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Better Know a Commenter: Gross(est)

An in-depth chat with our resident non-profit fundraiser.

While we're all much more than just being Royals fans, it is the tie that binds us. What brought you to the Royals' front stoop knocking on the door to be let in? Perhaps more importantly, why did you stay?

We grew up watching the Royals, and pretty much my whole family is into baseball. My grandmothers especially were big fans, although I don't have as many memories going to games with them as my other cousins do being the youngest of my cousins on both sides. Growing up I didn't really follow them, but they were always there and I always liked going to games.

When I moved out east in the pre-internet, pre-interleague play days, it was hard to follow them even if I wanted to, especially as I lived in a city with no baseball (DC) and a city with National League baseball (Philadelphia), so whenever I did get a taste of anything Royals, it meant a lot and would sustain me for weeks. And then it was as much about missing and loving KC (even when I loved where I was at) as it was about loving the Royals in particular. When the Royals came to Camden Yards, my cousin bought tickets to every game and took me with him one night, driving up from DC. When I went to see the Phillies in the godawful hellhole known as Veterans Stadium, I'd buy my ice cream in the mini-Royals helmet hat. And when George Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I saved the sports section and read it over and over again.

When I moved back to Kansas City in 2001, I found I was much more into baseball than when I had left, perhaps for no other reason than that I didn't take it for granted that I could see them whenever I wanted during the season. And the more often I went, the more I got into it. I started following different players and paid attention to their career paths. I enjoyed discovering my own back way into the stadium to avoid the mess that is I-435/I-70 intersection - and enjoyed it more when I discovered that it was my uncle's back way into the stadium back in the 70s when he lived in the same neighborhood as me. I enjoyed going to games with different friends, sometimes learning from them if they were more knowledgeable, sometimes teaching them stuff if they weren't, and always just soaking in the game. And I bonded with my cousins and their growing families while watching games. I especially liked that the more I followed it, the better I understood what was going on.

I forget how I found Royals Review - I think a co-worker recommended an article. I lurked for a few weeks and when I did finally post, Will said something nice welcoming me to the community. Being part of the Royals Review community definitely brought me deeper into my fandom. And marrying a big ol' Royals fan and baseball history nut has only reinforced it all.

So you were the youngest? Of how many children? What did your parents do? Could your childhood have doubled for a Norman Rockwell painting?

I am the youngest of three. My two older brothers are five and six years older than me. My mom is a computer programmer, and my dad was an auditor (he's still living but has been retired for many years because of his disability).

I guess my childhood could have doubled for a Norman Rockwell painting, but grubbier and more cluttered. As I became an adult, I realized that our family is much closer than most other people's I know. I talk to my cousins more often than most people I know talk to their own siblings and parents. But then, my cousins are mostly an entertaining, loving and interesting bunch, so it would be crazy not to talk to them as often as I could.

Most of my cousins are about 5-7 years older than me and a handful are 10-15 years older. I am the baby among my siblings and in both my maternal and paternal lines of cousins, and one of the few girls. My brothers think I am ridiculously spoiled, but they don't take into account how everything I had was hand-me-downs, usually five years out of coolness and for clothes, designed for a boy. They just know my mother made me breakfast (cinnamon toast with the crusts cut off!) until I left for college.

How do you think it has been for your mother working as a female working in a male-dominated field like computer programming? How long has she been in this field? How did her experiences and example inform your decisions and path?

One thing to remember is that computing hasn't always been a male-dominated field. For much of the 20th Century, it was in some places female-dominated. Before super-computers, people did the calculations and were actually called, as their job title, computers. And, perhaps partly because this was seen as kind of drudge work, a lot of women were hired in those roles. And these women naturally transitioned into programming roles when the job of computing became more automated. So there was a career path for baby-boomer women like my mom who were good at math, following in the footsteps of these other women.

BUT I'd never really talked to her about her experience, so after I got your question, I asked her, and she confirmed that she didn't really think her field was male-dominated. When she got out of college in the mid/late '60s (an all-female college where she majored in mathematics), she got hired at a company that was relocating out of state. Most of the employees didn't want to move so there were several openings. She says her work group was a mix of men and women, up to and including the project managers. One thing she said that blew my mind was that "in those days" they made pregnant women take off work the two months before their due date, so she was kind of frustrated by that because they needed her income. She went back to work as soon as her company allowed her to with the first kid but took off the full time with the second. This was partly because my dad was out of school by then, so they were a little less strapped for cash and also it sounded like they had trouble with babysitters (and this is before they got to the one who fell down the stairs while carrying me, another kid, and a load of laundry and then put my brother in the corner when he suggested that maybe I was hurt--and he was right, turned out my leg had a hairline fracture--oy!).

