I often read and, up until recently, when an internet addiction destroyed my ability to engage with texts exceeding 600 words, I mainly read the branch of literary fiction that commonly includes a central or supporting character one might define as ‘difficult woman.’ She is usually headstrong, emotionally intense, sexually active and intelligent. She has a career – or else she doesn’t have a career but gets into all sorts of trouble doing exciting things like being a suffragette or refusing to have sex with rich and powerful men or being locked up in secure units of mental health institutions and forced to take cold baths. She is often beautiful and wont to fall in love, but the men she falls in love with are entirely unsuitable or die young or possess the disposition of what we in South East London call ‘wrong ‘uns’. Thus she is rarely married and, if she is, it always ends in disaster.
Once I finish reading these books I’ll pass them over to my mother who, without fail, will call me to discuss the plot and say, ‘I’m really enjoying it.’ And then, also without fail, she’ll mention how much she likes the difficult woman character and say, ‘you know what Kate, she really reminds me of you.’
I hope my mum means this as a compliment, but knowing her I reckon she probably does not. She is speaking truth, which is her thing. My mum really believes I am one of the headstrong, beautiful women who just cannot find a man able to both intellectually stimulate and impregnate her, but who gets through life winning anyway.
And I make my mum right.
I have no qualms in confirming that if my life were a book my character would conform to the difficult woman archetype. I’m intense, emotionally unstable, occasionally sexually active and, as you’ll know, I am sharp as a tack. Like the archetypal DW I excel in drunken flirtation, tearful public confrontation and, as an added bonus, I am very bad at housework. This is why all my favourite male friends are gay and I am no longer on speaking terms with anyone I have ever had sex with.
Having discussed it with another single difficult woman over the weekend I would like to draw your attention to the reasons why we difficult women are prone to single life. As me and my mate decided, after two bottles of red, these reasons are that men can’t handle it – or else they can but then we have to settle for less than we’d wish to or sacrifice the part of ourselves where the fire burns. ‘As soon as I get involved with a guy’ my friend said, ‘that creative part of me shrinks to make room for him.’
There are very few alpha males who are willing to fuel our fabulous by letting us shout at them and cooking us meals and telling us we are unique and wonderful and that they loved us all along, even when they were pretending to be indifferent and callous (difficult women do not fall for betas). Alpha males usually try to change us, so that we might fill the role left void by their mother. We do not fall for that shit. So they find someone who will and continue to fuck us on the side, until the situation becomes untenable for everybody involved.
I would like to remind you that difficult women are extremely capable and very good company. We can drink whisky on the rocks without wincing; we can decorate our own house thank you very much and sort out our own orgasms and yours as well if necessary. We can annihilate authority figures who are rude to us or people in general who refuse to give us exactly what we want.
But we’re not great at getting a second date. I don’t know why. You’d be fucking lucky to have us.
You probably can’t though.
Those are the generic conventions of literary fiction I’m afraid.
Not that this is a fiction. For the most part, I’m totally sincere.
*Image from http://weheartit.com. As ever, contact me if you are the copyright owner and you have beef. As ever, I’d like to remind you that I do not have the finances to make legal action worth your while.