FUNNY WOMEN: Women from the PoV of Male Creative Writing Undergrads


I heard her bra unhinge with a long scraping sound and then fall to the floor with a thunk.


The bleeding was ferocious, unknowable, liquid, solid. It poured from her, a libation held to the moon, from it, for it, by it, near it… of it. It was her time of the month, of all months, of every year, of all time… a sacred howl. She was wild with it, the crimson. Full of this mystery, she said she wanted to stay home, and that I should not call her, not now. I retreated, full of wonder, full of fear.


She added another layer of eyeshadow, drawing it across her lids with a little sponge, the likes of which I had never seen a man wield. It was delicate, like her. It was jewel-toned, like she was not.


“I was born in London,” Jade said, vivaciously. “Educated at Oxford, and now work in one of the biggest financial companies in England.”

“Of course,” I said, knowing exactly which financial company she meant.

She shifted her gaze past mine, staring off into depths I could not see, mostly because it was behind me where she was looking.

“But I’m afraid I don’t know the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Would you explain this, please?” she asked me, tenderly.

“Me?” How could I, a simple, yet very handsome, and definitely over-six-foot-tall man explain something like this to her?

She nodded, peering deeply into my eyes. “Please. I’ve so longed to know, and there’s no other way for me to gain this information because our world doesn’t include the internet, as you know.”

“That’s true. All right,” I said, taking her ethereal hand in mine. “Let’s begin.”


The best thing about the Girl is that she never minded that he couldn’t remember her name. As a joke, he called her something different whenever they hung out—“Julie” or “Stephanie” or “Modesha”—and she laughed each time, gently punching his arm. That’s how cool she was, not like his ex-girlfriend. No, the Girl was not like her. She was cool.


Her Aunt Flo didn’t just visit—she knocked down the door and bled out all over the living room furniture (the set once purchased by her mother with a Boscov’s gift card that she had earned by watching the door to her mob father’s illegal poker game, held monthly in the backroom of a Boscov’s).


The female elves preferred traditional gender roles: baking, cleaning, cooking, waxing, and raising the children. This was entirely their choice, and they were very happy about it. In fact, they often said, “We don’t want anyone to question this aspect of our culture, especially human young women taking creative writing classes.”


“How long will it take you to get ready?” Ben asked his wife.

“I have to shower, shave, do that thing where I straighten my hair, put on a bunch of make-up, and choose some clothes that are fancy,” Monique replied, giggling. “So, let’s say ten minutes?”

“Oh, you women!” Ben nodded and smiled but frowned.

“Hee hee!” Monique laughed, shrugged, and galloped up the stairs with a smirk.


The bright red lipstick she wore was like a tattoo. It never came off. Not in the shower, not at night, not even now as she lay unconscious in the hospital bed for her fiftieth day in a medical coma because of the flesh-eating bacteria slowly transforming her into a zombie. Through my eyes, she still looked perfect.


Johanna was three days pregnant, a test had told her. Her mother had already commented on her belly, but Johanna, thinking quickly, told her it was from eating too much meatloaf. This wasn’t untrue. It was shocking, how much she had entirely changed in just three days. Hiding in her room, Johanna balanced on her enormous stomach as if it was a beach ball, slowly rocking herself back and forth, craving pickled ice cream and wishing she had made better choices.


Perhaps it was because Angelique was a vampire—a hot vampire with a great rack—that she cared little what her boyfriend, Dave, did. When she’d seen him outside the cafeteria holding hands with Rachel, a really nice girl from his fiction writing class who also had a great body, Angelique barely noticed.

“Just be ready to make love,” Angelique told Dave, as Rachel went off to select her usual desserts for dinner, promising to bring Dave a butterscotch pudding.

“But I’m tired, Angelique,” said Dave. “I have a chemistry midterm tomorrow, not that you’d understand, since you never went to college, which is hard!”

“I will do all the work,” Angelique replied.

Dave thought for a long moment, then nodded, sighing, acquiescing. He would allow his gorgeous, two-hundred-year-old girlfriend to have sex on him.


Jerry felt like his female professor didn’t like him. Maybe asking her to run a few copies for him had been a mistake. Oh well.


Rumpus original art by Kaili Doud.


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Shannon Reed is the author of Why Did I Get a B: And Other Mysteries We're Discussing in the Faculty Lounge, and frequently contributes to McSweeney's Internet Tendency and the New Yorker. Her work has also been published in the Paris Review, Slate, the Washington Post, Real Simple, Guernica, and Buzzfeed, among others. Shannon is a Lecturer in the Creative Writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, which sounds pretty impressive until you realize she earned her MFA there, so they likely just felt sorry for her and let her stay. More information at More from this author →