She said around the time she went back to work after the second kid was the only time she felt discriminated against because she regularly got the best scores of anyone in her group on their tests, but raises were done based on time worked. So with having the kids and the mandatory time off even before the kid was born, she was behind the raise cycles, so guys who were hired after her and not as good at their jobs as her were being paid more. Soon after that they moved back to KC. Then, she felt that being a woman maybe helped her in a reverse discrimination way, because she really only wanted to work part-time or on a contract basis to be more flexible with three kids, and that it was understood if a woman wanted to do that, she could while a man couldn't. So she felt she had some options there that a man wouldn't have had and was perhaps hired for some jobs that a man wouldn't have been seriously considered for.

Now, as for how that affected me, I don't know because I was pretty unaware of all that at the time. But I will say my family, both immediate and extended, was not super confined by gendered family roles. My dad was the one who cooked. My mom always had a job, albeit sometimes one with unusual hours, especially at month's end. They both equally did not clean house (a trait my husband and I share!) Both of my parents fully parented, in terms of time commitments and emotional availability and guidance. And that parenting style was true for all my parents' siblings. We were not one of those families where the dad was the emotionally distant breadwinner and the mom was the stay-at-home raiser of the children. (And my dad usually mocked that kind of family anyway--he's a world-class mocker.)

That was true for the generation before as well. My grandmothers worked, at least on-and-off, and they all came from farm stock, where everyone worked. As a kid, I was much more fascinated with my mom's stories of helping her grandpa on the farm in the summers--where her first job as a kid was to chase down the chickens after he had cut their heads off--than I was by her job. Her job was just the thing she was off doing during the day while I was at the sitters or school; it wasn't interesting. (Though I did enjoy playing with and coloring on all the punch cards she used to bring home.) Long story short, my dad's attitude about stupid gender roles and his example in how not to be confined by them had as much to do with my views and my path as did my mom's.

Standard dating profile questions: Age? Sex? Height? Hair color? Marital status? Kids?

Turn 40 this month. Female. 5'4-ish. Brown and starting to get a few streaks of gray. Married. Not yet, but we're working on it.

While many choose not to define themselves by their job, what do you do to make ends meet? For how long have you been plying that trade?

I definitely do not define myself by my job, although I do enjoy my job and am thankful for having a stable, healthy environment in which to work. I am a non-profit fundraiser. I started this path when I was in college, volunteering for a few different political organizations in DC, and my experience there helped me get actual jobs when I got out of college. I got burned out within a few years, in large part because I started working for an organization for which I felt no connection, which is a horrible thing to do when your job is to facilitate other people willingly giving their money to you for no reason other than that they believe in the mission of your organization so much.

So then I kind of fell into working at Borders Books, loving it terribly even when it drove me crazy (and which is where I met Mr. Gross(est)) and ended up staying for over 10 years until the company closed. I knew I didn't want to continue in retail, so I turned back to the non-profit world, learning from my previous mistakes and only applying at places that I knew I could unequivocally gush about, and I lucked into one with great co-workers and a great boss to boot. It's a membership organization, so my customer service background combined with my fundraising and database experience made it a perfect fit. I'm not the kind of fundraiser who is good at working with big-dollar major donor types. I definitely like the part of it that allows a bunch of people to give what they can, all towards a common goal, achieving more together than any of us ever could on our own.

Wait, so are you the reason I get all these emails from KCUR? (I kid, I kid.) Was Borders the job you got after returning to the KC area or had you initially been working for a non-profit after being out East?

I am probably the reason they tweeted at you once or twice! There was a time or two when they were looking for opinions on Twitter to Royals-related questions, and I gave them a few Royals fans I follow to hit up.

I had followed my brothers and our three closest cousins--whose house was three blocks from us meaning we saw them at least weekly--to DC for college, though I went to a different university than they did. They all went to Catholic University, but the scholarship we had a line on there no longer existed by the time I came along, which was fine by me as I didn't want to go there. By the time I graduated from GW, I wanted to do something different and make a life decision that wasn't based on following them around, so I moved to Philadelphia.

