Saturday, September 15, 2012


I was enjoying a mimosa and some Irish breakfast earlier at one of Queens' hidden gems, a restaurant with an open back porch and a truly relaxing atmosphere, sheltered from Queens Blvd., aka the Boulevard of Death, when the manager or some other in-charge type looked at me askance and inquired, "What happened--did you get stood up?"

"Nope, just enjoying some lunch," I replied, once again drawn into a one-down conversation by a male, a male making assumptions about me based entirely on my gender and/or appearance, and the attendant script. While a rude thing to do, this sort of condescension from the general male is such a commonplace occurrence that more and more I don't have it in me to get angry, more like...tired, tired and sad. Sad for them that they cannot let go of their apparent need to dictate what my presence as a woman in the world means (Out alone? Must have been rejected by a man), which then means they are also refusing my content, refusing to see me as someone with knowledge or humor to share, as someone they, too, could learn from, whereas I'd prefer not to act as a specter for their preconceived notions. I'm saddened that they can't just let go of their projections, which cloud their vision until they are not seeing me at all, even as they comment with authority on who or what they think they are seeing.

And I wonder, how repressed a worldview must one have to believe there's something wrong with a lady reading and eating alone in public? Even in the so-called progressive West, my very presence as an individual is up for grabs. The males continue to offer unsolicited remarks just about daily, breaking me down into disparate body parts, a non-human assemblage to be assessed by natural superiors. They continue to demand attention, to creep me regardless of what I want and don't want, including at work, as if they are entitled to do so, as if it's at all appealing to be followed about an office or a street, especially after making that total lack of appeal quite clear.

Though I feel I've only grown better, stronger and clearer here in my thirties, it would seem the general males of the world have not grown along with me, in that they pity me for things that do not bother me. Or seek to praise me for my appearance on the street, or on public transportation, or at work, in the case of in-house harasser, as if they're imparting something I need or want: their approval.

Of course, none of the latter is about me, but my shell and though this perhaps shouldn't still surprise me, it does, the way so many males do seem to see me as nothing more than an object, or more of an object than a whole person with an internal tapestry, as captured by my building porter's happy exclamation upon seeing me exit the building: "There it is!"


And so It goes.