I had intended to post something else today. A post with a bunch of mini restaurant reviews was scheduled to appear two minutes after I received another thoughtful comment taking issue with my last post. This is an amalgamation of emails exchanged with a few readers who took particular umbrage with what they perceived as the smallness of calling women names in this space.
I hate to give one of those political apologies which are generally devoid of meaning as it is apology without acknowledgement… but I apologize for any offense I might have caused, it was not my intent. I respectfully disagree, however, with much of the characterizations levied in both public and private.
With regard to the pettiness of the post and the outsized nature of my indignation, I gave considerable thought to that interpretation. My initial reaction was to agree with the supposition; however, after some more mental marinating, I have grown to think that position is largely the result of interpretation through personal experiences. Through the prism of women who have surely been the recipient of unwanted attention, my indignation might seem to have been an overreaction, but how was it really?
As some acknowledged in comments, my blog is a space for me to bitch about any number of topics. How much did I really bitch though? I wrote that accusing a man of wanting to “check out [your] ass” in a voluble tone was conduct not befitting a lady and I contend that it is not.
I described a woman as Plain Jane which can be read as a pejorative, but I solely intended as a descriptor. Had it been a man that had been rude to me I am sure I would have written something about his corporate khaki and polo uniform. I further wrote that her response made me doubt the existence of a man that would marry her – that would have been a bridge too far if stated to her in reply, and admittedly may have been in this context as well, but I still don’t think it an egregious thought to express anonymously (both author and subject) in this space.
The past her prime platinum blonde line was inspired at least as much by my affinity for alliteration as it was an effort to describe a woman who was far too old to wear a skirt that short, a top cut that low, and generally looking like a 50 year old club kid wannabe. For the record, I would have described a man dressed in equally age inappropriate attire in similar ways.
As I noted and some graciously acknowledged, empathy is tough for men here. But the converse applies as well. I don’t think there is any value in comparing the difficulty of having one’s motivations constantly questioned versus receiving unwanted and or crude sexual attention. But it is worth considering how it might have felt for me on that day, on the many days that this has occurred. How many women can empathize with the frustration associated with the accumulated indignities from the tactic and implicit questioning of one’s integrity in that manner?
“Get over it” was the suggestion from more than one reader, and I should be flattered that readers consider this place somehow above such pettiness. I don’t think it was anything extraordinary that I ranted about a slightly shitty day, as I have ranted about far less.
Many of you may still disagree with me on the merits of that post. In fact, I know some of you still do. I will concede that the post could have been more artfully written to have avoided that reasoned perception but I hope that this missive finds us all on more common than divergent ground.
P.S. New Recipe on My Recipe Blog – Braised Short Ribs with Truffled French Fries