My first job there was a temp job at the hotel famous for Legionnaire's disease! It was in Philly I got my first paid non-profit job, working for the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, mostly on their annual walk-a-thon, but other fundraising efforts, too. I loved it there, but Philly is a hard town to make your own when you move there alone, as everyone there really hardcore identifies with their neighborhood. And there was a period there after my boyfriend and I broke up where I found myself traveling to DC every weekend for different family things, and I finally just decided to move back to DC. It was the non-profit I worked for in DC when I moved back that really burned me out - it was just a bad fit for me. After I left that job, I eventually ended up at Borders, and when I decided to move back to KC, it was easy to just transfer to a store here.

Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?

Grew up in KCMO in the Brookside neighborhood, and currently live in NE Johnson County. It's not my ideal choice, but our house is about as smack dab in the middle between my parents' house and my mother-in-law's house as it is possible to be, which is a good thing since both households contain elderly and frail adults.

Would your ideal living spot still be in the Kansas City area, just in a different spot, or do you see yourself leaving the area for a different dream location? Has Mr. Gross(est) always lived in the area?

I think my ideal home spot would be in somewhere between 39th and 63rd Street, between State Line north of Brush Creek/Wornall south of it and Paseo. I just really like the walkability of that part of town, and I love the houses there from the turn of the century. With my current job, I would be able to walk to work, which would be awesome sauce. And I would love a house with a front porch (and a neighborhood with front porches). My current neighborhood is not very walkable--even the blocks with sidewalks have the sidewalks right on the curb, which means every time you cross a driveway your back, knees, and ankles are all out of alignment. When you're walking any distance, this becomes painful. Also, the blocks don't cut through, so I'm kind of stuck with one or two routes, which is boring, and then the destinations worth going to are all designed to be gotten to by car to the exclusion of safe and comfortable pedestrian paths. Also, growing up in Missouri, I just have kind of a natural prejudice against Kansas and still can't quite believe I'm really a resident there. Mr. Gross(est) has always lived in this area, either in NE Johnson County or in Lawrence.

When I was in college in DC in the '90s, I wanted to live in Philadelphia, Austin, and San Francisco before settling down somewhere. One out of three ain't bad. I do love living in the KC area, though I wish my brothers were closer--they both still live in DC. And I do wish Mr. Gross(est) and I could travel more. Fate has been working against us the past few years. The only other dream location to live would be Australia, either Perth or Adelaide. There's no reason, I just got the idea during an Australia phase I was going through and it stuck.

What is your educational background/area of study?

I got a B.A in American Studies from George Washington University in DC (Go Colonials!). It's one of those degrees you really need to get at least a masters if not a doctorate in to really do anything with, and I was pretty sick of being in school by the time I finished my undergraduate, even though I loved all the stuff I was studying. My senior year I had an internship at the Library of Congress cataloging a bunch of stills from movies in the 1900s and 1910s that had been found in the copyright office or something. For a lot of these films, this is the only record left of them, so that was pretty cool, to be handling them each day and in some small way helping to preserve what was left of them.

In which area did you focus your American Studies? Was there another area into which you would like to have dug deeper? Have you toyed with the notion of going back to school since? Do you have any idea what you would do if you did go back?

My areas of focus were multiculturalism and cultural representation, so that meant my final project was about how Latinos were represented in mainstream American films in the '80s and early '90s. I love that American Studies is so interdisciplinary. For my areas of focus, I took a lot of classes from the English, Film, and History departments, but also sociology, basic statistics, psychology, etc. If I hadn't thought everyone in the Film department were such assholes, I probably would have minored in Film Studies, but instead I fell a few credits short. When I was in college, I was so into films that I mostly just focused on post-WWI American history, but almost immediately upon graduation, I read A.J. Langguth's book Patriots--which is my absolute favorite book about the American Revolution--and that and the PBS documentary Liberty! kicked off my American Revolution phase and my Alexander Hamilton crush. Since then, I go through phases.

I have considered going back several times, and KU does have a graduate program in Museum Studies/American Studies, which is what I'd be most interested in, but it never seems like the right time, and really, I'm just not that focused and ambitious. I think I'd rather just read books and go to lectures and tour museums and maybe take an odd class or two to pursue my interests rather than incurring a huge amount of debt and sacrificing all my free time and the other things I want to happen in my life the next few years (as well as the flexibility I need to help my parents and my mother-in-law when illness strikes) in pursuit of a degree that I may not be able to turn into a new career anyway. And if I ever do decide I want to leave my current employer, I probably would want to try to work in a museum or historical organization, and my fundraising experience is as good a way to do that as would be competing with 28-year-old PhDs for curatorial and archivist jobs.

