My friend and I were in her kitchen reading a text in ancient Greek, and we were trying to come up with a good translation of a certain word. Her boyfriend walked in and, having heard two seconds of the conversation, starts spitting out a billion synonyms we could use. Note that he does not know what word we are talking about, he does not know anything about the language, and he didn’t even know what we were reading. So my friend pointed out that his input was both unwanted and useless (but, you know, nicely) and that it was actually distracting us from our work. Then he tried to squirm into our conversation about possible proto-feminist themes in the play we were reading: a play that he had never heard of and knew absolutely nothing about. After being shut out of this again, he somehow pulled us into some drawn-out shouting match about feminism (which he is obviously the expert on, as the household’s sole ‘educated’ leftist male) and how we were bad at it. Naturally, we didn’t get any more work done that night.
I always start my new package of birth control on a Sunday. Today, I pulled out a new package and started to open it before realizing it was actually Saturday. I commonly talk to myself, and added an “oops, never mind, it’s Saturday” as I set it down. My boyfriend took this opportunity to educate me on how it “doesn’t actually matter if the pills correspond to the days written on the package” and how it’s all “just the same hormones”. Thanks honey, but I’ve been taking birth control for 6 years now, I think I know how it works.
Backstory for non-New Yorkers: the F and M trains, which run on the same track through most of Manhattan, are separated by a flight of stairs at the Essex stop. This means that if you’re going to Herald Square, as I do very often, you get to wait on the flight of stairs and keep an eye on both platforms to figure out which one is coming first. This unwieldy system has been in place for a while, without improvements, to the point where the NYT actually wrote an article about it. At any given time there are numerous people awkwardly drifting up and down the stairs as they wait for the train. It’s worth mentioning that there were quite a few people doing this when the incident happened.
I too was doing the awkward stair-wait when a young man approached me and asked if I was lost.
“No,” I said, “I’m fine.”
“You look lost.”
“I’m not, I’m just waiting to see which train comes first.”
He proceeded to explain to me that my plan would not work, because they are different trains that go to different places. I told him he was wrong and that they both went to my stop. He disagreed, telling me that those trains do not go to any of the same stops.
The conversation finally degenerated into yelling. He cursed at me and stormed off muttering about how he was “just trying to help.”
I went on a trip with my boyfriend and his two male best friends this week and between the three of them it seemed I was always wrong about something and needed countless lectures throughout the trip. I will share two stories in particular.
1. When my boyfriend and I started dating he couldn’t cook whatsoever and at his request I helped and encouraged him to grow his skills, particularly by teaching him how to make breakfast items like scrambled eggs. On the trip he was in charge of breakfast and I asked him if he needed an extra pair of hands. He went on to explain that I should “get a medium sized bowl, crack 2 eggs per person into the bowl, get a whisk, quickly whisk the eggs until mixed, get out a pan…” without pausing he in depth explained step by step the minute details of making scrambled eggs, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I taught him how to make these eggs in the first place. Clearly the act of having made them a couple times coupled with his natural manly superiority to make him into a master egg chef.
2. Today we were just mindlessly eating dinner and decided to watch the second half of the Hunger Games that was on TV. My boyfriend couldn’t remember some detail about the plot and asked a question. I (while not necessarily a fan but having read all the books and seen the movie multiple times) started to answer, but was immediately interrupted by my boyfriend’s best friend, who quickly preceded to lecture me on how I had gotten it wrong, and then went on to explain to me the plot of the movie in a condescending monologue, not stopping to hear me when I tried to tell him: “please, you don’t need to do this I know the story” multiple times. Apparently whether I had seen the movie before was totally unimportant to him.
I have suffered from endometriosis for the past decade. My doctor had exhausted every treatment option but hysterectomy, but he wanted to send me to a doctor who was would be more aware of whether or not any new treatments had been developed.
The visit with the new doctor began with a drawing of the female reproductive organs. He then started by saying: “these are your ovaries, this is where eggs grow. This is your uterus, this is where the baby grows.” When I told him I knew that (everyone who took high school health knows this), he got angry and yelled at me to be quiet, HE was the doctor, after all.
He then explained endometriosis to me. While I understand that he is the expert and I’m not, I’ve suffered from this condition for ten years, so if your explanation does not contain any information that can’t be found on the wikipedia page for the condition, it’s safe to assume that I, or any long-term sufferer of said condition already knows the information you are presenting.
Then he offered a reinterpretation of his purpose: he was not, as my doctor had suggesting, confirming that everything had been done before something as drastic as hysterectomy, he was going to make sure that I was able to have children someday. I told him that I did not want to have children, that I never have, to which he replied, again practically yelling at me, “That’s what you say you want!”
I HOPE this has been posted by someone already:
“I’ve had a lot of people who’ve been calling me — I don’t know what it is — the last couple weeks, about wanting to get involved in politics, or you want to run,” Ford said on his weekly Newstalk 1010 radio show.
