A Disappointing Discussion

Detail of 'Ampersand' by Barry Deutsch, 1 September 2010.

This is not none of my business:

And even though I wanted to reply, to put each of those scared little baby men in their place, I held my tongue, I privated my account, and I waited in my car outside Ralph’s daycare until my hands stopped shaking and my heart slowed down.

I did this because unlike these men, with online pseudonyms, it’s me online. My face, my name. And because I am afraid of retaliation, I had to hide on the Internet the same way I’d have to run and lock my front door if this man had said that to my face.

That. Is. Rape. Culture.

It’s a group of men who are so threatened by the existence of female opinion that it’s nothing to them to toss off a tweet like that. Because, can’t I take a joke? Because, why am I such a bitch when a man just wants me to smile? Because, what business do I have posting a *gasp* selfie and telling men how to treat me?

This exchange, in the big scheme of things, is nothing. Really, these people are nothing to me and I could just keep ignoring it and pretend it never happened and hope that they let me slide out of their part of the Internet and stay on the sunny side. I’ve watched my husband die in my arms so on the scale of Shit That Matters, a few tweets… don’t.

Even in the big picture of the cesspool that is Twitter (Jack, dude, get it under control), this is nothing. Women experience worse. Every day.

That’s why this matters.

And this is stupid.

No, not what Nora McInerny Purmort has to say. No, no … that’s not what’s stupid. That she or anyone else still needs to say it is what’s stupid.

And, yes, I get to be disappointed that we must have this discussion.


Hey! Yo! Yeah, you! Dude!

Get it through your fucking skull, dude. It’s not your fucking business.

You know, we have a joke, guys. At least, I think. Once upon a time. In the eighties it was someone’s punch line about why we don’t talk to each other at the urinals. These days we say it about random violence, or someone just flipping out.

You never know what kind of day he’s having.

Now, we don’t really need to review the point of the joke, right? To the other, really? Is fearsome random machismo the only reason you can think of, dude? Is that the only reason it matters what kind of day anyone else is having?

Because it’s none of your business. You don’t know what kind of day she is having, either, and it’s none of your fucking business. She doesn’t need a reason, dude. Really, man, if the “reason” she is not smiling is because she happens to not, at this moment, be smiling, it’s still not your fucking business. Because you need to understand that you just don’t look very nice when you’re standing there like a dick telling her to smile. And you know how you’d be more attractive, dude? If you were somewhere else.

I am exceptionally disappointed; this discussion should not be necessary.

You’re supposed to be smarter than that. Get it the fuck through your fucking skull, dude.

It’s none of your fucking business.

Get over it.


Image note: Street Harassment ― Detail of Ampersand, by Barry Deutsch, 1 September 2010.

McInerny Purmort, Nora. “My Opinion Doesn’t Justify Your Rape Threats”. The Huffington Post. 6 November 2015.


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