So as someone who has troubles reconciling an existence spent in Kansas with your Missouri upbringing, going to KU for grad school wouldn't be problematic, or are collegiate athletics immaterial for you? Is that the only program you've considered, or do you have a different place you've fantasized about for a graduate program?

Collegiate athletics are pretty immaterial for me. And often they are down right offensive to me. I find the whole concept of student-athlete as it's currently manifested under the NCAA an outmoded, elitist ball of crap, along with amateur athlete status in general. It's a bunch of rules made up by people who did sport for leisure, not a career, holding it against people who need to (or just want to) make money off of their skills and hard work.  Now all these generations of kids are being manipulated and used by the whole thing, and that some of them are able to turn that opportunity for exploitation into lucrative careers for themselves is good for them.

And the racial undercurrents make me really uncomfortable, especially when the legislature tries to punish athletes who dare to realize they have influence. And that's not even getting into the whole gender inequity of it all, which I'm sure you can imagine my thoughts. Or the culture of entitlement or lack of empathy or whatever that has grown-ass men protecting rapists because they don't want to deal with having to find a new quarterback and don't think crimes against women matter anyway. I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about that, too. Besides, I feel as little connection to MU as I do KU. Less, probably, because Mr. Gross(est) went to KU, and still considers himself a Jayhawk and follows the men's basketball and football and occasionally dips into paying attention to some of the other sports or female teams at KU as well.

It'd be a big stretch to say I've fantasized about any graduate program, or at least to suggest that I've fantasized about it any more seriously than I've fantasized about serving aboard the NCC-1701D under Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge. The idea has occurred to me, but I've done next to nothing to make it happen, nor have I ever seriously thought "yeah, maybe now's the time." Frankly, while the grad school idea is theoretically more realistic, I've probably spent more time fantasizing about the Enterprise.

With the understanding that obviously baseball and the Royals are an area of interest for you, what other hobbies and interests do you have?

Reading - a lot of history (I go through phases--currently in an English history phase), Star Trek, some romances and mysteries, and then I always start whatever our book club is reading, although I don't always finish it.
Doing puzzles of various sorts, mostly crosswords, and Sudoku. I really enjoy jigsaw puzzles, but mostly do them at my parents' house as our cat is a destructive brat (but very cute and cuddly!).
Visiting museums, though never as many as I want or mean to.
Our pets (currently just a cat, but we will be getting a dog soon, we just needed some grieving time after our dog died earlier this year and then my mother-in-law got sick).

Thanks to my husband, I have also discovered that hockey is awesome and so is soccer! He has yet to convince me that football is anything but a godawful plague upon our land that I must endure, and I'm pretty sure that feeling is not going to change.

Is your bookclub basically a wine club with books as the connector, or are the readers serious about it? What is the makeup of the group? What's the worst thing you had to read in the club? Was the offending selector excoriated?

Our book club grew out of a group of older, female Borders employees who had started this monthly gathering to hang out outside of work. As the years went on, they let in a few of us who were under 50, and then when Borders closed, they opened it up to a huge group of the under 50s and we all decided to start a book club in addition to the monthly dinners. In my experience, the dinners are more the boozy events (which is part of why I stopped going, as one or two of the ladies could regularly be counted on to be embarrassing and obnoxious drunks), and the book club is more about just sitting around and hanging out. We are pretty gung-ho about books in general, although not necessarily about the book we're reading that month. I don't know that I would use the word "serious" to describe our attitudes towards books, it's more that we just absolutely love reading. I am often not the only person who didn't finish the book, although I am most likely to be the person who has not finished the book. One of the ladies has a pretty strict "I am old and may die soon and there are too many great books to read to be wasting my time on something I think is crap" policy.

We usually spend about half the time discussing the book and half the time gossiping about our former co-workers, customers, and relatives, as well as just talking about whatever is going on with us. There are seven of us who regularly come for the book club (out of the original 25 at the first meeting when Borders closed). We are all ladies, and I am the youngest. Politically we range from very liberal democrat to moderate republican. Some of the group do drink wine every meeting, some of us don't drink very often because we have a low tolerance and have to drive ourselves home, and one of us doesn't drink at all because she's a recovering alcoholic.

