It is only when I am in the middle of a really busy day that men decide to stroll up beside me and make casual conversation. A while ago, I ran into a man I used to “talk to”. But I didn’t have time to listen to him. I am usually so nice, but I had a raging headache. He looked insulted that I didn’t sit, listen to him like a wide eyed Disney princess, and validate him and everything he said. But I don’t like him, and I don’t have time for that, so I decided not to waste any emotional energy listening to his wack game.
I started to think about how I, as a single woman, have been taught and socialized to believe certain myths:
1. I am lucky to have the attention of any man.
It doesn’t matter if that man has more gums than teeth, or if he has a job, or if he shares your value system. If he likes you, and you’re over the age of 25, you need to get with him and make it happen.
2. The success or failure of a romantic relationship is all my fault.
Again, it doesn’t matter if he was cheating. Or if he was trifling. Y’all aren’t married? People always look at women and ask, “what did she do wrong?”
3. My work is less important than a man’s work.
Image taken from thepeeledapple.blogspot.com
Good Lord Jesus. I have met men who only had part time jobs, but they acted like they were making Jay Z money! Meanwhile I have more hustles than Diddy, and I get no respect. They really were convinced that their job was more important than mine. And I was supposed to shut my mouth and not talk about my achievements, lest their fragile ego was bruised. Let’s not even talk about how many women work and then also have to do domestic work, for which they are unpaid.
The brief interaction I had annoyed me. There was an unspoken assumption that, because I’m a woman, I was supposed to expend emotional energy making sure he was well. But I’m not his mother.
So I offered to pray for him, and moved on. I extinguished my tinge of guilt by reminding myself that men usually don’t feel obligated to emotionally care for people to whom they are not related.
Don’t get it twisted: I love being a woman. I just wish I had access to male privilege every once in a while. Until I do, I’ll have to be content with occasionally asking myself, “what would a white man do?”