When Feminists Need Defense

, , , , , | Friendly | May 23, 2018

(I am at the gym, using the back and leg weight machines while reading an interesting hardcover book I brought with me. I think it is very appropriate to be reading this one in the gym, since it’s about self-defense tactics for women. The book has a long sentence as a title, and one of the many words in it is “feminist,” used as an adjective. I’m a young woman. Some random young guy comes right up to me while I’m sitting at the back-extension machine.)

Random Guy: “Hi there. It really looks like that book is fascinating. What is it about?”

Me: *wondering where this is going* “It’s about self-defense.” *looks back down at the book*

Random Guy: “Oh.”

(He looks at me for a beat, then, without a word, extends his hand, takes hold of the top of the book and, while I’m reading it, tilts it upright so he can look at the cover. He looks for all of one second, then:)

Random Guy: “Oh. It’s about ‘Fehhhminism.’ Why didn’t you just say it’s about ‘Fehhhminism’?”

Me: *speechless*

(I said nothing, just stared him down in sheer disbelief at his gall until he seemed to get the message and went away. Really, it’s like he was going for top award at the Mansplaining Competition — “explaining” to me what the book I was in the middle of reading at that moment was “actually” about, from his own grand expertise of skimming the title, with extra bonus irony points for the coincidental involvement of the word “feminist.”)

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You Can Bite Me!

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 22, 2018

(I’ve been feeling a bit ill, and my friend suggests I get some food since I haven’t eaten all day. The nearest fast food place has recently gotten self-service kiosks, which I really like using. After paying for my food, I go to the pick up area, and there are several other customers waiting. Three young boys, probably 12 to 15 years old, are stood flush against the counter, leaning over it and trying to claim every order the servers bring forward, loudly proclaiming that it is their food. The servers aren’t stupid, and do their best to work around them. One of the boys already has a bag of food; I don’t know if it is his or not. My order has some special food items in it, so it is taking a little while longer than most of the other orders. I’ve seen these jacka**es try and pull this stunt with about twenty people’s food by the time I see a server put my order together and bring it forward. One of the boys leans forward, grasping for bag.)

Child #1: “That’s mine. Give it here.”

Server: *doing their best to ignore him and keep food out of his reach* “Number 875?”

Child #1: “Come on, d**k. Give me my food.”

Me: *stepping forward, holding my numbered ticket aloft* “Me, thanks.”

Child #2: *reaching to grab food as it’s handed over* “Give it, b****!”

Me: *snatching it, drawing back, and giving these punk kids my best death glare* “If you try to take my food, I will f****** bite you!”

(I’m in my mid-twenties but I often get mistaken for being much younger.)

Child #3: “What did she say?”

Child #2: “She said if we take her food she’ll bite us.”

Child #1: “Please, you’re like twelve!”

(I take a step forward to challenge them, but they all take a huge step away, clearly wary I’ll follow through on my threat. I leave with my food and message my friend to tell him what just happened.)

Me: “You won’t believe what just happened.”

(I tell him.)

Friend: “See? I told you food would get you back to normal.”

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Tic-ing Along Nicely Until You Came Along

, , , , , | Healthy | May 22, 2018

(I have pretty mild Tourette’s syndrome, with my only real vocal tics being a wheeze, a cough, or consistent sniffling. Most people understand once it’s explained to them. I’m at the gym, working on the arc trainer, and my Tourette’s is having a bad day, so I’m making all manner of noises. Next to me are two ladies. I have my headphones on, so I’m pretty oblivious to the goings-on around me, when suddenly I’m being tapped on the arm. I take my headphones off and look over to see one of the ladies standing by the machine I’m on.)

Lady: “Excuse me, but you should be wearing a mask if you’re sick.”

Me: “Huh? I’m not sick. I feel fine, but thanks?”

Lady: “You’re coughing and wheezing and sniffling. You must have a cold or the flu. You shouldn’t even be here, but if you’re going to be, you need a mask!”

Me: “Oh! I’m sorry; I actually have Tourette’s. I’m not sick; those are just my tics.”

Lady: “If you’re sick, you should wear a mask.”

Me: “But I’m not sick. I just told you. I have Tourette’s. It’s a neurological thing. I’m not physically ill.”

Lady: “I’m a nurse! I know what Tourette’s is, and you should be wearing a mask!”

(At this point, I’m more annoyed by the fact this lady is interrupting my workout than her insistence she knows more about my health than I do.)

Me: “If you know what Tourette’s is, then you know a mask wouldn’t do any good. I am not sick. I’m sorry if the tics caused some confusion.”

Lady: “You should be wearing a mask if you’re going to be sick here! I’m going to complain to the front desk!”

Me: “But I’m not sick. And really, if you’re worried about germs, is this really the place for you to be?”

Lady: *after a moment of silence* “You should have a mask.”

(She and her friend then moved down to the end of the row of cardio machines and went back to their workout, and I went back to mine. They kept shooting me dirty looks throughout. The worst part is my Tourette’s gets worse when attention is drawn to it, as I get very self-conscious and nervous. So, thanks. Nice job breaking it, lady.)

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That’s Not Very Lice

, , , , | Friendly | May 20, 2018

(I’m sixteen and my sister is seven. I’m a natural brunette while my sister is a natural ginger. We’re with our mother, shopping. My mom is hearing impaired and also a ginger. While mom is looking at some products in the opposite end of the aisle, I take care of my own half of the shopping list.)

Woman: *playing with my sister’s hair* “Oh, aren’t you just the cutest thing?”

Me: “Ma’am, please don’t touch my sister without permission.”

Woman: “Oh, don’t worry dear; she doesn’t seem to mind. I don’t bite.”

(My sister is very shy and goes mute with people she doesn’t know. The woman is obviously not listening and Mom probably won’t hear me. Being the immature teen I am…)

Me: “Ma’am, she has a bad case of lice. Please stop touching her hair.”

(The woman goes pale and runs towards the bathrooms. My mom catches up with us, very confused.)

Mom: “Why was that woman running like she saw the devil?”

Me: “She wouldn’t stop playing with [Sister]’s hair, so I told her she has lice.”

Sister: “Yup.”

Mom: *laughing* “I had a similar thing happen when you were a toddler, [My Name], and I said the exact same thing.”


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Distasteful Behavior

, , , , , | Friendly | May 18, 2018

(I just started working at this lovely restaurant owned by an elderly couple. I’m taking a Muslim couple’s order.)

Me: “Good afternoon. I’m [My Name]. What can I get you?”

Woman: “Can you tell us which menu items are halal?”

Me: “Would you mind waiting a few minutes so I can ask my manager? He’s also Muslim.”

Man: “We’re not in a hurry.”

(After I talk to the manager and take the couple’s order, another couple from a nearby table starts making racist jokes and tossing derogatory terms around. I tell my manager.)

Manager: “Hello, I heard there was a problem?”

Jerk: “Yeah, can you kick out those freaks? I can’t eat while they’re waiting for the perfect moment to set off a bomb.”

Jerk’s Girlfriend: *nods*

Manager: “First of all, you seem to have already eaten half of your expensive order. Second, I may not look it, but I’m also Muslim. Having said that, insult anyone else and we’re going to throw you out, after but not before making you pay for the meal.”

Jerk: “You can’t do that; I know the owner!”

Manager: “I know him, as well, and he would never associate with bigots like you.”

(The obnoxious couple were kicked out after yelling at our Romanian coworker because her accent was too thick. Her accent is anything but thick; they just looked at her name tag and saw a foreign name. The Muslim couple are now regulars and were blessed with a beautiful baby.)

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