“Men take up too much space.”

Posted: January 19, 2009 in Uncategorized

“Ask any lesbian. Men take up too much space.” A. had said this before. I had noticed this myself after I started gender shifting. I noticed it in straight dance clubs. I would be talking to a girl friend and some guy would come in and dominate the conversation or try to push me out in some way. There always seemed to be some drunk guy bumping into me or coming on to whatever girl was dancing next to me.
I became aware of the space men took up when I started gender shifting. For some reason I became accutely aware of default male behaviors. But, I had always thought of this space-taking as a straight thing. On one night last week I went dancing again at a gay club. It was in femme, so the gay guys were not cruising me. The interesting thing was that the guys were still invading my space while I was dancing. Over and over some guy would start backing into me. I felt like I had to push back to maintain my space. That is when the a-ha moment came. These gay men were behaving a lot like straight men.
I had come early to the danceclub. I was there at ten while the floor was still not crowded. I was happily dancing away as the floor became more crowded. Suddenly, there was no space and some guy kept backing into me. If I gave ground he kept coming. I moved and some other guy started. It was wierd. It is like some male way of dealing with crowded space. Just claim more space. Is it the testosterone, or is it social conditioning?

  1. julian says:

    Oh please, testosterone? It’s allll social conditioning.

  2. Jasper Gregory says:

    How can you know that Julian? I would love to believe that it is all conditioning.
    Two things that make me open to a biological explanation of some gender behavior are:
    1) Gendered behavior in mammals
    2) The self-described effects of testosterone on transitioning FTM’s

  3. autoerotic says:

    I think it’s both. I know what you mean about being on the dance floor and men ‘claiming’ space by bumping what is around them. Isn’t it a form of physical ‘territorial pissing’. I don’t have a lot of interest in men who have no ability to be sensitive to space around them. It is a sure mark of someone who is spiritually / psi unevolved, but not to get negative or anything. It’s just that in that state, there isn’t much else one can do but bump into things, then bump again etc… If I get stuck in a place like that I just dance / gravitate in another direction, but as you said, if there’s lots of these male ‘dancin’ fools’ on the floor… what can you do? Grab someone and slow dance! I think it’s cool you are questioning these things and putting them up for debate… thx

  4. Denis says:

    Jasper, I’ve been really enjoying this blog. I wish I had a couple of days’ worth of time to just go through every word of it.

    Here’s a twist for you. I am 5’4″ tall, short by any standards. I find that just about everyone taller than me invades my space, people of all genders and all sexual orientations. To straight women, I am invisible, even when in the most mainstream male attire imaginable. For the most part, they seem to only like tall guys. To straight men, I am worse than invisible…I am a pest in some situations, an oddity in others. In either case, I am nonthreatening as all get out.

    I think the way people claim space is terribly complex, and gender identity is just one facet of the dynamics that go into any situation.

  5. Jasper Gregory says:

    Denis, thanks for your input.
    I have been thinking about how men contest one another’s masculinity. It is part of how masculinity is policed. My height 6’2″ gives me a privilege that I rarely examine. Somehow, shortness is stigmatized as unmasculine.
    Your comment about straight women is interesting too. For me it enforces my feeling that straight women help create and police norms of masculinity.
    I agree that how people claim space is terribly complex, I hope you don’t feel that I am reducing everything to gender again. I do, however feel that the combination of gender and sexuality account for a very fundamental identity in American society which influences a social practices.

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