I pulled into the parking lot at BestBuy. It’s a tight squeeze and i was pulling into a parking lot as the driver in Mercedes SUV threw his door open, into me; i put on the breaks but already the door has made impact. Given the SUV, the only damage is on my car. There’s a couple in the Mercedes. The driver jumps out and starts yelling at me. I’m totally taken aback, shaking. The passenger gets out and pushes away the driver after i already yell back that i’m calling the cops. The passenger and i talk, i give over driver’s license info and we exchange insurance info. I can’t fully guarantee what happened. I remember seeing the door opening as i pulled in to the space, not as it being opened. But alas, all damage to me; none to Mercedes. I decide not to deal with it, given that the only reason that my car doesn’t have any dents on it is because it has all new exterior panels from a multi-car collision a year ago (heavy raining + over-egotistical SUV going 75 down 101). But i was still all shaken up, not by the bullshit SUV, but because of the asshole SUV driver.
As i was chewing on what really bothered me, i realized how ill-equipped i am to handle masculine anger in a state of nerves. I’ve managed to acquire a lot of masculine traits over the years, in part as a coping mechanism. But i’ve never been able to master masculinity when i’m torn to shreds emotionally. All of my deep-seated femininity comes to the surface. For some, it’s so bloody natural – that masculine survival technique of absolute anger and dominance in the state of panic. I turn into a mushy ball of OMG what happened?!?!? Masculine anger allows all the blame to be externalized, while the feminine OMG internalizes everything. No doubt the driver spent the rest of the day damning me for being in the way, even though the SUV suffered no harm.
I’m often reminded that my femininity gets me a lot of attention, even in the working world. I’m not going to dispute this, but i do know that my lack of complete masculine coping mechanisms means that i’m never prepared to handle the privilege that i’m afforded. That said, i’m not sure that i want to even acquire all of the masculine coping tools. I don’t know.. it feels so confusing.
[Note: i’m addressing traits in a masculine/feminine form based on the gender performance with which they’re associated. One of the big misnomers about gender performance is that it is linked to sex. Masculine anger may be embodied by a male individual, but it may also be embodied by a female individual. Culturally, we are taught to follow male/masculine and female/feminine sex/gender role models. But this is not universally built into us, nor something that all of us can comfortably learn to do.]