Part 102: Difficult Women

difficult women

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 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.


29 thoughts on “Part 102: Difficult Women

  1. Golden Serval says:

    You bring up a great point, yes it is correct that once you are with a man something almost ‘clicks’ and you are changed. You are less likely to devote time to creativity and time for yourself. I am married to the only one man that I have been in my life, and yes when I did start dating him, I felt that feeling as well. But I fixed it, I realized what I wanted and what I wasn’t getting. I changed the way I view the situation and I changed the way I act. This in turn led to a less boring relationship, because when I am able to create and foster my writing,I come to him with new energy and its like the honeymoon period all over again. I am difficult on many levels, and I think majority of the men would not deal with me, especially beta men who lack the necessarily energy and aggression. But my husband is truly special, and with him I feel as free as I ever felt. Our relationship is based on freedom and mutual respect, we go where the wind takes us, we are highly unconventional. 🙂

  2. socratezonline says:

    Sounds to me like you just need to get over yourself. You want a man’s perspective? You’re attracting the wrong kind of guys, but even the perfect man can’t fix your internal struggles; all those pretentious pleasures are temporary. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with difficult women. It’s the only kind that sparks my interest, but they’re such a pain in the ass. Thank you for being there though; your breed is always very educational. That is, for men who aren’t afraid to face their fears.

    • elfinkate says:

      I definitely *don’t* want a man’s perspective. I think there are enough if those in the world, thanks. Well done in the ‘pretentious pleasures’ alliteration though. Top marks.

      • socratezonline says:

        You illustrate your problem in that comment perfectly. Take a meditation course and start listening to your body instead of your mind. Then you don’t have to take it from ‘another lowly masculine creature’, but from the source deep within you.

      • elfinkate says:

        My ‘problem’?!

        I am an award winning writer and a successful emerging academic, I am solvent, stylish, beautiful and strong. I have friends and family who love me. There are men who masturbate about me so they can fall asleep – although, unfortunately few of them are men I would sleep with (again). My problems are minimal, despite your – erm, ‘well placed’ (?) – concern. This is a comic blog. Hence the ‘humour’ tags on every post. Are you American? Is this why you have overlooked the satirical nature of the content?

  3. socratezonline says:

    I’m not American, but you are quite a caricature of yourself. I have no idea what you look like, but I can see it’s written on your forehead; a three-letter word that starts with an E, and, in your case, written exclusively in capitals. And yes, I’m quite aware of the nature of this blog, but humor – especially for intellectuals – is a way to cope with reality. So you can’t use that as an argument to dismiss the heart of the matter that drives you to write about these subjects. The fact that you react so defensively to a simple comment only confirms that I’ve inadvertently hit a nerve. Not my intention, but then again, how you interpret me is entirely up to you.

    • elfinkate says:

      Okay ‘Socratez’. Yes I do have EAT on my forehead, well done. Today it has been non-stop Chinese food and chocolate. Paid for by other people, thank God. YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN I KNOW MYSELF> WHAT CAN I SAY I AM MASSIVELY UNDER-CONFIDENT – and need, obviously, validation from men ‘intellectual’ *and* streetwise enough to spell Socrates with a ‘Z’. I do need to get laid though. And sounds like you might too. Perhaps we should hook up?

    • elfinkate says:

      That last sentence was all jokes, obvs. I don’t sleep with men I’ve met online. Or men with beards. Or men who try to psychoanalyse me (I pay a professional for that, and he’s struggling).

      • socratezonline says:

        Yea you must be quite a challenge for him. Will you grant him a proper testimony if he ever figures you out? And don’t worry – I don’t think you’re my type, although I could probably appreciate your over-complicated personality. Hence why I started this little discussion; there’s a subtle compliment underlying my slightly provocative comments.

    • Nathan says:

      What a dick head. Who’s got the time to argue with someone about something they don’t have to read. Leave the poor girl alone and go and read some comic books or something. Or masturbate over the thought of an ex-lover to send yourself to sleep. It does work.