For the second year of the club, one of the ladies couldn't come because of work stuff, and that year was a little rough for me. She was the other person who not only really likes non-fiction, but also argued very forcefully that we diversify the types of books we were reading, so without her, most of the books we were reading were, in my opinion, really similar fiction books that struck me as kind of pretentious crap. I can't remember the name of it, but there was one where the protagonist was a French teenager who wanted to commit suicide and a friend of mine had committed suicide the year before. When I realized about page 20 what was going on, I just couldn't make myself even attempt to read it. But several of the other ladies liked it, though they understood why I couldn't read it. We vote on what we read, so there is no one to blame but ourselves, so no excoriation. But I do like our selections better now that the other lady is retired from work and back with us. There are still the occasional books that I think are pretentious crap, but now it's just one month of it, with really different stuff around it. I like that the book club gets me to at least try books I might not otherwise try and gets me out of my comfort zone, but I like it better with a little variety and more representation of at least SOME books that are in my zone.

For me, whether I've read the book or not, the best part is hanging out with my girls. I haven't been able to go the past few months (since August I think?) because of stuff going on with my mother-in-law, and I am really, ridiculously looking forward to seeing them in January. It's the one regular non-work, non-family, non-spouse thing I have, and I treasure it greatly.

I'm assuming getting to work at the Library of Congress fed the museum itch significantly. What museums stand above the rest as your favorites? What ones are you dying to visit?

Just living in DC and getting to visit the Smithsonians for free several times a month fed my museum itch. I have a bad habit of going back to what I like instead of trying new things in many areas of my life, and visiting museums is definitely in this trend, so there are many I should go to that I haven't. My favorites in KC are The World War I Museum and the Negro Leagues Museum. I also really like the Nelson-Atkins, Steamboat Arabia, and Wornall House. When Borders closed and I was unemployed, I volunteered at the Wornall House and on one snowy day, they had me dust the exhibits, which was freaking awesome, because I got to go behind the ropes and touch EVERYTHING. It was like my own private Night at the Museum, but without getting shot at by tiny battle figurines. I also really like visiting State Capitols and little local museums run by historical societies, although National Parks are the gold standard for awesomeness.

I have a terrible memory, so I'm having trouble thinking of any I want to visit, except for one in Australia--Darwin, I think--that has an exhibit about a cyclone that hit there several decades ago. Bill Bryson mentions it in his book In a Sunburned Country. Oh! and based on recommendations from people on Royals Review, Mr. Gross(est) and I are hoping to make a weekend trip to visit Wilson's Creek and Pea Ridge in 2016.

But really, I'll go to almost any historic site. When we are on vacation, my husband has become used to me suddenly screaming out, "Historical Marker! Pull over!"

Do your soccer interests go beyond Sporting KC, or are you Kansas City through and through? Is there a hockey team to whom you've thrown your allegiance?

I am a newb at following both soccer and hockey. I am just at the enjoying-going-to-games stage. For soccer, I follow Sporting KC and FC Kansas City (the NWSL team), although "follow" might be too strong a word. It's more like I enjoy it when Mr. Gross(est) is watching them on TV and enjoy going to games when he suggests it. I, of course, really enjoyed watching Team USA during the World Cup this summer.

For hockey, I follow the local ECHL team, the Missouri Mavericks--in fact, we just continued our tradition of going to their NYE game with my cousins. They host a skate-with-the-team after the game to ring in the new year, although we've never signed up for that. The team very conveniently plays at about the mid-point between where my cousins live near Warrensburg and where we live, and after we encouraged them to come to a game, they all discovered they loved it, so that's been a fun thing to do to get to hang out with family. As much as I deplore violence in general, I find that I really enjoy when the guys check each other. I don't like the fights, but I really like when they body slam each other into the boards. I guess I don't mind body injuries, just not head, neck and spine injuries? They had a 14-game winning streak earlier this season which tied them for fourth-best win streak in ECHL history! This season is going much better than last year, although only one guy from last year's team is on this year's, so I barely know any of the current players. But even though I know nothing about hockey, even I can see they are controlling the puck better and communicating as a team better when they're on the ice. And the Mavericks have the best mascot in KC, for what that's worth. I do not have an NHL team, and probably couldn't even name more than 6 NHL teams, although there is a romance series centered around a hockey team that I like! I could probably name more fictional players from that series than I could real NHL players, past or present.

