Well, last night it was confirmed… I’m an asshole.
Let me set the scene where my insensitivity was authenticated that not only am I am jerk but I am also not interested in helping the “causes that generations of women have been fighting for”.
I was sitting, minding my own business waiting for a pizza. That’s it! Sitting there, playing a mind numbing game on my phone with my headphones in, listening to a podcast on the 5,000 year old “Iceman” that was found in the Alps. Life at that moment was pretty good, even if waiting for a pizza is a little irritating being a fat guy and all. Out of the corner of my eye I see a woman walk to from the counter to the waiting area by me. There were 8 chairs in the area and all were being used, so I stood up, smiled and made a gesture to the young lady that she could have my chair to wait. THAT was obviously NOT the thing for me to do.
I couldn’t hear her response, but could see the OUTRAGE in her face. She pointed at the chair and then turned her back to me. It was the look in the other patrons eyes that made me pull my earbuds out of my ears and take in what happened. At first I didn’t move or say anything but being mildly dumb, I approached the now angered women and said, “I’m sorry, I was just offering you my chair.” and then smiled. I was not ready for the reply…
“What would make you think that I would want your chair? Because I am a woman? Because I look tired? Because it would make you feel good about yourself?” Huh… maybe all three? (I said in my head and for ONCE time in my life, didn’t allow it to pour out of my mouth)
What I did say was “I was just wanting to be polite.” Not good enough. She, calmly now, said that it was that my patriarchal attitude was hurting the causes that generations of woman have been fighting for and losing ground on. She told me that her whole life (I found out she was 24) she has been left out of the “boys club” of life and that if she really wanted to sit down, she was confident enough to ask for a chair or to stand there just as long as any man. She told me that asking her to use her chair was a “micro-aggression” and in school she is learning how to deal with them.
Now, I had NO IDEA at that moment what a “micro-aggression” was at the time so now fully engrossed in this interaction I asked! She told me that it was something that a person says or does that triggers feeling and/or emotions in another person that can be considered rude, aggressive, inappropriate or damaging. She said that those years of men opening doors for women are over because women are more than capable of opening doors for themselves, they can work the same jobs, should make the same money and should have all the same rights as men in this “man dominated, patriarchal society”.
Now she is schooling me at this point. I am almost taking notes! I am also going through the catalog in my head of interaction with people and wondering how many “micro-aggressions” I have caused lately. Was I being insensitive by opening the door for that woman at the bank the day before? Did I cause hardship by saying “Good morning, how are you?” to that guy at my work? I was baffled that I did something to this woman that would cause her to be damaged or feel was rude or ruin her day. I am possibly the worst person in the world! I obviously hate women and any sort of equal rights! I am a full fledged member of the “HE MAN’S WOMAN HATERS CLUB”!!
But then it dawned on me, as I said goodbye and walked to my car with dinner… I was NOT the asshole in that conversation. By me offering my chair to her I had good intentions, love the fight for equality and, being the father to a daughter and grandfather to a little baby girl, want all people to be treated fairly no matter the age, creed, culture, religion, sex, and anything else! (I probably just micro-argessed people right there by leaving somebody out)
SHE DON’T KNOW ME! (I miss Jerry Springer)
If this is what is being taught in schools and universities today, then just… WOW. I am afraid of the “social justice warriors” of today. Not everyone is out to get you. Offering a chair to you does not demean you or take away your power as woman, a human, a student, or anything else. I really hope that this other human (I am probably saying woman too much because I was just informed that I don’t know how she self identifies) puts away her sword and takes out her scalpel. I do not think that I am the enemy. I KNOW that there are a lot of issues out there that this kind of logic can apply. I see it every day on TV, in politics and in life. I hate that people are treated differently. We are all one race and have the ability to love and look after each other. I am also not making light of anyone who feels like her in their life. I know the struggle is real.
So, young person or human or carbon based life form, waiting for your Little Cesar’s Pizza last night, here are a few things that I wish for you:
- I wish that you stay in school and learn a TON.
- I wish that what you learn, just because it is in a book, on-line, or told to you by somebody you respect doesn’t mean that it is true. Learn from experience.
- I wish that when you measure a person who is being nice to you, that you don’t immediately look to make them out to be a bad person. There ARE some nice people out there.
- I wish that you enjoyed your $5 pizza last night with friends that made you laugh and feel comfortable.
And most of all… I wish all the success for life.
I don’t know if this is a rant or a story or what, but I did learn two things about myself last night. I don’t Little Cesar’s Pizza and I don’t understand this “Social Justice Warrior” movement. It seems counter intuitive to me for people who call themselves progressive.