Spent the evening at the cafe, most of it at a table with an older guy I know, a real gentle soul who has a way of listening to what is being said and then spinning it, centrifuging out the bare essences, and pulling them from the test tube to show them to you. It’s always great to talk with him. A young friend of his, a girl in her mid-20’s that he’d known closely for a while but I’d just met tonight, joined us, and we were having a good chat.
After an hour or so, another mutual friend, guy, long haired, walked up to our table, and was complaining about feeling invisible in this crowd of youngsters. My older buddy was nudging him to wear a dress to make himself less invisible. I mentioned that he would make one fine bearded lady. He laughed.
A minute later, this girl, the one I’d just met, began to roundhouse kick me over my “bearded lady” comment. In vague touchy-feely terms, she let on that she felt offended by my comment, not for herself, but because she knows an actual bearded lady or two. She then inferred that I should be made to confront a roomful of bearded ladies, make my comment, and then be shown my own teeth.
Is this woman for real? Is she actually taking my comment to task on equality grounds? Am I too insensitive to every race, color, creed, ethnicity, gender, gender identification, sexual preference, lifestyle choice, physical trait, and haircut known to all of humanity? Should I be ever vigilant and guard my words and thoughts at all times even if the offended party is not present nor accounted for when those thoughts and words are made manifest? This girl held a mirror up to my face, and I’m astonished that I could be so brazen, so cold, and so offensive. The nerve of me!
OK, I get it; she’s a 20-something with a psychology/sociology education and a checkered background trying to pull herself up and make the world a better place. I get it. With gender politics, everything becomes politicized. I get it. If you use a pen, you’re using a penis, because they have the same shape, and the penis is used to mark its territory on the virgin paper, which represents the vagina. I get it. It’s gender politics, and it’s about putting terms in places were, sometimes, terms really aren’t necessary.
Before I shortly closed the conversation and left, I told her that I would go home, get on Facebook, and find every bearded lady I can find and directly apologize to her because I was insensitive in my comment to a guy friend at a cafe. She was at least astute enough to pick up on my distaste for her politicization, but she carried on in earnest that I should follow through with my plan. Y’know, for the educational value.
I can’t believe I was that highly-principled and proximally offendable in my 20’s, but I was. It was a control thing, really. If I’ve learned anything in and after my 30’s, it’s that sometimes you just need to chill the fuck out and enjoy humor where it happens. Not everything is against you. Is that so wrong?