“Leave me alone, I’m reading”

I’m so irritated today, so irritated, that I’m pretty sure I have a psychotic smile on my face.  That’s how bad it is.  Laughably bad.  Irritated by things that don’t matter, and some that do.

But one of the things that kind of just pushed me over the edge happened at the dentist today.

At first, I was happy because I had a new hygienist, and it was nice because she didn’t lecture me on the importance of having children (which, by the way, Zach doesn’t get this lecture) and how being a mom is the bestest thing ever, unless you have a daughter, and it becomes awful because she will turn into a mouthy little slut.  I kind of wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.  The last hygienist I had complained about her daughter being sinful with her boyfriend, and maybe being around too many gay people THE ENTIRE TIME.  She took like 45 minutes cleaning my teeth because she spent so much time freaking out about this.  And while sometimes I might dress like an elderly woman, and while my music tastes reflect that of someone in their 90s, I don’t give any shits about teenagers doing teenager-y things.  If it’s not on my lawn, I don’t care.  And as a personal philosophy, I am judging a parent SO HARD if they put moral judgments and conditional love on their kids.  SO HARD ARE MY JUDGMENTS.

So the new lady was awesome and talked about her dogs the whole time and how much fun it is to sleep.  My kind of person.

But after my appointment I had to wait for Zach to finish his.  So I brought The Sound and the Fury to read while I waited.  It was fine until this guy, middle-aged, came in and said,

“Wow, The Sound and the Fury.  Classic.”

I nodded politely and went back to reading.

Like the asshole he ended up being, he went on,

“Are you reading that for school, or for pleasure?”

“Pleasure.”  I continued reading.

I know I’m spoiling things, but like the biggest asshole ever, he continued,

“Wow, I don’t ever see girls like you and your age reading books like that.  All girls your age just have their faces in their phones.  I see all the girls at high school wandering around staring at their phones all day.  That’s all they do.”

Looking at him appalled, and also wondering how old he thinks I am.  He continues:

“I don’t want you to get offended by this, but this is true:  This is better than an IUD (pulls out phone).  Honestly!  Girls would rather be on their phones than have sex.  Pretty soon, the Pope will be recommending them.  Don’t you agree?”

At this point, I’m beyond anywhere near my comfort zone, in fact I’ve lost all semblance of any grounding.  I continued to read and tried my best to ignore him.

I’m honestly not blowing this out of proportion.  In fact, I left out all the creepy body language, and most of what he said, because it mostly was just offensive and implied I was a teenage girl.  I’m pushing 30!

When Zach was finally done, I told him the exchange, and he was appalled, but also surprised I didn’t blow up at the guy.  I asked, “What was I supposed to do?  Tell him he’s being a sexist asshole and to stop talking to me?  Because then I’d be ‘making a scene’ in the office and people would think it was me being rude.”

It wasn’t like the guy was blatantly trying to be awful.  And I guarantee every girl has a story like this one.  I have a million more.  Some guy will seemingly be friendly, and totally be a creep in an underhanded way, and there’s nothing you can do.  This happened ALL THE TIME when I was a teenager, but I never understood why I was uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, when people treat me like this, I still don’t know what to do.  “Family” members do this.  The last family wedding I went to, this happened.  But what am I supposed to do?  Everyone writes off my complaints as, “that’s just the way he is/he doesn’t mean anything by it.”

Well you know what?  It’s unacceptable.  I should haven’t to worry about a creepy uncle coming at me with disgusting and inappropriate comments about my mind or body, just because he’s been a creepy asshole forever.  You know why he’s a creepy asshole?  No one told him to stop.  And everyone told anyone who complained that it was fine that he was like that.

If this was an isolated event, I’d be pissed, but I would ultimately brush it off.  But this isn’t isolated.  I’ve had to put up with this shit my whole life.  And today was so blatant and obvious that it kind of hurt my feelings a little bit.  That’s it.  It hurt my feelings.  It hurt for someone to imply that because I was young (apparently I have a calling in undercover work at high schools) and pretty, that it was a miracle I was reading a “real” book.  It hurt my feelings that he was talking about women’s bodies like something that needed to be controlled, like sex is something bad, it’s the teenage girl’s “fault” for getting pregnant, and luckily girls are so dumb and shallow they won’t have sex.  It hurts.  And for some reason, there’s definitely a weird psychological thing that happens when an older person talks down to me, like I don’t have the right to stand up for myself.

So when someone is so hurtful, even though he’s smiling and laughing like it’s all lighthearted, like it’s no big deal, it’s hard to find that voice inside myself to say, “Stop.  You’re an awful human being.  Leave my sight immediately.”

Because this is normal.  This is so so normal.  But it’s not right!

I mean, eventually, I WILL become an elderly woman, and I won’t have a problem saying what’s on my mind, because elderly people are awesome like that.  Until then, I guess I need to work up the courage to politely tell people off.  I’m sure there’s a WikiHow tutorial, if not, I will dedicate years of research and figure out how to do it.

So FYI, after a quick search, my favorite thing was on reddit and my favorite response was: “I ask you to slowly and carefully go fuck yourself.”

That may be not helpful, but it gave me a chuckle.  And that will definitely be my response when I’m old, and knitting.

Until next time.