The other night I was hanging out with a (male) friend and some of his (male) friends, one of whom I’ve met before but don’t know that well. Let’s call him “Terry”. I was telling them this story of my adventures on the subway a couple weeks past, which was entertaining to all because I’m an excellent storyteller. I attributed my intense reaction to the subway dude calling me a “fat bitch” to the fact that I hadn’t had any previous contact with him. I usually only get called a name like that when I do something like chide men who harass women on the street.
One of the guys asked me if I really did that, and I said: Hell yes. I usually turn to the harassing/catcalling guy, shake my finger, and say NO, like I’m talking to a dog or a very tiny child. If I have a newspaper in my hand, I wave it threateningly like I’m about to smack someone’s nose and possibly rub that nose in some poo.
As you can imagine, this does not always go over well.
Anyway, as I was talking about this, Terry asked me what exactly was wrong with telling women on the street he thinks they’re beautiful or are wearing nice clothes. Oh people. SMH But it just got worse, because when I said that women do not dress nicely so that they can be objectified by men, Terry protested that that’s exactly what they did. That if they dressed like that, they were doing so for everybody, not for themselves.
During the course of one of the most aggravating conversations I’ve had in a while (including the one with the guy on the subway) Terry proceeded to hit just about every square on the male privilege bingo card and then invented a few more just to prove what a raging sexist dickwad he is. People, the rage I felt was so palpable that I was on point of throwing a drink in his face just to give him something different to talk about so I wouldn’t have to punch him in the mouth. My friend stopped me, though. Literally held me back.
It was a night.
As I said in that other post, I know that men like this exist in the world, but it’s really rare for me to have to deal with one in the flesh. This is because I’m apparently a very lucky girl in that the men in my circle of friends and acquaintances tend to be good guys. There might be some cluelessness here and there, a misstep, a misunderstanding. But I don’t spend time around guys who make me see red and want to throw a drink.
And because this is the norm for me, I forget that this is a luxury in my life, and I should probably cheer about it more often. Yes, I know that the behaviors and attitude I’m talking about should be the norm for all guys and that to celebrate people doing what they should be doing to begin with is problematic, but I don’t think an appreciation every once and a while is too out of line, right?
So, to the guys in my life: thanks for being awesome, decent men and good friends. I’m sure other women and men in your life appreciate it, too. Even if they don’t always say so.