  4. msmarmite says:

    God, this guy is a twat. And yeah, I thought he might be American too (it was the earnestness and the confusion of self-deprecating humour with low-esteem, yawn). I really wish people would stop taking everything so seriously all the time. Personally, this post made me chuckle like a motherfucker. And it’s way better to be difficult than to be boring. You can stick your 2.4 children, daily casseroles at 6 pm and white picket fences where the sun don’t shine.

  5. rew says:

    I assume it’s ‘ego’, a low blow and since descartes it’s a useless term, sorry socrates. I don’t really care for what he’s saying, it’s reinforcing a whole load of thought that only functions to limit our ways of expression. Blogs are probably egoistic but for me that’s an irrelevant distinction, what you’re doing is fantastic, this is beautiful minor literature. That’s a compliment but I stress that I don’t mean that I have the position to judge, just the feeling that I need to comment.

    There is a subtle compliment underlying that guys comments: that something you’ve said has touched a nerve, shaken a small part of the world. Don’t brush it all off as humor as if that has nothing to do with reality; reality is the interplay of objects. These comments, each fuck we have, each moment of indecision that precedes a decision, are all objects of significance.

    Nathan’s comment is nice but ‘poor girl’ irks me. It’s not disability or femininity at work here but the interplay between these ideas and society that is disabling and patriarchal.

    Also, I masturbate of ex’s, it’s not so bad!! I have a tendency to think that I can’t masturbate and think of a girl unless I’ve slept with her. Thus reproducing a conception of the female body as an idealised temple; perfect, able, erotic, feminine.

    I hope this has been both informative and instructive. Can we have a word that means both ‘instructive’ and ‘seductive’?

  6. Frank Shore says:

    No one should have to put up with a difficult man or woman. Switch the word woman in your blog to man, and see how it sounds to your ears. I like strong, tomboys, not emasculating females whose primary emotion is anger and rage because they have been hurt by the wrong kind of men in the past. You can love selfish, self-centered, narcissistic men to much, but you can’t love kind, selfless, altruistic men too much. Evolution programmed females always fall in love with selfish, self-centered, narcissistic men, and since most females are controlled by their heart, not their head they almost always fall in love with abusive men who hurt them. These are the only men that turn them on and satisfy their sexual needs. Nice guys end up with difficult women, because women who are in touch with their feminine side have little interest in nice guys. So the only females available to nice guys are difficult women, and the only guys available to difficult women are nice guys. “Real” men will have sex with difficult women, but won’t live with them. Difficult women are seldom happy, and nice guys bear the brunt of their unhappiness.

  7. Frank Shore says:

    In a marriage both partners should give 100%. Marriage should be 100-100 relationship, not a 50-50 relationship. The only competition should be each partner trying to do more for the other. Difficult women are selfish. They do not respect their partners. They are unwilling to surrender themselves. They are unable to trust others, and incapable of intimate relationships. They are paranoid. You can never do enough to please them. They always think the worst. They are cynical and focus on the faults of their partner not his strengths or assets. Difficult men and women see the world through crap colored glasses. They magnify the faults other people have, and minimize their own faults. When a pie is cut perfectly in half, their side always looks smaller, and the other side always looks bigger. Difficult people be they men or women are takers. Even when they give, they make the person they give feel to feel bad. Difficult people are emotional sadists, and emotional sadists are difficult people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Loved this, from one difficult woman to another. May I ask for a few titles of the fictions you mentioned?

    • elfinkate says:

      Of course. Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O’Farrell , Fallen Angels, By Tracy Chevalier, all Kate Atkinson’s books, Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – and loads more. But there’s a start ! X

      • some tosser says:

        I read Chris Kraus’ I Love Dick which i found a fantastic ‘story’ about women in the art world and academia. Highly recommend. I will look into a couple of these, thank you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    And she completely ignore franks words. Those problems with difficult women are on the surface and obvious yet these award winning, (third grade certificates) educated people (women) can never think there way out of the simple boxes in life.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love difficult women. They are always more rewarding when you get to know them. And also, most so called ‘difficult women’ aren’t as bad as they view themselves. Most of it is in their heads and in the way they give…

  11. givemeabreak says:

    any man who tells a strong woman to get over herself doesn’t have a clue. about himself or women. it is difficult to be a difficult woman. and from a nonbiased perspective, I do believe you may be projecting.

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