the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

I’m Back to Being a Man

I’m sorry I was such an insecure woman yesterday.  I’ll try to be a better woman next year during “Write Like the Opposite Sex Day.”   A woman that will make you proud.  That you will want to befriend.

Next time, maybe I’ll be Janet, a strong-willed female poet, a single mother living in the South. 

“I come from from Mayflower stock, but there are demons in my past.   I live in a great big ‘ol house that my late father owned.  I loved my father and was heart-broken when he died.  I dote on my son, watching him grow up to be a man.  My best poems are about death.”

Another possibility is Kendra, a fashion model living in Paris.

“I’m very flamboyant.  I’m cold to other women   I’m confident, knowing that I’m idolized by everyone.  I’m knock-out gorgeous and my face is on magazine covers. Even though I’m not supposed to,  I eat pastries.   I have two big secrets — I don’t like people.  Or modeling.” 

 I’d probably be most happy as Angie — a playful, small town waitress in Vermont. 

“Some may say I am a child at heart.  On Fall mornings, I run outside, still in my pajamas, and jump into the colorful leaves, much as I did when I was a tomboy at seven.  I’m plain-looking, but don’t worry about it.  I have a “good personality,:” as my mother would say.  I  have three lovers.  I have sex five times a week.   Last night, I was with Tom, the chef from The Tamarick Cafe.  I loved feeling his calloused hands on my ass as I moaned deeply into his strong manly chest.  In the morning, I drank my coffee, rode him again until I came, and then went to play in the leaves.  If I had more money, life would be perfect.”

On Friday, several of you wrote blog posts “written as the opposite sex.”  They were all funny.  But we all made the same mistake — we reached for stereotypes.   I’m curious if we would have had more realistic results if we just wrote our regular blog posts, then changed a few gender-specific words here and there?   

Are we really that different in the way we write?

And seriously — do women really see men as such gruff horn-dogs?! 

For me, Christine’s post came “closest” to being one actually written by a man.   As the winner of my first real “contest” on “Write Like the Opposite Sex Day,” she wins a DVD of  the movie classic, Tootsie!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Good Humor


  1. cruisin-mom

    “Are we really that different in the way we write?”
    Neil, I’ve never written about my talking penis, but other than that, yeah, we are just the same.

  2. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    Reaching for stereotypes – just another example that we really are different creatures!! Still, very entertaining! JP/deb

  3. Whit

    I bet you didn’t leave yourself alone yesterday.

  4. Nichole/sa_scully

    You know, that’s exactly it. I tried to write my post and it ended up sounding more like an angry me than a man. But I don’t like being angry, so I modified it and posted it anyway. (Having very basic sentence structure here at 0330.) I didn’t want to reach for stereotypes, but I couldn’t think of anything else.

  5. kenju

    “Gruff horn-dogs?”

    Yep, sounds about right to me. LOL

  6. Caitlin

    I was thinking the same thing on Friday with your last post. I’m not sure men and women are necessarily as different as people would think. I mean, there are certain obvious differences, but in general, we all think. We all feel. And a lot of our thoughts and feelings are exactly the same. Sometimes that still surprises me.

  7. Memarie Lane

    “Are we really that different in the way we write?” No, I don’t think so. Not when we’re just being ourselves.

    “And seriously — do women really see men as such gruff horn-dogs?!” Yes, because that’s how men portray themselves to us.

  8. V-Grrrl

    Yawn. This whole experiment didn’t interest me. I don’t know why. I don’t think too much about the whole male-female thing.

    A girlfriend of mine told me she tried on a dress that she really liked but didn’t buy it because she knew her husband wouldn’t like it–she wanted him to be attracted to her in her clothes. I realized that after being with one man for nearly 30 years, I had no clue what type of clothing he found attractive or sexy, whether he liked my hair long or short, if he had any preferences on makeup or sleepwear or any of that.

    The only revelation bigger than realizing I had no idea what my husband liked in a woman is realizing I didn’t care one way or another.

    I don’t know if that makes me wise or stupid but it sure explains a lot.

  9. Kathy

    I tried to write like a man, but never posted any of them as it didn’t sound that much different than my usual posts except talking sports instead of some great new shampoo I discovered (which is bout as girly as I get).

  10. Annie

    I think the reason I did the sterotype thing is because I am lazy and it was easier :-). I liked Christine’s post okay, but it sounded a lot like me, I am the one who wants to slow things down and have alone time, not the guy I date. Maybe I am a guy and I just don’t know it? Except these breasts are a bit too large for a man and I have no penis :-).

  11. Caron

    I’m glad you’re back. I think what you wrote today helped me figure where I got stuck. I thought about attempting the role reversal, but, found it basically came out as a profile. Not a voice. It might be the place to start thinking about a character.

    Kind of like Kendra. No one would ever come right out and tell you they were flamboyant, and cold to others, even though that perfectly describes them. They most likely don’t even recognize these things in themselves. (Unless they’ve been to therapy) But as a writer I could detail how someone with those traits might act and speak.

    Even though I may have made myself a little map for this writing assignment, next time, can I just quilt it?

  12. Stacey

    One of the first blogs I ever had I wrote under a non-gender specific pseudonym. After a few months of blogging I was surprised to find that my readers thought I was a guy.

    I actually tried writing as a man for the first GBBMC (I somehow lost one of the posts, unfortunately). I didn’t do a whole lot differently than usual, except I guess there were several bits about chasing women.

  13. anymommy

    Caron articulated my thoughts on writing interesting characters (female or male). I really had fun with the humor side of writing like a man, I didn’t stretch beyond stereotypes.

