top of page

When She Breaks the Gender Role

I danced around the diners at the college cafeteria and spotted my target. She was cute. And I wanted to ask her to the skate party.

Her eyes widened an inch and her foot moved toward me as I approached.

“Hey,” I said.

“Hello,” she answered, her voice sultry.

I’d repeated the words in my head one dozen times, but here’s how they came out. “Are you going to the skating party?”

“No,” she said. She set a hand on the table, opening her posture.

“Oh.” My arms pulled in tight against my body. “Okay.” I turned and walked away, heartbroken.

My wife said that after I’d turned away, she went back to her room and cried. She’d so hoped I’d ask her to skate. She’d never been and thought it might be fun. And the company had been promising.

After a pretty good cry, she took stock of what she wanted and decided she wasn’t going to let this go so easily. A few days later, I answered my phone, and heard a woman with a sultry voice say, “Hello, Peter. I’m going to need to buy a few things for class. A basket, in particular. Would you like to join me?”

Oh yes.

And now we’re married.

My wife broke gender barriers. But I’m going to argue, along with Michael P. Nichols in his book, “The Lost Art of Listening,” that we focus too much on gender differences.

We love categories. We want so desperately to be a specific gender and a specific Myers— Briggs that many experts say we conform to the type we most identify with the moment we took the test.

In the “Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor, he makes a compelling argument on how easily a person can change their personality.

What does that mean for our characters?

bottom of page