The Scariest Chick on Two Feet
Notice I changed my banner on this blog. I replaced the slanted view of my living room with a pinky-orange fishnet placard that matches my Channillo.com short story series, “A Run in My Tights.” I also wanted to upgrade more from a middle grade to a “new adult” feel. More significantly, I changed the tagline from “Living Ironically” to:
“Chick With An Attitude.”
Time to own-up. At a recent GLVWG writer’s conference, I noticed a pattern.
Hint #1: As I explained my projects to a prominent branding consultant, she said to me, “You’re a handful aren’t you? I could tell from the questions you asked during the session.” Frankly, I felt like Little Miss Closed-Mouth at the session.
Hint #2: In a panel of literary agents/publishers, one of them said A) Barnes & Noble will likely no longer be around in 10 years, and B) print book sales are on the rise. I asked him, “So how do you reconcile that statement about increases in print sales with the fact that Barnes & Noble is going out of business?”
The crowd laughed. Like I caught him in a lie or something. I felt bad.
Honestly, I just wanted to know whether print books actually were back on the rise. (Note: He confirmed print sales are rising; Barnes & Noble’s predicted demise is a separate issue relative to its business model. Note: I apologized to him at lunch the next day.)
Hint #3: A volunteer from GLVWG read two pages of my waitress novel aloud during a critique session. In the scene, the inexperienced waitress is grilled by a potential employer. The session-reader caught me afterward. “Grrr,” she said, “I wanted to hear more of you in that story. I wanted her tell that guy off!”
More of me? I don’t remember telling anyone off at this or any other event. However, I’m realizing that even in environments where I feel like Bashful the Dwarf, compared to the rest of the world, I’m a freaking steam roller.
Here’s the biggest tell-tale sign. Before starting the waitress story, I perused a stack of journals from my youth, and I noticed a distinct recurring theme:
. 1981: “Bobby says I have an attitude…”
. 1983: “PJ says I have an attitude.”
. 1987: “Danny thinks I have an attitude…”
. 1988: “Mike says I have an attitude, and I think he’s right.”
One other guy from this time frame—maybe a bit more of an intellectual problem-solver than the others—would calmly turn to me when I got uppity and say:
These were all formidable guys—the only type even remotely equipped to deal with me, apparently. Bobby was captain of the football team and drove a truck the relative size of Utah. PJ was a good-ole’ frat brother and avid Steelers fan. Danny was an Irish tough-guy from Queens. Mike was a law student who rode a motorcycle.
And the outright kicker?
One of the above guys, who lists counter-terrorism and military intelligence as professional interests on his LinkedIn page, broke up with me because he said I was “intimidating.”
Time to own up. I must be the scariest b-tch on the planet.
I suppose this is how I am able to thrive as a short-statured woman in an industry dominated by men. Large men. ADD/genius, entrepreneurial, C-level men. In the technology space.
Sometimes I wonder if I have any business hanging around with all these nice people in Pennsylvania. I fear that before long, someone will ask me to pack up and go back to New York.
Until that time comes, I’m going to take the advice of the above branding expert during our consultation (thanks SuzyQ). Just as I braced to be chastised for being too in-your-face, she said to me:
“No. I want you to run with this.”
So there you have it. I’ll embrace The Attitude. I’ll forgive myself for the journal episodes where more than one of these guys literally ran from me, sprinting up the cold cement steps of my basement apartment, while early-twenties Suzanne yelled things after them.
If I can’t get away from it, I might as well settle in.
I hope being The Scary Chick turns out to be marketable.
Aside: Note my flash fiction piece, Ex-smokers, which seems to pick up on this pattern….