    Anyway, that’s it exactly. How do you show that someone is cold or boring or childish with their mannerisms and speech. For example, in the Angie paragraph, if you removed the first and third sentences completely. She still reads as the same type of character and she’s more interesting (at least to me) because she’s not stating character traits.

    A blogcrush? really? aw, shucks. Thanks.

  14. Neil

    Well, the typical writing rule is “show, don’t tell,” so it probably would have been better to tell you what I was wearing than saying I am “flamboyant.”

  15. John

    I don’t know Neil…are you sure you’re not still…confused? : )

  16. ajooja

    I’m already kind of a heterosexual version of the opposite sex anyway. Weird.

    Anyway, I loved the posts AND the photo. Very cool.

  17. Christine

    I’m honored. I really am.

    And Tootsie…teehee. Great prize.

    Like Annie said (but OUCH…just okay?), I was, in my single days, more often the one to want to cool things down. So when I wrote that post, I could totally relate to him/me.

    But I reached for the gender stereotypes in an attempt to be funny. Mostly in that he/me was clueless that the girlfriend wasn’t going to react well to his/my decision to cool things down…that he/me was kind of shallow and self-absorbed in his/my thinking through the relationship.

    Is the his/my thing starting to annoy you like it is me?

    Anyway…thanks again, Neil. I’ll be running to the mailbox daily waiting for Tootsie.

  18. Annie

    Oh Christine, it was better than okay!
    I just meant it did not feel that male to me because it is so me and I am female, though not a very girlie one:-).
    Your post was great, sorry if I made you feel less than :-).

  19. Jane

    Let the penis talk resume. Not that it stopped for long, it only shifted to women who love penises. 😉 Those girls in the yard seem like the type who would moan. And fix you dinner. They don’t look like girls who would know shit about kugel though, so I don’t think they’re really the girls for you, Neilochka.

    V-grrrl (I’m too lazy to scroll back up to see if I got that right) totally made me laugh. 30 years? Well, you must do something right.

    Most men, I think, believe they have preferences. Blonde, big boobs, good cook, etc., but when it comes right down to it they’ll fall in love with the raven haired, flat chested girl who eats out of cans if the sex is good.

    Conversely, women may say they want this or that, but they’ll fall for the guy that makes them feel the most special. Unless, of course, he’s short.

  20. Neil

    Jane — you need to be educated about short men. I have no idea how I became such an advocate, since I’m not short, but I’m 100% behind my brothers, and blowing away the heightest stereotypes of women —

  21. Jane

    I was educated right here on your blog, Neilochka, in that very post.

    You can advocate for hermaphrodites, too, but most women are still going to take a pass. Ditto for cross dressers, midgets, and the entire McDonald’s crew. Some things are just not universally sexy.

    Scratch all of that, though, if the estranged party is rich. Even Gary Coleman found a supermodel to marry. What people won’t do for their page is the National Enquirer.

  22. Jane

    “in” the National Enquirer. You know what I mean. John Goodman also married a supermodel. He wouldn’t have gotten to second base with a lifer at Mickey D’s if he worked for Roto-Rooter.

  23. Neil

    Jane — That’s ridiculous. I would date a woman no matter what her height is.

  24. Jane

    Because your a MAN, Neilochka. Because you don’t care if you feel cute and protected and sheltered by the hunk that stands next to you. Because you don’t wonder if you’ll look awkward wearing you come-do-me shoes. Because you don’t care if your hand is bigger than hers.

    Keep on advocating, but you’ll never make a believer out of anyone but the short guys and the few women who looked below height to find *true love*.

  25. V-Grrrl


    I’m raven haired, flat-chested and the sex is good. How did you know? ; ) Women’s intuition, I guess.

  26. better safe than sorry

    i think it’s kind of ironic how you became an insecure female when you wrote, what does that say about who you are?
    i read a man’s blog for over a year before i even knew he was a guy, i assumed he was a working mommy blogger, he always wrote about his kids or work, i liked his blog because while i thought he was a mommy blogger, there was just something a little bit different, but i never put it down to him being a man.

  27. Neil

    Better Safe — I think it means that despite my fantasies of being a hot glamorous movie star, I would probably be an insecure, neurotic woman. Why should things be any different?

  28. Jane

    V-Grrrl, flat-chested, raven haired women are hot! And I totally dug the post you linked to above. It was sad and real at the same time. I do wish, however, that those sculptors would at least ASK before using me as a model.

  29. Larry who is normally Lynda

    I honestly thought that you would be writing the post as yourself from a woman’s point of view, going through the stuff you are going through. You must have been a short woman though, because I would love to be a size 12. hehe. There are a lot of woman who won’t mention their age and weight. I am not one of those women. Then again, you as a woman, in the social setting you were in, sounded like you would.

    The interesting thing about gender specific changes. I play World of Warcraft, and of course you choose a character that is male or female. I tend to say he/she depending on what the character looks like, at least until I know the person behind the character is a male or female. I play all female characters myself, but a lot of guys play females as well. Anyway, usually people assume I am a guy, which makes me laugh. They tend to be pretty apologetic when they find out otherwise.

    And it isn’t like I am the only woman playing the game!

  30. Lynda

    Ha! And I forgot to change my name back!

    Wanna grab a few beers?

  31. melanie

    Congrats Christine!

    And Neil? For what its worth? That “guy” in my piece was my ex. I swear I lived that life every friday night for about 2 years till I wanted to kill myself.

    So maybe its a stereotype to some people? But it was real life for me.

    for what its worth…

  32. miguelina

    I love that picture collage!

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