There is an ocean of writing on what a sexist jerk Donald Trump is. I consume much of it, and it’s all depressing. But this very funny, extremely apt post from Wendy Molyneux in The Atlantic made me squirm with recognition, and it inspired me to write up every character in my own life that her post inspired.
1. The Drunk Uncle who is “an older male relative who smells like cigarettes and asks when you are going to lose that weight. You’re 9 years old.”
Sexism was so thick on the ground in my family that it’s hard to pick, but congratulations have to go out the gifted creeps all over my family who let me grow up watching while they treated their wives like indentured servants who worked side-by-side on farms with them and then came in to cook and clean and *serve them at table* while they sat there like kings and refused to lift a god-damn finger in the house because that was “women’s work”, always said with deep revulsion, like they would get girl cooties if they took their own plate from the table to the sink. THEN of course making sure that these same women were worthy of harsh criticism when they gained a pound or so after having a Catholic’s fair number of children, all the while those launching these criticisms, themselves, possessed Brobdingnagian beer guts, no visible commitments to either full sentences or personal hygiene, and teeth that would have made the average Neanderthal faint.
And there should be a lifetime achievement award for a) thinking rape jokes are funny and b) acting like if they ever caught me wearing something suggestive, rape would be the outcome, and boy, oh, boy, I’d learn something then.
These gentlemen were fond of noting that I “thought I was too good for them.”
Because I was.
2. The teacher who’s volunteered to cover the Lit portion of the Decathlon is also the tennis coach, and he’s going over Ezra Pound’s poem, “Portrait d’une Femme,” with you and your teammates. He’s the first person who looks at you a certain way that will happen again and again for the rest of your life, as if he simultaneously can’t see you and would like to kill you.
Ohhhhh this goes out to a literature teacher of mine, who, watching me enthuse with my effervescent youth about literature, a topic I loved, said to my 12 year-old self, and I quote: “Women have never contributed anything to literature except, you know, as mothers. Giving birth to real writers.”
It will surprise nobody to learn that he sent me to the principal’s office for insubordination many times.
“She thinks she’s so important.”
You goddamn right I do, shithead, and Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Zora Neale Hurston are three reasons why I do despite having had to grow up with dipshits like you in front of my classroom.
3. Now he’s your boss.
Ah, my boss. Enter in a boss that just about everybody likes because he is genial. He doesn’t want to be a sexist, but he is, and he lives in chronic fear, and thus, loathing of any woman he suspects is smarter than he is, and I was, by several miles. I was carrying around a book that I had been reading, and he ostentatiously said to me, in front of a bunch of his buddies; “you can just do this one thing for me, and then you can get back to your Dreamboat.”
I squinted, “What? What are you talking about? Dreamboat?”
Him, eyeing his buds with the self-confidence that points were going to be scored at my expense, and that the Girl Was Going to Be Taken Down a Peg Intellectually: “That book you are reading, that romance book, “Dreamboat.”
I got out my rucksack and produced this volume: “You mean this? It’s a military history of the arms race between Germany and Britain leading up the First World War. It’s about dreadnoughts, you know, the battleship. ”
He looks at it. “Oh, uh.”
Me, utterly clueless because that’s how I roll: “It’s got two men on the front! Look here, there’s Kaiser Wilhelm and King Edward on the cover. How did you mistake that for a romance novel? What the hell kind of romance novels do you read?”
Lots of very, very limp weenies sitting in a circle at that point. I needed a new job pretty soon after that one.
4. And then this one.
He’s there, bragging, waving his arms, talking over everybody, reminding me of my blowhard colleague who pretends to like me but really doesn’t, who leers at the young women on our campus and makes comments if my shirt shows too much cleavage. Both these Donalds make my head throb with disgust, one, because he has a little adoring fanbase of people a-clapping away as he degrades the people surrounding him, and the other my own little Donald Trump who plants himself in my office and brags about all his job offers, his this, his that, blah blah…while he makes hours and hours of extra work for me because he offends students left and right and I am their shoulder to lean on.