Hey. So it’s been about two months since I last posted a review. Not that anyone is refreshing the page every hour, waiting anxiously for my next post, but I thought I should explain why it’s been so long. A few things have been going on.
The good news: I got cast in a play (yay!) Brief shameless plug: It’s a remarkable story that I get to tell with a powerhouse group of women and it’s been a wonderful source of joy and light and love that’s entered my life. You can read more about it here and get tickets here. All that said, it’s taken over most of my evenings. And I haven’t really felt like going out drinking by myself after several hours of rehearsal on a pretty intense play.
The less great news: One Monday night at the end of October, I went out with one of my female friends. We first went to a really fun cider tasting, then to a quiet bar in the East Village for a nightcap before heading home. We were minding our own business, having a great time, when two Australian guys sat down next to us at the bar. They asked if we would like to take a shot with them. We accepted, and the four of us took a shot of “nice” Irish whiskey (it was fine, but one of the guys was insistent that this was “really good shit.” It was Tullamore Dew, which is good, but not Macallan 15, you feel me?) Anyway, my friend and one of the guys were chatting, hitting it off a bit. I was a little out of it, since we’d been drinking for a while and I was ready to go home. But we were having fun and the guys seemed nice so whatever. Eventually, they asked if we wanted to get another drink with them somewhere else. We both had to work in the morning, so we declined. The guy my friend was talking to didn’t like this very much, and started to argue with her. At one point, he got up in her face and was asking her to hit him (I have no idea why and neither does she). He was up in her face, saying “slap me slap me c’mon slap me” over and over until finally, she slapped him. Not hard, but she slapped him to get him out of her face. I would’ve done the same thing. Then she went to the bathroom. The guy then turns to me and starts yelling at me, saying that we’re dumb bitches, that we’re everything that’s wrong with women, that we’re dirty feminists. When he screamed in my face, “WHY DID SHE HIT ME” I calmly replied, “Maybe because you asked her to.” And I guess he didn’t like that either because then he yelled “YOU FUCKING IDIOT WE BOUGHT YOU SHOTS HOW DARE YOU” And I told him that we don’t owe him anything just because he bought us shots. He really hated that concept. My friend came back from the bathroom and he starts yelling at her. The other guy comes over to me and says that we should leave, because his friend’s not gonna stop. I quickly pay our bill, then after the dude shouts in my friend’s face “WE BOUGHT YOU SHOTS FUCK YOU HOW DARE YOU” for a twelfth time, my friend turns to the bartender and asks to pay for all the shots. At this point, two guys from the other end of the bar come over and start talking to the Australians, distracting them, asking what’s going on here. The bartender tells us he won’t let us pay for the shots. We make our escape and run as fast as we can toward the train. Once we’re several blocks away, we both burst into tears.
And my first thought was how lucky we were that we got away. How lucky that that asshole showed his true colors early. That my friend didn’t end up giving him her number or going on a date with him. That she didn’t have the chance to get trapped in a room with him if she said she didn’t want to have sex. And I’ve felt very lucky that I haven’t met men like this when out at a bar alone. How terrible that I have to feel fortunate each time I’m not accosted by a man who feels I owe him something. My friend and I were both pretty shaken after this night, and I for one avoided bars in general, and certainly didn’t want to go to one alone for a while.
Then the election happened. And I was (am) gutted. There has been too much amazing writing about this for me to attempt to articulate it.* I was shocked. Then in denial. Then angry, spitting venom, punching walls, screaming at anyone. Then I fell into the quicksand of depression, taking me under the weight of the horror of this world. And I’ve been cycling through anger and depression for these past few weeks. I didn’t want to go out to a bar for fear that I would get into a fight, that I would throw a drink in the face of anyone who tried to fuck with me. I imagined that every man I encountered would try to antagonize me in some way, that every man was out to get me because that’s what men do, they keep women down, they silence them, they make them feel inferior. Because we live in a world where the dumbest, most incompetent, least qualified man-child can beat the smartest, most competent, most qualified woman. Now, I know not all men are like this. I know not all men are bad. I know a lot of good men. But it’s been very difficult for me to look in a strange man’s eyes and be polite. Because I don’t trust most men anymore, even in the liberal safe haven that is New York City. And I’ve been embarrassed at how long it’s taking me to get out of this sinkhole of sadness. But I’m feeling a bit more ready to climb out, dust off, and pull up a bar stool.
This girl will still go out drinking alone. Because fear and hatred will never truly win in the end. The battle has only begun.
*Here are a few articles:
A Letter to Young Women: How We Will All Move Forward Together Now
My Daughter Grew Up Believing She Could Do Anything
Empathy isn’t a favor I owe white Trump voters. It has to go both ways.