I have a male friend who recently called me Alexis Colby. He has, at times, called me Bette Davis. He says it as a compliment, usually with unabashed affection and a big, fat smile. I eat it up most of the time.

Every once in a while, though, it gives me pause. Ten years ago, a woman I worked with at The Trenton Times once told me that because I always said she was a riot, she felt obligated to be funny around me all the time. I don’t think I fully understood that back then, but I do now.

I’m not always tough and sassy. I can be. Sometimes I like to be. I have a female friend who is also an independent sort. She has a strong male energy. No doubt about it, we can be “broads” with the best of ’em. People often love that we seem fearless and have a biting wit.

But here’s the rub. Sometimes we’re none of the above. What then?