The other day I was talking to my coworker Pat as she fiddled through a bunch of photographs from the latest pet festival, wherein a bunch of pet owners get together and they have competitions for fastest dog and cutest doggie costume (as well as competitions for cats, but I can’t imagine what those might be… most snobby furball?). I noticed something as she was thumbing through them: 9 out of ever 10 pictures included a woman, very rarely a woman with a husband in tow.
I asked Pat how the gender disparity at these shows ran. She said that it was probably 30% families, 60% unaccompanied women, 10% unaccompanied guys. I asked how many of the women had husbands that decided to stay at home and watch the football game, she said relatively few. I asked how single men and single women stacked up at these things, pretty sure of the answer.
One of the great mysteries of life finally has an answer! Most of my life I have been in social situations where the number of single guys far, far outstrips the number of single women. If you go to an anime convention or anything involving computers, single women are at a premium. I’ve joked before that if my daughter has trouble finding a boyfriend I would point her the way to an anime convention or I would keep her as far away from the convention as possible, depending on my disposition. As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re a girl at an anime convention, the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
For much of my adult life, going back to when I was single and it mattered a great deal, I’ve wondered what the female equivalent to an anime convention is. Gender disparities run deep at things like PTA meetings and yoga doozits, but those are stuffed full of married women. Even churches are often almost as bereft of young, single women as they are of young, single men.
And now, years too late, I’ve finally found one! Pet shows! Pet festivals! Anything that involves dressing pets in costumes! I should have thought of this before. My ex-girlfriend Julie was a professional dog trainer and she had almost entirely female coworkers. I guess I didn’t know that these pet festivals existed. Then again, not having a pet of my own I probably wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of it anyway. That is, of course, the catch. Always a catch.
I suppose that had I been insistent I could have gotten a pet and gone to pet shows. In honesty one of the reasons I never got a pet was that I didn’t want to cut off any potential romantic opportunities. It paid off because taking one to Deseret and then here would have been a challenge. It could have opened more doors than it closed at least as far as that was concerned. But which doors?
The idea of getting romantically involved in a pet-fanatic is frankly a little off-putting. I don’t mean someone that has pets (I like dogs and can put up with cats), but the kind of person that dressed them up in silly costumes. There are a whole lot of negative stereotypes there and not all of them unearned. Julie was something of a pet fanatic, but I’m not sure if she is exactly the norm (and she had issues all her own).
The idea occurred to me that that’s surely one of the issues at play with anime conventions. I never got the sense that it bothered potential romantic partners that I watched anime from time to time, though I was careful not to mention the conventioneering aspect of it. If I was a young single woman, I could see having the same concerns for anime people that I seem to regarding pet fanatics. Even if the numbers run in your favor, there is a certain odd feeling about who would go to those shows.
According to Pat, most of the women that go to these things are in their late twenties and early thirties. There are many that guys should stay away from, but a lot that she figures would be good wife material. On a sidenote, chances are a little better than even that Pat is a lesbian, so she may have put more thought into these things than the average woman might. On the other hand, if she is a lesbian, her criteria are a bit different. I specially asked about lesbianism (the fact that half the men that show up are gay came up, so I had an opening) and she said very few were lesbians.
Then again, there’s something pretty desperate about getting a pet for the sake of going to these things and something unfair to the pet besides. Though for someone like me that always wanted a pet but didn’t get one, it might not have been the worst idea.
In any case, I can already hear the crows from the likes of Roissy and his followers about how the women that attend these things are rejects. The quotient of rejects likely is pretty high, but they are at least with-it enough to be able to take care of an animal and selfless enough to devote themselves to doing so. A little odd, maybe, but it at least provides a window into why women are ill-at-ease about a certain portion of the male community that is disproportionately stocked with rejects.