Writing the male point of view. As a woman I cannot know what it is to be a man. I can dress in pants and paint on a mustache but I’m still just a woman in drag. I did manage to fool my great aunt into thinking I was my dad one Halloween but it was dark and that was before I opened my mouth.Being an only child, I had no siblings to fight with. I had no smelly brothers to aggravate, though I did help torture my best friend’s little brother quite often. I was lucky to have an older cousin who lived with us off and on throughout my childhood. He and my dad were really close and often got into trouble with my mom.
I was constantly exposed to men and how they think. My father had his own business when I was a kid. He employed a lot of young people during the summer, mostly guys. I started working for him the summer I was ten. Many of the guys were my childhood friends and treated me as their little sister.
I was the manager for a men’s summer league softball team and for our high school baseball team. I kept score, statistics and provided minor first aid. Many times I was just an ear for the guys to bitch to.
Many of the jobs I’ve worked throughout the years have been predominantly masculine or catered to men: house painter, electrician’s assistant, waitress at a local diner and AFB NCO Club, hardware department of Sears, and the ABC store.
I raised six sons and served as Boy Scout leader and Cub Master. I went primitive camping with my husband and a bunch of Boy Scouts. They had to dig me a latreen. I’ve gone to bed only to wake up to a herd of teenage boys sleeping all over my house.
There have been a lot of men in my life and my house, but being able to really get under the skin and know what makes someone tick takes a lot of research and reconnaissance. The tools I use are simple.
I listen. I eavesdrop on men talking at the hardware store or the cafe where my husband and I frequent. I listen to my husband and his friends, or our sons, talking. I’ve learned a lot about cars and motorcycles and guns from their conversations. But I’ve also caught glimpses of their affection for each other, though it is expressed differently than how they treat me. Tough guys do say I love you. But more often their affection is shown with rough-housing or giving a helping hand. This is usually followed by some smart remark.
I also absorb the way they treat me or talk to me versus how they talk to or treat each other. They are gentle with my feelings even when they tease. I watch their relationships with their friends, spouses/girlfriends and children. My sons treat my husband, father-in-law and each other differently than they do me, their grandmothers or the other women in their lives. It is enlightening to hear the same story as told to me being related to another male. From the amount of information to the type, the word choices and inflection, the story will vary according to the audience. They tend to give me more details with less violence and my husband the highlights with emphasis on the bloodier stuff.
I also like to read books written by a male author. A strong male protagonist written by a man can be very enlightening. I recently listened to Steve Umstead’s Gabriel: Zero Point, I really liked the main character Evan Gabriel but he also wrote great secondary characters who were nearly polar opposites of Gabriel. The unique insight into the male mind through fiction written by men for a predominantly male audience. Other authors such as James Rollins, Clive Cussler and Lee Child, are excellent sources for writing the male point of view.
Movies, sportscasters, television shows geared toward men by men offer more insights into a man’s world. Trust your instincts. Men aren’t an alien species, although some might seem so! And teenage boys smell like it!