Men

I need a man. Well, several actually. It’s not what you think, although sex every now and again would be nice if I could remember what to do. No, I need a man because I’m running out of males to draw upon for characters in my novels. Not that I take someone and immortalize them in print; I like to take traits, gestures, habits, speech etc and shape them into a character and I’ve used up all the ones I’m familiar with.

I started my first novel 12 years ago and had a bank of male friends and work colleagues to draw upon. My second novel, started 4 years ago was set in Nepal at the time I was working there for VSO so I had a lot of characters from work and the community to draw upon. This new novel is set in Scotland today and I’ve realized as I try to create my characters that since moving to Scotland 10 years ago I’ve met very few men. And if you take away the alcoholics and drug users I used to work with, the number is even less. I’m experiencing a retirement in splendid isolation when it comes to males. The clubs and groups I joined are predominantly female and of those who are married or in relationships I’ve never met their men apart from casual introductions. So why is this now a problem?

I suppose it’s because my interactions and understandings are going stale; I’m lacking contact with flesh and blood and don’t really know what to do about it. I can hardly ask friends if I can ‘borrow’ their blokes, or ask the workmen who do various jobs for me what their emotional weaknesses are. Most of the guys I used to know, apart from the gay ones, took a long time before they opened up and discussed their feelings and I if don’t have the contact, I can hardly have the time to cultivate relationships.

I guess I’ll just have to live a virtual life through books and the internet.

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2 thoughts on “Men

  1. Asking honestly, is it ineffective to borrow ‘traits, gestures, habits, speech etc’ from women you know and apply them to male characters? There are obvious sensitivities and biases that wouldn’t translate appropriately, but I doubt very much that you would find none of those traits or habits overlapping in male and female characters you’ve previously written.
    I work predominately with women and I feel I have the average amount of masculine features the average guy has, yet I can see similarities in thinking and turn of phrase at least in some senses between all of them and myself.
    Just a thought… 🙂

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