  17. churlita

    It’s a great idea. Although, I doubt it’s possible for me to curse more.

  18. tiff

    I will write like Truman Capote.

    Does that count?

  19. Annie

    I may give it a go, if I can remember to do it Friday :-). Can you give us a little reminder on Thursday? And Tiff your comment made me laugh out loud :-).

  20. Jane

    Not meaning to critique your idea, my dear Neil, but stereotypical behaviors and expressions are probably not that involved, outside of some comedy, in the true-to-life expressions of most modern male and female characters. . .they just perpetuate the stereotypes.

    Maybe for your next contest, you could consider blind entries — people writing characters — and then guessing whether the author is male or female. That would go above stereotyped expressions into who really might understand the opposite sex more.

    (Please don’t hate me. I adore you!)

  21. Karl

    Hmm, perhaps I’ll give this a shot. I already admitted that I pee sitting down, though, so I’m not sure how much more of a woman I can be.

  22. better safe than sorry

    i loved tootsie, i always watch even a snippet when it’s on.
    guess you’ll be undergoing a major wax on thursday in preparation of friday? btw, if they ask you if you want a brazilian, keep in mind it’s not a drink.

  23. Kathy

    That means, men should be giving me the “hugs” and the women should be making sarcastic, unemotional, unrelated comments.

    In other words, act no differently than I do now.

  24. schmutzie

    Have you checked out the Gender Genie?

    It judges your writing by the prevalence of feminine and masculine keywords.

  25. Neil

    No, but I will now!

  26. Neil

    Schmutzie — case closed. The Gender Genie said that this post was written by a female!

  27. Kristabella

    Sadly, since I worked in the NFL, this isn’t going to be too hard for me. I had to be “one of the guys” for six years and I did a damn fine job with it.

  28. Jeannette

    So you’re asking us to write male cliche and female cliche, right?
    I think you’re thinking too hard about this “writing a woman character” thing. If she’s the kind of chick that rubs her tits on schmucks than that’s her. I buy it.

  29. TRO

    I’m sorry, if I were a woman I would be in NYC for Fleet Week enjoying myself. No time for writing unless it was in my diary after the trip.

    Actually, if I were a woman I would be a lesbian, but that is another whole story.

  30. brettdl

    “Sarcastic, unemotional, unrelated comments.”

    That really hurts. I’m going to have a good cry now.

  31. Neil

    TRO – I’m thinking you would be a slutty woman.

    Brettdl – You’re a little different. You’re one of those “sensitive” males.

  32. Shamelessly Sassy

    This is the best idea..ever!

  33. Lynda

    Oh, I want to try to write like a guy. I have had a few guys say I was more like a guy than a girl. Of course, this week I am having more of the “I hate you! I love you! waaaaa!” moments. hahahaha!

  34. HRH @ June Cleaver Nirvana

    What do the shoes look like?

  35. brettdl


  36. Cathy

    Okay. I played along.

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