I went into the office today. My boss was having one of those days and jokingly suggested going out for a drink after work. I took the idea and ran with it, all but pushing her out the door at 5:30.
We ended up at a tasting room downtown. We’d moved through the white wines and on to the reds. We were talking about hiking when a sudden commotion from down the bar made me pause midsentence. A bottle-blond woman was hooting and smacking a bald-shaven man on the arm. “Women are competitive, honey!” she half-shouted, then repeated it louder: “Women are competitive!”
She caught us looking at her and leaned over conspiratorially. “Isn’t that right?” she asked us. “Women are bitches. Women are just bitches.“
The man laughed; braying like a horse. My boss and the girl behind the counter smiled reflexively. I didn’t.
I wanted to say something. I wanted to tell her all the ways she was wrong. I wanted to tell the man not to believe her. I wanted to tell her not to believe herself.
What good would it have done? I would have made it too easy to scoff. I would have looked too earnest. Can’t you take a joke? God.
What a bitch.
So I shut my mouth and complied.
Hands tied. Voice silenced.
Defeated at both ends.