So far, i have been pretty upbeat about reactions to my news. Time and time again, i have been surprised, delighted by the reactions of friends.

On the other hand, most of those friends have been women – and i guess that one thing that i know very well now is that over the years i have found female company easy, pleasant and desirable, male company difficult, prickly and something i am ill at ease with.

i thought this after church at the weekend: how again, most of the women i knew at church – and several i didn’t – had come forward to offer support and good wishes. At the same time, i have started to notice something subtly different about the response from blokes.

Not just out in the street. andrea has already commented how i seem to evoke a lot of quite rude glances from men. Not that women are wholly polite: just mostly so.

There’s the stare. The double take. The rapid scan from top to bottom and back to top again: a sort of “does not compute” bewilderment.

Too, there is the slightly ironic hostility: men who whistle as i pass. i can’t imagine, for one second, that i am attractive to them. Certainly they are not attractive to me. So i must conclude that they are taking the piss. i shrug. So long as they aren’t following me in the dark, i don’t mind too much.

And there’s another place where my perspective of blokes is shifting, changing. Once or twice now i’ve found myself taking a different route or going somewhere different, because i don’t KNOW that someone is following me. But the suspicion, allied to a natural sense of self-preservation is enough.

Otherwise, there is an awkwardness that i am starting to recognise as pretty much standard. women are content to accept and be nice. men do a lot of looking away.

maybe they are pretending i don’t exist: i constitute a reality they would rather not think about. perhaps women see me as joining their team…whilst men worry that whatever i have may be catching.

strange. i have no idea why this should be so.



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