The other day we were yet again talking about the difference, broadly speaking, between the position straight men are in when they first meet a woman and the position women are in when they first meet a man. Most women, when we first meet a man, start a running tab of “Things he does or doesn’t do that might indicate whether he’s going to fuck me up and/or kill me.” Most women I know talk about how difficult it is, when that’s what’s going on in the back of your mind, to be at ease around a guy you’ve just met and not come off just a hair stand-off-ish.
My straight guy friends, needless to say, don’t meet new women and start thinking “What are the chances this woman will fuck me up and/or kill me?”
Anyway, one of the things that I love about my dog is that I feel like she changes the equation. I notice this a lot when we’re out walking in the morning, because it’s imperative for me to check the faces of the people in the passing cars to make sure that they see me and are going to get over.
And I would say that 80% of the men that pass us either make little acknowledgment of us or they wave because they see us every day. And of the 20% who seem to register “Oh, that’s a woman,” half of them smile nicely or look a little sheepish and that’s it. But on our walks, there’s always at least one jackass who slows way down, as if to sum up the situation.
Yesterday, there was a Jeep full and they all slowed down and stared and then, after the passed, they all war-whooped. Now, clearly, this isn’t about how hot I look at 6:30 in the morning. It’s about them needing to feel a little rush at being a jackass. Fine. But then I have to judge the chances of that escalating into something that’s going to go unpleasantly for me.
And the thing is, with these types of guys, if you seem too “please don’t fuck with me,” that encourages them and if you seem too “don’t even try to fuck with me” that encourages them–I should stop this sentence now just to point out that there is no right way for a woman to navigate these situations. You never know what’s going to come across as daring them more than dissuading. I don’t need guidance in how to better judge fuckers; those fuckers need to behave.–you need to strike the right note of “it’s not worth the effort to fuck with me.”
I believe it’s very hard for a woman alone to carry herself in such a way that strikes that note. But a woman with a pit bull?
We strike that note, I think.
I was thinking about that this morning, as Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were headed out, because I needed to clear the rattle the guys in the Jeep had put in me.
And today, for the first time in ages, we saw someone else on our walk–a woman, jogging, carrying a large, narrow, wooden club.
And I smiled when I saw her, because I recognized that club for what it was, a signal that it’s not worth it to fuck with her.