I just got back from a work trip to exotic Fresno where I was harassed so severely by two men at my hotel that I actually complained and got them kicked out of their rooms. Their behavior, which included asking to take my picture and following me in a parking lot, was beyond the level of good taste. While what happened was unquestionably inappropriate, got me to thinking about times where this kind of behavior is tempered and the disconnect between what men think is okay and what women do not want to experience. So menfolk we need to have a little chat.
This doesn’t pertain to all of you, or even most of you, directly but I think you all need to be made aware of this so you can understand women and stop this behavior when you see it. Now I will make small talk when I’m in a good mood with my cashier or the cab driver. I know that it breaks up the monotony of the day in the service industry to have someone friendly engage you for even a few minutes. I’ve been there. I had my high school stint as a worker bee at Mervyn’s. But if there is a woman you are ringing up, or helping, or in a car with who is clearly having a bad day–leave her the frak alone. Seriously. Don’t make it your job to cheer her up because if she’s anything like me she really, really doesn’t want you to. In fact having a strange male approach me when I’m in that mood doesn’t help me feel better–it puts me on edge.
Often I will be walking down the street after having a bad day, and I wear my heart on my sleeve I admit it, and a man will tell me to smile. “Smile! You’ll be so much prettier if you smile.” – “Would you smile for me?” — “Cheer up! Smile!” This does not make me feel good. This does not make me feel safe. What’s more you don’t have any right to demand that I be “prettier” or happy all the time. I do not know of a single woman who has ever done this to a complete strange man as he passes her by on the street. You know why? It’s not our place to tell you how to feel or express those feelings. It is also not my job or duty to be pretty for you.
You have no right to demand that the women all around you in the world always be happy and smiling. Even if your intention is to cheer us up, a great intention I’ll admit, you have no right. I get to be upset or tired or sad or angry if I want to. I’m human damn it and I have a right to the range of emotions that don’t make me some shiny, plastic flower in your garden. So let me be. Especially if you are someone I don’t know stopping me on the street. If I’m having a bad day and I’m feeling out of sorts, I’m going to engage in a fight or flight panic when you do this. I’m going to immediately have to question your intentions and get ready to protect myself. So even if you aren’t in any way threatening, you are eliciting the exact opposite response from me that you intend to. Because sometimes I do have to get ready to protect myself like last night.
I pulled into the hotel and it was late. I was tired. I don’t particularly enjoy driving for more than an hour at a time. I get antsy. I like to move. I don’t like being cramped in a car having to worry about drivers cutting across 4 lines sending me swerving to avoid both them and the wall–yes this happened too. It was dark and I was in a strange place. I just wanted to get into bed and sleep. Two men on a golf cart start in on me. “Aww honey smile!” I ignore them and continue to get my bags out of the car. They stop. “Hey can you do us a favor?” Exasperated I say “No.” The men turn to each other and roll their eyes. “Come on you’ll be so much prettier if you smile. Smile. Let me take your picture, it’ll cheer you up. Don’t worry it will be tasteful.” I am inflamed. This is beyond just “cheering” me up. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they were professional photographers for Vogue. It doesn’t matter. It was uncalled for. I shuffled away, satisfied they weren’t following me and went directly to my room, to my phone and called the front desk. I was called back 15 minutes later and told these guests had been removed from the property and that I didn’t need to worry about the duration of my stay.
Even ignoring this situation guys, please try to remember that women are not under an obligation to be pretty or happy for you. No one demands that men always be happy, smiling and walking around with muscles and perfect hair. You do not have the right to demand this of me or to try to impose it upon me. When you try it does not make me feel special or happy. It makes me angrier and makes my day worse. Not all women are sure to feel this way. I can’t speak for all of womankind but I’d wager that there are more of us than not. It just comes across as seedy.
And speaking of seeds how about some gluten free sesame seed muffins? I’ve broken out of my vegan week–huzzah! It was an interesting experiment but definitely not the way I think I’ll be living my life 24/7. Worthwhile to make the effort though and so you might see some “Meatless Mondays” breaking up the muffin monotony. Not today though. Today I have this recipe which I was inspired to make during my vegan stint. It seems that gluten free baking became much easier for me to fathom when I was cutting out eggs and buttermilk as well. These muffins are very strange at first but I was inspired to make them after craving some chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Savory and sweet. These seem to improve the next day if you keep them airtight. I might cut back on the mini-chocolate chips though. I think a third of a cup would suffice.
Gluten Free Sunflower Seed Muffins
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