Posted by: sgrahampdxedu | December 6, 2007

A Mani Moment

I was out studying diligently for our final paper at the bar the other night, my book up next to the peanuts–so green and orange, and the FEMINIST plastered all over the cover.  The guy next to me couldn’t help but sneak a peak.  I saw the word catch his eye.  He turned rotated his stool until his body was angled toward mine. 

“Feminism, huh?”  He was mid forties, out late at a shit-hole bar.  Does that say anything about him?  About me?

“You studying Feminism?”  No.  At midnight, I am sitting at dive, drinking shitty coffee with no creamer because they don’t even know what soy-milk is reading Charlotte Bunch for the thirtieth time purely for the enjoyment of it.

“yeah–I’ve got a paper due soon.” Please take the hint.  He doesn’t take the hint.  He plows right into what sounds like a conversation he has had before.  He is a teacher, he tells me, at a high school, who proudly teaches his students about feminism.  He tells me how he tells them about the difference in wages–and then asks–you read any Friedan?  What was that book she wrote?”

“The feminine mystique.”  He wants me to congratulate him–I want to tell him feminism has come a long way since the 60’s.  I want to tell him that bell hooks would probably reach his students better–or Adrienne Rich, or Gloria Anzaldua.  I start to say something–but he’s not really listening to me–he is a teacher.  “bell hooks” I say–“you should check out Friedan” he says.

I feel like the beginning of Lata Mani’s piece.  This dude didn’t want to have a conversation with me, he wanted to demonstrate his advancement, wanted to teach me.  It was really a disconcerting feeling, to be so wholly overlooked as a source of relevant information… 

…seemed postable…

…happy winter break time everyone…      

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Responses

  1. Thanks for posting this. I appreciate your perspective.

    I feel like small tales like this speak volumes to me, far more than any book or essay that Freidan or Mani could write. Not to say that their writings are not valid, as I do get a lot out of them. However, I’m the woman who needs to learn things for myself, and to analyze my life on my own. I cannot related to anyone else and their experience, only becasue we are simply not the same person.

    I too had a similar experience, although not as irritating. I brought my FTR to my favorite neighborhood bar (I’m sensing a pattern here) to do some reading and writing. I found that anytime someone walked by my table, they would slow down and read the cover of the book. I try to give most of them the benifit of the doubt, that maybe they were just looking at what I was reading to see if it was something they had read and maybe we could discuss. However, there was one endearing gentleman (note sarcasm here) who walked by and told me I just needed a boyfriend. What?! Thankfully he was on his way out the door. I admit I didn’t react the way I always think I will when somone does something like that. I always think I will get riled up and angry and lash out. However, I was a little shocked and at a loss for words, so I didn’t say anything at all. How dissappointing.

    I think I could write a book on the things I have learned about feminism from drunk men at a bar. Most are quick to defend themselves, blaming the alcohol for the slips of the tongue. I suppose women have the upper hand with that one, since we usually don’t need the assistance of alcohol to say what we think or how we feel. Or maybe I’m just trying to make a positive out of a negative situation.


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