So to answer your question, I'm KC through and through.

What's the best thing you've read in recent memory? Describe it as though you were trying to convince someone else that they should read it.

Eeek! This is hard for me. The absolute best thing I've read really recently has been an investigative journalism piece called "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" that was done by ProPublica and the Marshall Project. First off, I just think it was written and structured very well, just riveting. Secondly, I am really fascinated by investigative work, and this story does a great job of showing how one investigation was done poorly and how another investigation was done well, as well as the ever growing team of people it took to realize these cases were connected, the steps taken to find and process those clues, and the ways mundane and serendipitous that they were able to find, capture and prosecute a man who was hurting women. Third and perhaps most importantly, it gives the initial victim who was treated so poorly by the people she turned to for help a powerful voice and a moment of vindication and in doing so helps the rest of us identify the ways in which we could be doing better by all victims of crime, but especially rape victims. And fourth, I am interested in what might be called women's issues, which is kind of how I came to the piece in the first place, as one morning I woke up and every female sports journalist I follow on Twitter was talking about how blown away they were by this piece.

On a lighter note, my mother and her sisters introduced me to a mystery series last summer called the Lady Darby Mysteries. Lady Darby is the widow of a great anatomist in Scotland in the 1840s and kind of backs herself into becoming an inquiry agent. I like that we get to see all the clues with Lady Darby (I hate mysteries that withhold something off-page that the investigator knows but we don't, since I want a chance to solve it as much as the investigator gets), and I just like Lady Darby. She's interesting to hang out with. I also like the way the novels explore the ways she as a women does and does not have agency in different situations and how she brings a different knowledge base to the situations than does her male co-investigator, which makes them a better team. There is an element of the books that's a bit Mary Sue-ish, but heck, I love good fan fiction, so why not.

And last year I read a book about the War of the Roses called Blood Sisters, telling the history of the War of Roses through the female line, which really ended up being what it came down to since all the men killed each other off. Anyway, unlike the previous 5 books I'd read on the War of the Roses, it finally made sense to me who everyone was and what the hell had happened.

We all have a long list of stupid shit that we've done. What's the dumbest thing you've done?

I'm pretty risk-averse, and don't like drinking to excess and mostly not in public at all unless I'm with people I completely trust, i.e. my brothers, so I'm not sure I'll be of much use here. All the dumb things I've done have been pretty boring.

Describe yourself in three sentences or less.

Brevity is not my strong suit. I am a big nerd who loves her family. Go Royals!

What Royals Reviewer would you be most interested to meet in person? Why?

Well, I have to say I'm pretty intrigued by the recent upshot in female Reviewers we've had the past year or two. I'm not sure how much we'd all get along off the page, but I love being in threads when a bunch of them are active.

From the very first, I always felt completely welcome at Royals Review and unlike a lot of other comment sections, ours never deteriorates into badly spelled misogynistic, racist tangents. I don't remember the details, but I remember one thread years ago when someone clearly was assuming I was a guy and was dismissing my points, and when I pointed out the many ways I thought he was wrong, first being his assumptions about who he was talking to, he replied with some sexist comment, and before I even saw it like five other commentators chimed in to let the guy know how stupid his assumptions were and how unwelcome his sexism was, which was awesome (and I'm pretty sure that's the only sexist comment on RR that's been addressed specifically to me, which is not something I can say about a lot of other sites I've visited). I have only brothers, and my closest cousins are all male, so I'm used to being the only female with a bunch of guys, and my "interests" are kind of stereotypical male interests (which is bullshit, as for any of these male interests, I have shared them with female friends and family), so it never bothered me being one of a very few females present.

BUT it is still a welcome change not to be one of only a few known women active on the site (and often I was the only one active in a particular thread) because sometimes I would be very conscious of being the only woman. So yeah, it's nice to not be trying to represent 50% of humanity by myself (or 25% if Minda was in the thread). I feel like I let myself relax a little more these days and don't have to be on guard to offer "the female perspective" or whatever. And even when we do have those conversations that are related to male/female topics, I'm not offering "the female perspective." I'm just offering my perspective, which is shaped by me being a female.

So even though I'm not much of a drinker, and have no money, it'd be fun to get to meet all the ladies and buy them a round. But not at Kauffman Stadium. Their booze is way too expensive.

I, too, am glad for the increased female presence over the past year or two. Praise be to the fairer half.