I cry easily. There. I said it. Some girls can control their emotions, but I wear mine not even on my sleeve but plastered in LED lights on my face like a living version of a Daft Punk helmet. Yesterday night, while watching an episode of Mad Men I’d seen maybe three times before, I inexplicably burst into tears during a scene where an old man keeps asking his wife if she bought pears at the store. It struck me as sweet and sad all at the same time. Like peppermint tea when you’re drinking it alone while watching QVC. At three in the morning. Not that I’ve ever done that. Like 900 times.
I can’t help myself. I cry when the moment strikes me. I go through a lot of mascara and tissues but I never feel bad about it. Moreover, I also speak up when I feel I need to and I think it often surprises my friends who maybe aren’t used to people actually voicing their opinions Kathy Griffin style (AKA loudly and proudly).
Robyn is one particular friend who got to witness this first hand a while back when she, like a good friend and before I was dating Greg, tried to set me up with a guy we’ll call “Schmalex”. He seemed nice enough. Robyn arranged it so that Schmalex would come by for dinner while I was over. “He’s fun,” she warns me, “He wears military uniforms instead of civilian clothing.”
“Is he in the army?” I ask.
“No,” Robyn says, “This is just part of his charm.”
You know what else was apparently part of his charm? Belittling women.
By dessert, Robyn and I were stuck on her living room couch listening to a man in a Soviet uniform berate us on how we were living our lives wrong as women.
“You’re the weaker sex,” he says, “You let your emotions out too soon. Women should know their place.”
Robyn isn’t looking at anything but her knees. Schmalex goes on, now turning his attention to Robyn, who might be one of the smartest people I know. “You are going into Poli-Sci,” he says to her, “You understand that’s a man’s world, yes?” he patronizes her. “You won’t do well.”
I had had just about enough. I finally speak up, “You’re wrong,” I say. And Schmalex looks over at me and blinks incredulously. I bat my eyes like I’m flirting but I am really just hoping by some magical mascara powers I render him speechless. Or unconscious. Either way he would stop talking so it’d be a win.
“How am I wrong?” he asks all smirks and smug like a frat boy who won’t let a nerd into the house party. “Care to elaborate?” he asks. “You obviously know nothing about feminism.” He spits his words at me like I’m a Goddamn Greyback and he just happens to be Abe Lincoln.
“I know plenty about feminism,” I say.
“Oh, right,” He says sarcastically.
And that was pretty much all I needed. I stood up like I was Jimmy Stewart at the end of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and I told Schmalex exactly what I thought about him, how he was treating us and how ridiculous it was to wear a wool Soviet uniform in 110 degree weather if, as he had mentioned earlier, he “wasn’t trying to bring attention to [himself].” I used words like “empower” and “sagacious” and “disillusioned”. I made references to Hooters and the Cowboys Cheerleaders and Madame Curie. Possibly also Oprah, but I was on such a roll who knows. I talked about how he was ignorant, rude, and would amount to nothing if he didn’t decide to drop the chauvinism. His whole demeanor changed. His voice, formerly stentorian, went quiet, almost to a whisper and if he had had a tail, it would have been between his legs. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get my chin to come back down from the high position it had taken. I had this defiant about face plastered on that looked like someone was pulling my hair and making my head do that.
“Look at that,” Schmalex says in a tone that was between sing-song-y and television sitcom, “I forgot I had to go.”
And just like that he left, without even thanking Robyn for making dinner. But I’m guessing he thought he didn’t have to since he probably assumed it was her place in life to make it for him anyway.