And NOT treated like date bait or, really, anything except another player at the table. I have fled from games where the other (male) players all stared at me as I sat down, like starving hyenas on the serengetti...
There is just nothing
attractive about gamer desperation.
Desperate people, I tend to think, are ugly no matter what the setting. It's a certain kind of extreme social immaturity combined with a nasty predatory angle -- they look at you and you can see in their eyes, "Oooh, look, a potential instrument of my will
has arrived!" It makes any "kindness" or "consideration" shown immediately suspect, and casts rudimentary friendliness in a creepy light. Even one creep in a group of otherwise good-intentioned gamers can make the group decidedly uncomfortable, especially if the other gamers don't police the bad apple effectively.
Having a Y chromosome, I never experienced sexual predation in a gaming circle, but...well, I was the player with the income, and the car, and in time, "You have money and we don't" became an excuse to expect me to buy the DM every new book he wanted, and to buy fairly elaborate spreads of snacks every week for the players. There were elements of the phony friendship and the constant pressure to "help a brother out," and many friendships badly soured from it. The feelings of being used and being kept around in the hopes I'd "put out" fiscally were similar to what I imagine female gamers endure in less enlightened gaming circles.
I always find it a little surprising when people talk about how hard it is to find female gamers, because most of the gamers I know are women, though it's closer to fifty-fifty when I take into account my entire sphere of moderate-acquaintanceship. I never noticed a gender bias in my gaming circles past junior high school.