Monday, 14 June 2010

Of all the distressing and perplexing phobias I have ever come across, this is the one that is most endemic within the world of bridge. Well over 50% of all female players fall victim to this particular phobia , and no treatments as yet have been successful in halting its alarming spread. Its continued presence within every bridge club across the globe has given rise to misguided claims that sexism and male chauvinism are possibly two underlying factors.
Androphobia Nonsensica affects women players of all ages, from every socio-economic grouping. It typically expresses itself when victims start displaying panic-attack symptoms, whenever in the presence of anxiety provoking stimuli........namely men. Indeed, men might only need to be standing together talking among themselves at the bar, or arriving as a pair at their table, or just simply being overheard rebuking one another in a distant corner of the play area.
However, radical feminism and androphobia are not the same thing and should not be confused. For a start, radical feminists are not fearful of men : they just prefer not to be in the presence of men, let alone partner any. Androphobia on the other hand is an abnormal and persistent fear of men, which is can be both irrational and nonsensical. It is a condition that has no valid explanation, but some psycho-analysts believe it is based on some deep-rooted past experience of men, which was both shocking and traumatic. Others claim it is based on a false belief that men are better and stronger players, seeing women as vulnerable prey, and easy targets. This predatory instinct is what many women find disturbing and upsetting, giving rise to feelings of anxiety and intrepidation, which of course later develop into paranoia and fear.
From my research, most of victims trace back their traumatic experiences of men to incidents that took place at their bridge clubs. These included men exploding into raging bulls, throwing huge tantrums and massive wobblies, and being involved in histrionic outbursts worthy of any Oscar winning actors. These incidents clearly had the effect of turning quiet, shy, harmless, innocent women into nervous wrecks, even when they were just standing nearby as gobsmacked observers. These memories would then stay with them permanently, ultimately changing the initial anxieties into a fully blown man-fearing phobias.
Not until governing bodies step in to address the aggressive and rude behaviour of men will androphobia in all its forms become a thing of the past. Often victims are forced to adopt all manner of self-help strategies. For instance, these include only partnering other females, and playing their duplicate bridge in day-time hours, where male players are a rarity. However in the USA some radical feminists have set up their own " women only " bridge clubs, which enable all chronic androphobics to turn their backs on men for once and for all.

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