My writing group doesn’t always tell me what I’m doing wrong. In fact, just the other day, Kris said, “You know more about women than I do.”

Which is quite a compliment. Kris writes about women. Oh, and she is one.

I think she was employing overstatement, but it still felt good to hear. I have been told before, though, that I write credible female characters. Why would that be?

If you believe in such things, it could be in the stars. I was born with the sun in Cancer, the most unfortunate name in the zodiac. Scorpio. Sagittarius. Virgo. Cancer. Ugh. Ophiucus is better. Even Uranus, which isn’t a sign, but was still available when the signs were getting their names.

Cancer is associated with domesticity and family. It’s also a so-called feminine sign and a water sign, which signifies being more likely to fill a vessel than to be one.

Add to the equation that my numerological “life number” is 2, a feminine digit associated with partnership. Plus, I was born in a Year of the Pig. Or, if you don’t like the connotation, Boar. Like that’s an improvement. Either way, it’s a yin, or female, sign, an “excellent year to marry and have children,” according to the Universal Psychic Guild.

No one believes me when I tell them all this. My rising sign is Aries, so people think I come on like a tough guy. Plus, Cancers have a cantankerous side. With our shells, we’re kind of like those hard candies that have gooey stuff in the center, only grumpy and brandishing pinchers.

If you don’t give such things much credence, I will say I grew up in a traditional 1960s-style family with a mom who stayed home and two sisters. Both of my grandmas lived nearby and I visited them often. Every teacher I had until middle school was a woman.

My first job after high school was as a teller at a savings and loan. I was the only male teller in the company—and maybe even in the city of 100,000 people where I lived. Believe me, the opportunity to hang around women in their early twenties every day will motivate an eighteen-year-old dude to get to work on time just as much as the $3.10-per-hour paycheck.

In college, I worked for a female yearbook editor and some of the people who had the biggest influence on my writing style when I was a journalist were women.

I also stayed home with our infant daughter for three years and have been married to the same woman for twenty-eight.

So I would hope I’d know something about women. Probably not more than Kris, but I appreciate the sentiment.

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