“I encourage people, I encourage people, I’ve always encouraged people — especially females. We need more females in politics. And it seems everyone says, ‘Oh, it’s male-dominated.’ Well, call me. Call me at home — 233-6934, 416-233-6934 — and [I’ll or we’ll] go for a coffee, and explain how politics works. You have to be over the age of 18, a Canadian citizen, and live in Toronto. And the rest is up to you, how hard you want to work.””
I was at an academic conference with my father (he’s in the same field as I am - he’s a prof and I’m a PhD student). We were heading to a restaurant I had found for dinner that was right beside the hostel I was staying in. As we were walking, my father took a wrong turn (he had never looked at the map as to where it was) and I called after him. He turned around and explained that “this was the way!”. I said that no, it wasn’t. He got angry, dismissed me, indicated that I was being stubborn and was always on his case about everything. Eventually he did follow me, and we got to the restaurant (as I was right). We got into a shouting match on the side of the road where he exclaims “I’m just used to being the leader in my professional life” and I yelled back “THIS IS YOUR FAMILY. YOU ARE NOT THE LEADER. YOU ARE A MEMBER”. He then made some snide comment (just to get a rise out of me) that he was the man, so obviously he WAS the leader.
I almost threw my shoe at his face.
I completed my Master’s education in a different province than I am originally from. I was at a party in that different province having a nice conversation with someone who had briefly lived in my home province. I can’t remember exactly how the conversation got into the topic of Members of Parliament, but the fellow made a comment about the political stripes of the MPs from my home that was grossly inaccurate. I politely corrected him, but he was very adamant that I was wrong and he was right. Ok. So let’s put aside that I was in the middle of my M.A. in Canadian Politics, and the fact that I had worked on numerous federal campaigns in my home province. But this was my home. I could name all the MPs from my home. But I HAD to be wrong, and he HAD to be right because he had lived there for, like, 8 months! Obviously he was correct. Ass.
It’s amazing how many times similar things have happened to me. Had another fellow try to tell me why people vote in elections the way they do (it’s because of the party leader, apparently). I tried to explain that A) that’s not how the Canadian political system works, and B) although some people definitely cast their ballot based on who the leader is, it is not a universal truth. Things like party affiliation and who the local candidate is plays a major role, not to mention a host of other factors. But nope. I couldn’t be right. “Let’s agree to disagree” he says. Umm.. nope. Because you’re wrong. I think an M.A. in political science knows a *touch* more on the subject than Mr. High School Diploma who doesn’t vote.
The other day I was at a bus shelter waiting for a bus. This older man (late 70’s, I’m guessing) began talking to me. He started asking me what grade I’m in and why I wasn’t at school (it was around 2:00pm - but I’m 19 and in University, although I admit I look about 15). I proceeded to correct him politely. He asked me what I’m doing in University, and I told him that at the moment I was undecided but trying different courses to figure something out. He tried to agree - “Oh these days there is so much to do. You could be a nurse, or a teacher, or…” and then he was stumped. Absolutely stumped until I got on the bus.
My boyfriend and I run a sales office together, and one of my responsibilities is to train all new hires on how to sell our product. One day I had a new guy come in for training who was about 25 years older than me and had sold this product before for the far less productive sales team that we replaced. We got set up at our work location and I started introducing him to some of our basic sales techniques, in this case, icebreakers, or little innocuous jokes to get customers comfortable at the sales stand. I don’t get two sentences in before he interrupts me:
Him: I’m gonna stop you right there and tell you that I’m not going to do that.
Me: Do what?
Him: Icebreakers. I think it’s highly unprofessional.
Me: I mean, the jokes we use are totally harmless can really only help your likability to customers, which will make you more sales.
Him: Well, if [boyfriend] wants to come out here and train me, then maybe I’ll try it.
Me: That isn’t going to happen. I’m the trainer for this office and have trained every successful sales representative that we have.
Him: Well, if we’re out here today and you end up with twice the sales that I get, then I might consider doing it your way. But, you’re a woman, so I already expect you to make more sales than me, so even if you do double me, that still doesn’t mean your way is better.
Keep in mind that I have never seen any evidence that female salespeople do better than men in this job, and neither has my boyfriend, who’s done this job for all of his adult life. Additionally, while I consistently sell 40-60 units per week, the trainee doing the same job for the old team never sold more than 25.
Later that day, the trainee makes it clear that while he doesn’t think innocuous jokes are professional, he’s very comfortable with grabbing women’s arms as they try to walk away from the stand and then sweet talk them so they can’t get mad at his invasion of their personal space. He is bewildered when I tell him that touching strangers without their permission is not allowed at our sales stand.
I was on my way to an orchestra rehearsal the other day, and on reaching my bus stop, set my double bass down. A guy moved over to make room for me, which was nice, and commented that I must be very strong to carry such a big cello. I thanked him for the compliment, but informed him that it was in fact a bass. He refused to listen, going on and on about how great cellos were and trying to explain to me how much he ‘loved’ cello music and how great it was by going on about Vivaldi and the Four Seasons (not that he knew what it was called) for a while, along with several violinists, and continuing to ignore me when I tried again to explain that he was thinking of the wrong instrument.
