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Gaby Doman: Notes to self on getting older

Our globetrotting writer reflects on a modern woman’s life

Tabloid on Saturday

I don’t know if I’ve just spent too much time working alone or if I’m just getting older and more irritating, but I’ve come to realise that I’m quite a contrary person which, now I’ve noticed it, annoys even me.

Nobody else has ever pointed it out, but surely I can’t be the only one to notice that I disagree with virtually everything people say. Not on a large scale — I do anything to avoid arguments, but on a low level, I tend to enjoy being a bit controversial. I don’t like the same TV shows, the same outfits, the same bars. I often find myself wrinkling my nose up and saying “no, it’s not really my thing”. Really annoying.

I wonder if it’s this tendency to contrariness that has born my new hobby; scaring men. I noticed recently that there’s nothing I like more than telling guys I love weight lifting. I think it’s the main thing that motivates me to get to the gym and lift things up, actually. I really enjoy how much it troubles men. Mainly because I find it ridiculous that people are so intimidated and — dare I say it — emasculated by women who are strong. I’ve put off many a man who’s innocently wandered over for a chat or to hit on me. By the time I’m done with them, they’re definitely not interested.

I even lied to a guy a few weeks ago (this was really fun). I wasn’t interested in him at all, but he was chatting me up. I told him of my love for weights and he said “well, you look great. You don’t want to get big and bulky.” I replied, with an ultra serious face, “I probably want to be bigger than most women.”

He backed away. I was pleased and amused. My friend and I even came up with some similar lines I could use in future, such as “yeah, I’m following the same workout and diet as The Rock” and “I really want to get big and vein-y, you know?”

But I even do my routine on guys I really like. I went to see The Playboy, my part time boyfriend who moved from Bangkok to Phangan, last week and I went on for 20 minutes or so about my love for heavy stuff. I also threw in a few comments about how many eggs I get through a week (dozens — I eat them all the time) and how I’m training to be a Crossfit athlete.

His eyes widened and the inevitable questions and warnings followed. “Don’t get too big.” “How much can you lift up?.” “Yoga would be better for you”, etc. I enjoyed his panic, and even tried to wind him up a bit more by throwing in the odd comment about how I could probably bench press him (he’s really quite small).

It’s almost as if I’ve subconsciously given up on the idea of putting across my “best self” to impress a boy and instead, I’m putting across my most irritating, almost confrontational side to see if they pass the test. Not scared? You pass. Or, if I’m playing at being a pop psychologist, perhaps I’ve accepted I’ll probably be single for a very long time, and if I make myself come across as unattractive as possible, then it almost seems as if the decision to be single was mine and not, in fact, because I’m just NOT very appealing to men as a serious dating option. Although, I think that’s too much of a depressing thought to contemplate too much right now.