know there is no way on earth that I’m alone in my irritation over the phrase “drama queen”. Reserved for women and some gay men, this put-down not only works to belittle anyone who displays any sort of emotion but also identifies anyone who displays this unacceptable behavior as feminine, regardless of gender. So the equation works thusly: emotion is bad, women are emotional, so women are bad, if women are bad then their defining qualities are too, ergo emotions are bad. QED. And so the vicious little circle of woman bashing and emotional repression goes on.
With this in mind, I’d like to share a few experiences I’ve had that neatly explode the idea that emotional outbursts, in both personal and business settings, are reserved for women and gay men. In fact, some of the most egregious examples of whacked out emotion-driven behavior I’ve ever seen have come from avowedly straight men.
I’m sharing this for the sole purpose of getting an unpleasant phrase and stereotype out of the way, not to hassle straight men. But if you’re a straight guy or know one who might benefit from this, please keep reading and pass this on.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve seen men throw some primo hissy fits in both public and private spheres. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The boyfriend who, upon realizing I was breaking up with him, followed my silent-self down the street, hurling invectives and crying. When I got in a cab, he stood in the street and pulled a full Shatner, screaming “Khaaaaaan!” (actually, it was my name) to the heavens. He proceeded to call me at work every day for over a month. Crying.
- The head of my department at Company X who, upon hearing that I had received a promotion (I was one of very few women to do so), was so horrified that he marched right over to the head of HR to tell her that I got the promotion because I was banging the company’s COO. I was not having relations with that man. Amazingly, HR did not feel that it would be wise to terminate my employment. Not one to know when he’s beaten, my boss asked every single person who worked for him to slither to HR and make the same report he did. They did. Still didn’t work. The COO finally caught wind of what was going on (I told him), jogged from his office to my boss’, and emerged approximately one minute later. Two weeks passed. Bye-bye boss.
- The ex-boyfriend who had come to the end of his financial and emotional rope and called to ask me for help. We had parted ways on good terms and I said I’d do what I could. About an hour later, my doorbell rang. I opened my door and get out of the way just in time, as my former paramour had somehow launched his way into my apartment as though from a cannon. Upon impact with the parquet, he began sobbing, dribbling melting snow across my floor, beating his fists on the floor while in the yoga position known as “child’s pose” (yeah, I got that connection at the time), and begged me to save him from the mess his recently departed girlfriend had made of his life. I tried to get the story out of him. It took two hours and several mugs of hot chocolate for me to understand that he had been dumped, had no savings, couldn’t pay rent, and was ready to leave Manhattan but was unclear on whether or not he should. He also contemplated the likelihood of Departed Girlfriend reconciling and going to parts unknown with him. When I said that I thought it improbable, he bolted to his feet in a panic, ran into my living room, and rent his garment. I had never seen the rending of garments in woe. It was weird. A week later he was on his way to parts somewhat known and I was booking a room for myself at Trembling Hills.
In light of the above, I suggest that we either implement the term “Drama King” with the same careless shrug that we do “Drama Queen”, or, use the handily non-gender specific blanket term “pain in the ass”. Let’s face it, whatever your chromosomal makeup may be, most of the time an asshole is just an asshole.