Most of all, I miss men who value and are attracted to the intelligence of a woman. I had so many male friends back then. If one had to leave for class, there were 10 more who might walk in the door. I had plenty of options, and each friend had a special talent or skill that intrigued me. They were all solid individuals that each shone with incredibly bright lights. Every so often, something would happen that would remind me I was a female, but most of the time, I was included as a genderless equal. It’s hard to explain. Yes, we were men and women, but we were also academics. Our gender didn’t matter as much as our minds. Our ideas freely flowed without our genitals making a difference.
As I’ve aged, gender has become an incredible force to be reckoned with. I first knocked into it in the workplace as a young woman. Then, it became more obvious in my friendships. As time went on, lines got drawn. Males separated into one group, and females went into the other. Couples formed, marriages happened, and more lines were drawn. Then came the kids — the fully-formed Families. I wouldn’t even call them lines now. They’re walls. Big, ugly walls with no handholds.