There are a few of us knitting fellas out there. Quite a few, actually. And there are even less of us fellas that knit for a living. So, I can understand why it might take a second or two for people to get used to it.
But, I never really think about it, I really don’t. I just do it, you know? It never occurs to me. The idea of the uniqueness in a male knitter is about as far fetched as the idea of a female firefighter…..isn’t it? I mean it MUST be, since it seems to come up a lot. Who would have thought that this craft, when approached by men, was a novelty?
Well, lately I’ve been thinking more about it, I’ve been more conscious about being in public and knitting. Not in a bad way, hell no! I wanna see if there is curiosity, and if there is, then I want to start a conversation, get them involved, get them knitting. I don’t want to be one of those huffy people who sits back and acts “bothered” because someone finds them interesting.
You know the type. “Oh, I’m so bored with being unique, that’s ALL any ever talks about…..How unique I am. Can’t we talk about anything else other than how unique I am?” That’s just…..well, it’s just rude.
I’ve really gotten more conscious about my knitting when people ask me what I do for a living and I say, “I’m a world famous knitter,” (then I toss on my cute little cocky grin. It’ll melt you 🙂 ). They chuckle a little then go, “HA HA! That’s funny! No, really…. What do you do?”
There have only been a few bad experiences. Just a handful. I recall one time I went into a small, local yarn store (or ‘LYS’ as they say in the biz). I wont’ say which one because I don’t believe in trash talking people online. I think it’s a touch cruel and cowardly to sit behind your computer and spew out how much you hate someone without having to take responsibility for it. But, that’s a different blog. Anyway, I went into the store because I wanted to see what sort of yarn they had, maybe give them a little business. I strolled in quite ready to explore and was met at the door by the owner who stopped me in my tracks and asked briskly, “Excuse me, may I help you with something????”
“Nah, I just wanted browse, see what you have.”
I turned to the left and she stepped in front of me. I stepped to the right and she did so again before asking, “Anything I can help you find???” Now, I know tone says everything, and her tone screamed of nastiness.
I said, “I was just gonna look at some yarn.” Then it dawns on me. Ok ok ok. Maybe not because I’m a man, but because I look like a scruffy man with his beat up ball cap, tattered jeans, and boots. THAT is why she’s giving me grief. Why else would a man be in her store? No, even worse, why would a poorly dressed ruffian be in her store? “Those” people don’t knit. And it all came together when she finally said, “We don’t have a restroom if that’s what you’re looking for.” I just turned around and left her store, not saying anything out loud, but replaying in my head that scene with Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” (“Big mistake. HUGE!”)
But most of the time the response is often quite cordial. People approach me with curiosity and I’m more than willing to answer their questions. I think its cool that people want to know more. They get inspired by it. And that has to be the coolest part about being a male knitter. A lady in the corner knitting booties at Starbucks doesn’t get as much attention as the skinny little redneck up front knitting a teddy bear. People notice….they ask questions….they smile….and walk away going, “I wanna learn to knit.”
Knitters are an agreeable group. We create things tenderly and with care to give as gifts. We don’t knit voodoo dolls….well, actually I know quite a few people that DO knit voodoo dolls, but they’re cute! Knitters carefully select the right yarn for just the right project to be given to just the right person at instinctively the right time. So, if I’m spotted by someone who takes notice of my knitting, and the curiosity of it being done by a man instills some inspiration in them to be a knitter, then I’ve just inspired someone to put something good into the world.
And that’s a pretty damned good feeling….
(From the book, “Man VS Skein-The Confessions of a Male Knitter”)