It's true! A surprising number of straight women (and a few gay men) seem to have this girl-crush thing going on with me. It's puzzled me for a long time. If I were more butch, I'd kind of understand it, I guess. Or maybe if I were hyper-girlie.
I kind of get the feeling that it's because I seem to embody many qualities that are expressed in manga and anime... like... take Utena for example, from Revolutionary Girl Utena. She's girly, yes, but she's a martial artist and a non-conformist. And she has a creepy girl stalker. Oh, and she spends most of the time with her bride, Anthy. And the gayest of the gay male characters totally want to get into her pants... ahem...
ANYWAY! I guess what I mean is the whole... let me start again. Yaoi, boy-love manga, and yuri, girl-love manga, have become increasingly more popular in recent years, particularly with young girls. Female wrestlers are now idolised by a lot of young japanese girls who used to have crushes on attractive male movie stars. A lot of this, particularly yuri, has to do with the idea that a young girl can express and try out feelings of romantic love in a way that is percieved as more "safe" than with boys, because it can't possibly lead to the same sort of dangerous sex that can make a baby.
More on yuri: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_(term)
In yaoi, and less frequently in yuri, the two partners involved fall into the category of either seme or uke. Loosely translated, it's like top/bottom, with the seme the traditionally butch partner and the uke as the traditionally fem partner.
More on seme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaoi#Seme_and_uke
Now, I'm not exactly the most butch girl out there, but I think I have enough manliness in me that some ladies - particularly young asian ladies - may get that "seme" vibe, and it makes them a little giddy and giggly. Some of you may think it's unfair of me to make those sorts of distinctions, but I think it has to do with subtle cultural cues (and possibly from reading yuri manga). Invariably one of the young asian girls who spends a year doing research in my lab will get a giggly girl crush on me, and get me to open bottles or fetch things from high shelves, and other manly activities like changing the regulators on compressed gas cylinders (mmm - using manly tools). Hell, when I was in Japan, I was mobbed by Japanese school girls, just about everywhere I went.
|Mobbed by japanese school girls
I've spoken before about getting a bit more of a masculine swagger to my step around ladies who seem to have tripped that yuri-seme vibe. It's a little hard to not call the little honours students "jo-chan" in a low growl as the giggle behind their hands. And I know, at my core, it's all in good fun. It's playing, you know... giggling about the large blonde woman with the man-hands and the army boots, laughing about what could never actually be.
And it amuses the hell out of me, don't misunderstand. And I honestly think it comes from that same place that makes straight women flirt with their gay friends - it's all just fun. Innocent, harmless fun. And I'm pretty sure if most of these women realised I was bi, they'd freak out and run off and have wild monkey sex with their dedicated male partners, just to chase the spectre of my seme-ness out of their minds.
Gay men, too, occasionally get a little captivated for an hour's conversation. Clearly, though I have boobs and I wear mostly girly clothes, there is a boyishness about me that can - for a short time, at least - trip that playfulness.
What can I say? It must be my tousled, boyish good-looks. :P