The Pint of No Return
Your advice to the woman who slapped the man in the bar who tried to guess her age, weight, and bra size was completely disgraceful. Yes, she overreacted somewhat; however, your comment "To avoid attention from men, hold girls' night out in a convent, not a bar" was appalling. The conversation was obnoxious no matter how drunk the guy was. I don't feel she acted like a victim, but like a woman strong enough to handle herself. For that I applaud her! Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect. My guess is that you believe women should also expect to be raped if they go through the wrong part of town!
"Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect." Yes, they should! And I should be a rock star/Nobel Prize-winning physicist and live rent-free in Bel Air. And Osama bin Laden should renounce terrorism and devote the rest of his life to crocheting iPod sleeves in the form of bunnies and turtles while whistling "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."
Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for MapQuest directions to Utopia. Until I get them, I'm compelled to give advice for people who live in the real world -- where Osama isn't known for his slip stitch, the best manners aren't found at the bottom of a beer mug, and where I'll have a shot at the Nobel the day they start giving it away on lottery scratchers.
If Albert Ellis, one of the fathers of cognitive behavioral therapy, heard what happened in the bar, he'd probably quote the Greek philosopher Epictetus: "What disturbs [people's] minds is not events but their judgments on events." A woman who's convinced of the idea of men as oppressors -- especially one who's been brain-snatched by the Victim-Industrial Complex feminism has become -- will see everything through victim-vision. An extreme case is "feminist vegetarian theorist" Carol J. Adams, who claims eating meat promotes the subjugation of women, and, according to "The Harvard Crimson," "called asparagus a phallic symbol and said parsley was representative of pubic hair." (No word on what it means if your mashed potatoes resemble Betty Friedan.)
So, some drunk asks your bra size. You can outsmart him, out-funny him, or treat him like a bar snack stuck to the bottom of your shoe. But, delivering a lecture in women's studies at the top of your lungs, then smacking him one? You don't do this because you feel powerful, but because you have the self-image of "Squash me, I'm a bug." If you're looking to effect change, consider the difference between "losing your temper" and directing your temper like a laser. Rage is toxic.
Stress hormones shut off your ability to reason, and turn your body into a little shop of poisons. This is your idea of empowerment? Well, that, and the notion that men who hit women are guilty of assault, but women who hit men are worthy of... applause?
Life is a hostile workplace. Approach it accordingly. The woman in question wrote, "The last thing I wanted was attention from men," but proceeded to run off to a pickup joint. This makes about as much sense as going to a packed stadium for a little solitude, or holding your A.A. meeting in the corner liquor store. As for whether women should expect to be raped in a dodgy part of town, well, admitting it's a possibility seems a better defense than celebrating your freedom to jog in a short skirt through dark alleys shouting, "Take back the night!" and "No means no!"
Gay Hide Parade
My boyfriend of seven months is still in the closet. I understand and can handle the times we can't go out because he's seeing his straight friends, etc. My friends, however, resent that he's in his 30s and still closeted, think he's being disrespectful, and warn that what we have isn't real. Can a relationship work between a guy who's out and a guy who isn't?
-- Openly Me
Sure it can -- until "out of the closet and into the living room" just isn't enough for "Openly You." What then? Do you make him a porta-potty closet on wheels, roll him out to dinner and shove a plate of food through the slot? Sure, you can understand what he's going through, get him the Rob Eichberg book, "Coming Out: An Act Of Love," and encourage him by telling him how well it's worked for you. But, eventually, you should realize that the essential question isn't whether your relationship is real, but whether it's realistic.
Relationships are compromise, but ideally, this means hashing out whether to eat Chinese or Italian -- not who gets to wear the Ronald Reagan mask to the restaurant, and who gets stuck going as Nixon.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com.
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