When an actual cellist from my orchestra showed up with her instrument, he informed her that it was in fact a violin- the cello was the huge thing I was holding, according to him- and continued to insist as much for the whole bus ride until the cellist and I got off. How exactly he thought said cellist would be able to hold an instrument half her size against her neck and play, he never said.
Last week, the president of my company tasked me with making to-scale representations of desks/shelves/tables out of post-it notes to stick onto a floor plan.
“So I brought you this ruler,” he said, and put the plastic instrument we’ve all seen and used since grade school on my desk. “And this side is the centimeters, and you see that I need some of these to be, y’know, half a centimeter by one centimeter. So you look at the little markings, and this is one centimeter, and…”
So I sat, in shocked silence, while he explained to me how centimeters worked. Honestly, I was just very proud of myself for not laughing in his face.
During my first week of graduate school I decided to check out the dining hall to see if the food was any good. Well, I sat down at a booth facing a boy sitting at this table. I nodded and then began eating. Out of nowhere he tries to engage me in a talk on linguistics, proudly showing off everything he knows. I nod along because I’m just polite to a fault. Then he gets up from his table and takes a seat next to me in my booth. He’s practically touching me. I’m not comfortable with this. He sees that I have a Latin book and then proceeds to lecture me on Latin grammar, after admitting he had never taken Latin before. On the other hand, I had three years worth of college Latin under my belt. But I continue to nod along.
Then he suddenly starts talking about Spanish and I mention I know Spanish. He then gives me a fifteen minute lecture on Spanish, my first language. And then proceeds to explain culture in Latin America to me. I’m Guatemalan and he’s not Hispanic. I’m very irritated by this boy but can’t seen to find a way to tell him to go away. It wasn’t until he claimed he was an expert on Spanish that I finally got up the courage to walk away. Thanks dude. I don’t know how I could have understood my own language without you. The kicker was that he was a Freshman too.
A few years back I suffered from depression. My parents urged me to make good use of all the help available to get better, so I started going to a psychologist, I took anti-depression medication, and I attended group-sessions, where we each told our stories and supported each other in getting better.
I was doing better, but then started spiralling downwards again. Therefore I went to my doctor to discuss this development, wondering if perhaps I should take more education; mainly, I just needed professional advice on my condition.
This was a new doctor, not the one who had prescribed the meds in the first place. He asked to explain my situation, what had happened to me before and during my depression. I explained as best I could - including that before it all went wrong, I had lived with my boyfriend in another country, but that we made the mutual decision to break it off because I had to move back to my own country to study.
After I was finished talking, this is the piece of advice he gave me (I’ll never forget it):
“Alright, so, you fired your boyfriend, you went to live in a new city, to study a new course. And it’s all a bit much, and a little hard, and you are a little bit confused about what you want. So it’s all been a little sucky. You’ve set all kinds of wheels in motion, and you’ve been prescribed medication, and, well, maybe that was okay. I don’t know what thoughts that went into giving you that. But you can stop taking them. What you would really benefit from is just to sit down and think a little about what you want in life.”
I was in absolute shock. I couldn’t fathom the level of belittling I was facing from this man who had known me for all of five minutes. My journal was up on his computer, right there on the screen, and it read, from my very first session with my previous doctor, “Brother attended session because patient has suicide thoughts.”
I said: “I need you to understand something. This is not a make-believe depression. This is a real depression.”
He said, “I don’t doubt you believe that.”
I left there in tears. My psychologist (a woman, by the way) was outraged by his behaviour, and offered to supply him with the test she had made me take, the one that diagnosed me with “Severe depression”. I had a talk with him about it later, where he excused his “perhaps poor choice of words” and accepted that I maintain my medication, but we never saw eye to eye. My mistake was ever going back to that place.
A year later he casually let me ween myself off the medication in just a month. While this brought on some heavy mood swings, “luckily” this was overshadowed by the fact that I lay in bed nearly a week with symptoms of withdrawal. Truly a terrible experience.
I had written a piece online about the Russian film director Andrey Tarkowski. A few days later I received a mail from a man about by age starting with “How wonderful to see a woman who knows of Tarkowski! that’s quite rare…” and proceeded to write a list of other directors to check if I knew of them (probably hoping to be able to educate me) and about what a great artist he himself was, hoping we could meet.
I replied that implying women don’t know about film history was a bit rude and that his mail seemed elitist and I that didn’t want to meet him.
He then answered “I don’t see why it’s such a taboo to discuss differences between the genders! Do you have any idea what the taste of common people is like? It’s not just women, most people don’t know about Tarkowski, what bubble are you living in?”
Which pretty much summed up what a dick he was once and for all…