Women, You Don’t Owe Men Shit

A few months ago, I was in a thrift store just checking out the furniture selection for my newly single lifestyle when a dude decided that he deserved some space in my life. “How are you? How ARE you? HOW ARE YOU?” He asked more and more frantically and loudly as I continued to ignore him. As is typical for me, I had my headphones in and zero interest in beginning a conversation with a middle-aged straight white man (who also happened to be shopping with his wife/female partner).

“Hi,” I said, after his third obnoxious proclamation in my direction. I wanted to continue looking at what I was interested in, and in order to do so, I had to stroke a man’s ego. You can’t ignore men. It drives them insane.

Here’s my argument to you today: Let’s make them insane.

And while we’re at it, let’s make men afraid.

Women are always taught to make ourselves smaller, to not take up too much space, to let others cause a ruckus. There’s fear for our safety, fear for our likeability, and most importantly according to society, advertising, and media, fear that men will not want to fuck us if we are too. Too loud, too confident, too bold, too hairy, too masculine, too muscly, too anything. We have to stay in our lanes, in our boxes, don’t push, don’t question.

I’m here to say: question.

Why do men think they can call us “sweetie” as we pass by on our way to class or look us up and down as if they are planning on consuming us? Why do we let them?

I’m not arguing that all situations are safe or easy to push back in. If it’s late at night, you’re alone, and in a non-public space, that’s maybe not the best time to get in someone’s face.

But.

If you feel safe, but pissed, violated, frustrated, sick of men’s shit – tell them. Tell them that they can go fuck themselves. Refuse to be smaller. Reject their attempt to make you fell lesser. No one can do that without your consent (paraphrasing my girl Eleanor).

The next time some dude gets too close to you in the grocery store line, hit him with your bag “accidentally,” tell him you need more space, start to act real weird and loudly burp or fart – just remind him you are human and he needs to back. the. fuck. up.

And when you do this, don’t apologize. Even if it’s insincere. Men are never sorry. Don’t give them your apologies. They need to earn it.

One of my favorite things is bumping into men and having them apologize to me. Try this experiment: every time you walk past a man, don’t move out of the way. Most of the time, he’s not going to either. He’s used to people catering to him. This is going to lead to you bumping into each other. Trust me. Almost every day I bump into a man.

And you know what? Sometimes it leads to a hurt shoulder. But you know what else it leads to? Satisfaction. Own. Your. Space. You matter. Act like it.

Coming Out – 1 Year Later

Once you know you can’t unknow. Once you see the potential on the other side, the glittery, rainbowy, sparkling, amazing other side, you can’t turn around. There was a timespan of about two months between meeting a woman that literally took my breath away and being diagnosed with a major illness and then about three months between diagnosis and finally realizing that, “Oh shit, I am GAY.” It was kind of a lot happening at once.

Figuring out your sexuality – especially later in life – is not an easy process. There are so many layers to deciding to forego one sex for all eternity and committing to a label (labels are surprisingly something I, as a commitmentphobe, are fond of.) So much letting go of past assumptions of yourself, what you thought you always knew and were even proud of. Telling everyone you know that, “Whoops, got it wrong the first time I came out to ya. Here we are again!” But then there’s also the slight disappointment when no one is surprised at all but you.

So many things have dawned on me since I first started thinking I could be gay those many months ago. How I never looked at attractive men and thought, “Yes, I would like to sleep with/smush faces with them.” How I always wanted to be the cool male characters in movies or in t.v. shows – the Dr. House or the Michael Bluth – but never wanted to have the sex with them. How I really just kind-of wanted to cohabitate and have their awesomeness become my awesomeness.

One of my favorite songs is called Dear Me by Eric Hutchinson. In it, he writes a love letter to his past self. He tells him that everything is ok on the other side. That he will make it through and that the struggle will all be worth it. So…

Dear Me,

You GAY. You have to go. You have to give up the safety and security that you just got after a lifetime of uncertainty and you have to jump. You’re not gonna be fine. You’re gonna be better than ever. Your illness is going to stay under control. Stop worrying so much. It’s your one life. You gotta live it. Start now.

Love,

Me