Last night, I started to walk out my front door, but realized I was not wearing green. I paused, wondering about the likelihood of being pinched. Returning to my room, I grabbed a necklace with green sea glass, but it didn’t look quite right. Neither did any of the scarves I had out. I opted to risk St. Patrick’s Day sans green.
Just as elite athletes visualize themselves hitting the perfect putt, or running the perfect race, I visualize encounters with assholes so I can practice my pithy comebacks. Does this help? Arguably, it does, but it also creates an edge of danger, because when I come up with a great comeback, I may be a tad too eager to detect smart-assery where none was intended. You’ve been warned.
Driving through midtown, forced to slam on my breaks at least twice per block between Gray and McGowan while drunks ran out into the street at random intervals, I felt myself becoming a tad bit anxious. If drunks were running amok in the street at 6:00, before the sun had even begun to set, the chance of being pinched by an inebriated stranger seemed high.
The good news is that Belgian restaurants in the first dinner seating of a Saturday night are decidedly not ground zero for St. Paddy’s shenanigans. I arrived before my parents, which gave me time to relax and reflect, time that I was surprised to find I needed. My nerves were on edge, so I switched from visualizing the perfect pith to examining my anxiety.
Why was I so convinced that strange, slobbering, large, drunk men would pinch me?
I guess it is clear that a switch has been flipped in this country. Republican politicians and the ditto-bots who love them have declared open season on women.
I’ve spent the past several weeks reading stories about how using birth control makes me a slut, and terminating an unwanted pregnancy makes me a slut who needs to be taught a lesson with a 10-inch probe. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that some states are preparing to force doctors to lie to their patients, while other states think that when it comes to reproduction, I’m no different from any other barnyard animal.
Is it any wonder that I expected leering men to be lurking at every turn, ready to pinch me? Ready to touch me? Thinking it their right to punish me for the arbitrary reason that I was wearing blue and white instead of green?
Thinking it is their right to punish me for being a woman?
We had a lovely dinner and I made it home without having my bodily integrity disturbed. In America, in 2012, that should be a given.