hi! i saw your post about men being exhausting and like yes? but not all men. I’m male and i like to help out at local shelters, the community garden, im an advocate and supporter for the lgbt community. im a feminist and against people who think trump is doing good things, and much more. dont let men set a precedent for what masculinity is. there are good guys out there, i promise. im sorry if this was rude in any way, i didn’t intend for it to be like that.


so. i think there’s a good chance this was a joke. i lost my mind laughing when i first got it. but also? this is exactly how men talk, so i’m gonna break it down seriously. 

i made that post after dinner with my friend’s family. his dad, let’s call him john, was belittling his wife so she wasn’t talking much and he’d made a few jabs about his son’s painted nails so his son was kind of wilting. john’s a nice guy, smart guy, really likes me & thinks i’m smart. i was pretty much carrying all the emotional labor at that dinner–trying to make my friend and his mom feel comfortable while also engaging with john. we were making conversation about lots of things, it wasn’t a particularly controversial or heated discussion at really any point in time. again, john’s a cool guy–he’s liberal and progressive and knows that i’m a lesbian and all sorts of nice things. he works for a bigggg banking company–i don’t wanna say which one, but you’d know the name. we were talking about #metoo and he starts talking about how sexual harassment isn’t really an issue where he works. 

three hours before he said this, a man in times square had grabbed my boob. at a restaurant i worked at, a rapist who worked there got my number off the scheduling app and would text me vile things while we were both working to make me uncomfortable. he’d also touch my ass every shift but always managed to pretend like it was an accident. it wasn’t. my best friend, who was also at dinner with us, worked at her moms law firm when she was 17, and the man across from her had a countdown on his whiteboard to the day she turned 18 and every day he would look at her as he changed the number. i’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times outside of these instances, and so has she. 

but other men don’t see these things. 

and this man looks at me, and tells me sexual harassment doesn’t happen, because he doesn’t see it. and here’s the thing: that’s not why i’m mad. i’m not mad because he didn’t know. 

i’m mad because i know this man. he is my friend’s father, he is my father, he is my uncles, he is my professors, he is my cousins, and my bosses, and my colleagues. i know how you have to talk to these men. it’s a game. and you have to play along whether you want to or not, because they won’t hear a word you say if you don’t. 

here’s how the game works: john talks about everything like he’s the authority on the matter, because he can’t get it through his brain that someone, especially someone who is not a man, could possibly know something he doesn’t. so john starts talking about things very confidently. and because nobody knows everything, he gets a lot of things wrong. things that i refuse to let him be wrong about. so if i want to change john’s mind, if i want him to hear my point of view, i have to speak to him in the only way he will listen. i have to be, above all, pleasant. john has been taught for years to laugh at a woman’s anger, so if any hint of indignation sneaks into my voice, he won’t take me seriously any more and i’ll lose him entirely.  i have to smile and laugh a little and be charming. but i also have to be articulate. i have to make sure i sound intelligent or else he’ll dismiss me as a stupid teenage girl who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. but i also can’t sound too intelligent because if he starts feeling threatened by my intelligence he’ll get defensive. (sidenote! he has a tiny dick.) so it’s quite a complicated game but i’m good at it. in fact, i’m one of the best. so here i am, carefully navigating the best way to hold this man’s hand and babysit him as i give him a kindergarten level course on sexual assault in the workplace, while also not letting him realize that i’m having to condescend to him because his brain is as tiny as his dick, and can only handful little bits of new information spoonfed to him like applesauce. i have to make it sound like i think he is not only smart, but smarter than me. i have to scatter in little phrases like, “in my experience” or “i could be wrong” and constantly undermine myself, even when speaking on a topic i am incredibly well-versed in, because i have to suggest that i think he is smarter than me or else he won’t deem me worthy of his attention. 

i’m good at it. i play the little fucking game and before i know it, i’ve got john here nodding along and acting like he agreed with what i’m saying all along, acting like he came up with it, acting like he DIDN’T totally contradict what i just told him minutes before. but since he didn’t come up with it, he’ll likely interrupt me before i even get to the end of my point and say something totally misinformed and now i’m trying to educate him on both of the things he got wrong but before i can even do that he’s interrupting me again and now there’s THREE things i’ve gotta teach this guy without him catching on to the fact that i’m teaching him. 

now. here’s the best part about the game. it’s soul-shatteringly dehumanizing. to disregard your own trauma, your own emotion, your own incredibly valid anger that you have fought and fought and fought to believe you have a right to feel, to tone down your beliefs in order to make them more palatable to someone who is this deeply ignorant, to force yourself to giggle and be charming as you discuss the thing that has ripped you into shreds, to ignore how triggering it is to even breach this topic in conversation, to be complicit in making yourself small in order to get your point across, to look into the eyes of a man who has, unwittingly, because of his ignorance, enabled other men to engage in this same behavior–it turns a dinner conversation into a thing that is traumatizing in it’s own right. 

and i feel obligated to put myself through this because of my privilege, because as an attractive, white twenty year old, i can hold this man’s attention better than a massive portion of the population, who he likely wouldn’t give the time of  day to. i refuse to let him live his life unchallenged, so i do what i have to do to make myself heard. 

and i feel the repercussions of this so strongly i dissociate more viciously than i have in weeks and lose all memory of a solid 3 hours of my life after this conversation. 

and i come on here, and post: men are useless and exhausting. because i am angry at what men have done to me. at what they continue to do to me. at what i must do to myself in order to force them to wake up and realize what other men are doing to me and to please, for the love of god, MAKE IT STOP. 

and i get this message from you, a dumbass who’s got his head shoved so far up his own asshole that it’s about to come back up through his esophagus, assuming you know what i’m talking about. assuming you know more than me about men and about my experiences with them, about why i made this post. assuming that because you’re not the scum of the fucking earth and because you do three good things, it somehow balances out the treatment i have received for years from men, and makes my anger towards them, and my hatred of them: unjust. and my post wasn’t even me being angry! it was me being exhausted!!!!! if i’m tired of men, why the fuck would you, “a male” deem it at all appropriate to come near me, to send me a message, to engage with me at all? leave me alone! you know nothing! 

and as much as i thought this was a joke at first, the more i read the message the more i’m convinced that it was written by a man, because even a girl pretending to be a man as a joke wouldn’t manage to sound this fucking stupid. i have dozens of stories exactly like this over the course of at least 10 years of my life. i know more than you. and this isn’t FUCKING about you. if you weren’t useless and exhausting, you would have happily scrolled by and went on with your night. but by sending me this message you proved yourself to be IMPRESSIVELY: useless and exhausting. shut the fuck up for about 3-4 years. you might learn something. also, read men explain things to me by rebecca solnit. she says all this better than i do. 

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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