i announced some time ago that i would be posting about the three worst things men have ever said to me.
i have since changed my mind.
instead, i think i will just periodically post about some of the more notable things men have said to me, both good ("yippety-yap") and bad (bad = wow, my version of the world is different from yours).
the night before i moved to san francisco i was with my sister in a bar in boston. and the two of us were waiting for her then-boyfriend (now-husband) to join us. we were seated at one end of the bar, and two men were seated at the other end of the bar, perpendicularly.
like this (but please excuse the diagram because my sister only has MS "Paint" and a sad, uncontrollable mouse):
(here, the men are in black and my sister is purple-ish and i am pink, and we look like we are doing some choreographed tap dance a la Shuffling Off To Buffalo but really we were just seated at bar stools.)
now, to set the stage, you must consider a few things.
first, remember that while boston is one of the more liberal cities in the US, parts of it tend to like its liberalism Old School. like, kennedys: good / them crazies out in california: bad.
second, this was about 3 weeks after 9-11. "patriotism" was rabid.
finally, i may be cute and all, but at that time i was not in the best place. i was divorcing, not in great shape, not particularly happy, and not especially receptive to men in bars. (plus i was sitting next to my 23-year old sister who was not divorcing, in great shape, seemingly happy, and charming to men in bars.)
so. the two guys are engaging my sister in conversation while being standoffish with me (and vice versa). and they get on the topic of where everyone lives. they are locals and my sister is too and oh--no, i am not.
"she's actually moving to san francisco tomorrow!" my sister mentions.
and shortly afterwards she excuses herself to go to the ladies' room. leaving me, the chubby older bitter sister, at the bar with two construction workers from south boston.
who just stared at me. while i gave the perfunctory smiles and kept drinking my drink.
until finally one of them looked squarely at me. and squinted a bit.
southie dude, thickly accented: so uh, sayn francisco, eyh?
the guy continued to squint at me. and think. and then offered helpful information.
southie dude: the's a lotta gays theya.
much more squinting ensued, but then the guy smirked in a not-good way. and spoke.
southie dude: ah you a gay?
uh, pardon me? what did you just ask me? you, who have not spoken one word to me all night? did you just ask me if i am *a* gay? a GAY?
my mind boggled at how many things were wrong with that question. it was so completely disrespectful, i was just dumbfounded. i barely managed to eek out an answer.
me: uh. um. no....
and then both guys laughed. because isn't that so funny?
i just sat there, silently.
so okay, maybe at first this might not seem like such an inappropriate or offensive question to you. but i assure you it is.
because for some reason, this man thought it was okay to ask me -- a young woman he didn't know and wasn't even being friendly with -- about my personal life. my sex life. and also thought it was okay to generalize about me, my life, my soon-to-be home city, and also to laugh about the gay population at large.
while wearing a "9-11 Never Forget" t-shirt.
and so his question remains one of the most disrespectful things any guy has ever said/asked me. and to this day i am haunted by the fact that i didn't have it in me (then) to give him the verbal smackdown he so deserved.
but at least i've shared it here.