Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dilemmas

Once, I was at a train stop, waiting for my train to pull up. I was sitting at one of those benches that has the arm rest for two seats, and then two seats without an arm divider. A trio came and sat down next to me. I was journaling, they were talking, and we all did a great job of peacefully ignoring each other.

Then the guy next to me started sneezing. In the middle of his conversation, and I mean sneezing. My knee-jerk reaction was to say, “bless you”, but I held myself back. What followed was a very uncomfortable inner debate.

I didn’t know this guy, and he was with people who did know him. I didn’t know their situation. He was violently sneezing, and they were continuing the conversation without acknowledging him. Was this something that was common? Was this what they did? Maybe he didn’t want anyone to say “bless you.” Maybe he subconsciously did, but wouldn’t realize it until I said it to him. Would that make him reevaluate his relationship with his friends? What if my saying “bless you” made them seem exceptionally rude, or make me seem obnoxious?

The other thing about me saying “bless you” is that it would require my breaking our unspoken agreement to ignore each other. Saying “bless you” would mean acknowledging that I could hear him, and acknowledging that I could hear him meant acknowledging that I could hear All Of Them, which would mean that I could also hear their conversation. Not like I was actually listening to their conversation. I was busy writing. They, however, would have no way of knowing this. What if my saying “bless you” would make them all so uncomfortable that they didn’t feel that they could continue to talk in front of me, and what if that would make them all resent me? I didn’t want to sit for another twenty minutes with three people who resented me.

But that thought process was so stupid and selfish! I had manners. I was not an impolite person. What if all of them were testing me, waiting to see if I was some rude person (rude person of color? No, don’t go there) ? I didn’t want to fail a test or reaffirm negative beliefs about strangers. All of this was unlikely, but the pressure not to be rude was building up inside me, matching pace with the pressure not to make them uncomfortable by talking to them.

“Bless you,” I finally said, almost under my breath, about a minute after the sneezing had already stopped. There, I thought, if he really was testing me, he’ll have heard that. It’s all good.

If you say “bless you” and the person doesn’t hear it, does the politeness count?

If you say “I love you,” and the person doesn’t know it, have you improved their self esteem?

If you think positive thoughts and send warm fuzzes to a person far away, without them being aware, will they be any happier?

Frat Bros, Mermaids, and Gettin’ Chose

In order to get from my house to the dining hall, I have to go by a bunch of frats with bad reputations. One is even known as the Rape House. As I came around the hedges of this lovely house, I saw a bunch of the brothers hanging out on the roof, playing music and drinking. Fortunately, my sunglasses were on to hide my nervousness. I don’t like passing groups of guys. It makes me extremely self-conscious. I’m constantly bracing myself in case one of them tries to call something out at me, and I have pay extra attention to the way I walk. I don’t want to trip, and I also don’t want my hips to sway as if I’m trying to be seductive, but above all I don’t want anyone to know how careful my movements are and think that I’m awkward. I was focusing on not being suggestive when the first guy called out.

“Hey! HEY!”

It was too late to pretend to be on my phone without being obvious.

“Heyyy, what’s UP?”

Unfortunately for the guy, I have this policy where I don’t respond to people who yell at me from rooftops. The only exceptions to this are if the person knows me, needs help, or is warning me about something, but this guy didn’t fall into any of these categories. A couple more called out, either insistently or indignantly, not believing that I could actually be ignoring them, before the first guy finally said, “Fine then! BYE” and I had passed the house.

Their timing and location was just terrible, for them. I know a few girls who wouldn’t mind being shouted at, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. In the changing room after dance, classmates crowded around the mirror fixing makeup and adjusting weaves.

“It’s THOT season! Time to get chose!” was the chorus inside the room. It was a chorus I was not going to join.

I don’t like the idea of “getting chose”. Of going out and looking nice just so that I can catch someone’s attention and have them say, “I want HER. That’s the girl I choose!” There was a time where that was something I wanted, but in a naively romantic sense. I used to think it would be amazing to walk by a guy and have him fall in love with me. That’s not what happens. Now, you can walk by a guy and he’ll want to have sex with you and think that he has the right to have you, just because he wants to. Everyone chanting about “THOT season” isn’t helping at all.
I don’t like thinking that I have to wait around for someone to be attracted to me to suddenly be interested in someone. Does that make sense? The whole concept of “getting chose”, to me, is essentially not taking interest in anyone yourself, but suddenly becoming wildly attracted and acquiescent to whichever rando chooses you first. That’s not what I want. I know it’s something that I don’t need to subscribe to (and won’t) but knowing that other people subscribe to it is uncomfortable. I don’t know if it’s worse coming from girls, willfully waiting around for men to show up, or guys, with all of their stupid expectations.

I’ve often thought that if I were to be a mythical creature, I would be a mermaid. Mermaid’s are so like me, from what I’ve read. Rather solitary, although able to be in groups for short periods of time. Don’t easily fall in love, but do get very interested in people. I read one story told partly from the point of view of a mermaid, who finds a sailor whose ship is wrecked during a storm. She thinks he’s beautiful, so she drags him down to her home to keep him. Unfortunately, her home is at the bottom of the sea, and he drowns on the way down. At first she’s okay with this, because she can still look at him, but over time his body disintegrates, and then even his bones are gone, and she needs to find a new object to occupy her time.
I’m basically that mermaid. I’m interested in people, but then I don’t usually want to do anything other than watch them. That’s why I’m attracted to weird people; they’re so entertaining!

The other thing about mermaids, that actually connects to the rest of this post, is that men find them attractive, and want to get with them. I always think about how stupid this is. Mermaids have fish bodies (what are you going to do with them? I’m asexual. What are you going to do with me, Mr. Drunk-and-looking-for-a-hookup?), but men still go after them anyway. They still somehow think they’re special, and worthy of gratification just because they want it. No one stops to realize that choosing someone doesn’t mean that you’re automatically chosen back.


That’s when idiots get drowned. I’m not necessarily saying that I think people deserve to die, and I’m not crazy enough to go around killing all the men who ignorantly take advantage of women. What I’m saying is that when I watch (or read) scenes in which mermaids lure sailors to their deaths, I’m kind of with the mermaids. It’s not like the sailors haven’t been warned, and don’t know what they’re getting into. They just make the mistake of thinking that they’re special, and their sense of entitlement gets the better of them. Actual society doesn’t do much to check the entitled. We either give in to them or ignore them. Or become them.