How do you handle being "odd man out" ?

How do you handle being "odd man out" because of the hobby (knit/crochet) that you enjoy so much ?? I really enjoy crochet and I read books for fun. These are not typical "masculine" activities. I love both of these hobbies, but I have to enjoy crochet pretty much as a loner because there are so few of us. I am a member of a local chapter of CGOA where I am the only male member. I really enjoy the group, but would like to find or start a men's group in Lake Couny, IL

Go where the yarn takes you.

Mike

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jinct's picture

I am a knitter. I belong to two knitting/crocheting groups, and I am the only man there. When someone starts of a sentence with, "Ladies...", I clear my throat. It's then changed to ladies and gentleman. I helped to cofound one of the groups, and I joined the other group soon after it started. I made myself a part of the group. I voice my opinions. I jump in if someone needs help. I enjoy who I am, and I enjoy being a knitter! I know this is a jumble of ideas, but I do hope it helps.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I've dealt with this most of my life, having began knitting seriously when I was around 12. [As for books...I've been a voracious reader since I first realized letters made words and words meant books.] There was a short period in my early 20's when I didn't knit - or crochet - but once I found out how much I missed it I started in and have never stopped. I may no longer have to knit every minute of every day but I seldom go long with out working on some kind of project.

As for your original question - I just knit. I go to several open knit nights and belong to a couple of groups that meets once a month to chat and work on projects. I am the only male at these get-togethers but I don't let that bother me. After all the years of basically knitting in isolation, I just welcome the company. Being on MWK and Ravelry have helped me connect to a worldwide community of male knitters, which has been awesome and helps with the occasional "odd man out" feelings. And I've always knit in public, finding that most of the comments have been positive. Oddly enough, it is when I've been drop spindling in public that I hear the usual remarks that "guys don't do that" in reference to spinning and/or knitting. But that has only been within the past 10 years or less, since the backlash about male gender roles. I just remind people of the history behind both crafts and that they are not gender specific.

So, I guess the best thing I can say is that you just keep doing the crochet and the reading. They are things that are important to you and your well being and that is a great Blessing. Anything that eases the stress of our lives is valuable. More importantly, they are part of you and to deny them - or stifle them - would be sad. Take care.

p.s. - If you are on Ravelry, there are several forums on reading as well as crochet and knitting. They are a great way to connect with others who share your interests.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

CrochetSecure's picture

Thank you, Joe. Your advice is sound. Yes, both hobbies are a big part of who I am. I spend at least 30 minutes before work every day doing crochet to put me in a better frame of mind for the day. Breakfast usually includes time with a good book. Together they are a great way to start the day. They also provide a great break during the day as well as a way to relax after work.

"Go where the yarn takes you."

Mike

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

You are welcome, Mike. I often take knitting with me to work as a stress buster during lunch and breaks. Books are a great way to relax at night, although I often have a conflict between knitting and a book that just won't let go. LOL
If you are on Ravelry, I'm also "Joe-inWyoming" over there and you can always check out the book groups and men's forums I belong to. Take care - Joe

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

GLADDINGVANDERIPE's picture

I agree with all the other comments as well. Living in a conservative state as Indiana and growing up in a masculine domain family where the roles are to be clear cut, its been a struggle. But after all they hype and name calling I feel I have become much stronger about whom I am. Some would stay stubborn. But for me learning this craft and hobby (plus reading) has given me not only life but hope. I do not need to look to others for their admiration, but to my self. After 58 years of living on this planet and expecting the ok from others have become more work than needed. I support myself for what I do in this world, and joyfully will continue it.
At the present my job consist of working with emotionally disturbed children. Some are really bad. One particular child I am working with actually knives his mother and dented the car door in. He had lots of rage. He is the odd one out. After much work with him I introduced him to knitting(he already crocheted ) and I have seen him relax more and become for focused something he now is stating to me he has had difficulty with.
I dread the person who tries to stop this child from improving, just because it isn't what men do.

Tallguy's picture

One thing I have discovered after many years is that as one gets older, one doesn't depend on the opinions of others for validation. I do what I want to do! Of course, that only comes with experience (aka age) and you don't have this when you are just a youngster. So being "odd man out" only lasts a few years.

I have belonged to a weaving group and was the only male for a long time. Now I am with a knitting guild, and was the only male for a long time. I kind of liked that position! Everyone treats you kindly, as a novelty, and everyone knows who you are (don't need to wear a name-tag). I do a lot of the demonstrations with the group and, as a result, some males have joined the guild. They say that they saw me at such-and-such, and decided to get started. So I know I made an impression somewhere.

So I say you must be the change you want to see in the world. If you are the only male in a group, relish it. But you must go out and be the visible minority and to let the world know that it is okay to do this (whatever it is). Many "closeted" knitters will then quietly admit to you that they also do a little knitting, in private, and felt they were the only ones. It does take courage to be the first "out" of anything, but there are rewards. As others have said, just go out and do what you must do. What is the worst thing that can happen to you?? Remember: you are the one with the pointy sticks!