My good girl training hit me upside the head

Dear President Trump,

The Universe is testing me, throwing me low, slow enormous balls and still, I’m missing them. Saturday night we took our best friend out for her birthday and after dinner we checked out the swanky Starbucks Reserve across the street. We weren’t in it for the coffee but rather for the spectacle. The bonus for me was that the place was full of beautiful mid-century modern chairs. We had the opportunity to check out an especially appealing low-slung chair with arms in a cluster of four, three of which were unoccupied. We smiled at the occupant of the one in the corner and sort of asked permission to invade his space for a minute. He was affable and welcoming so we cycled through the lovely chair and the unarmed versions. He chatted with us and so we all sat down and talked about the over-the-top establishment we were in, the weather, the football game.

When he set down the book he’d been reading, Laura checked it out. It was by Mark Halperin so she remarked on the trouble Halperin is in. We had to explain to the guy that numerous women had come forward reporting that Halperin had sexually harassed them. The guy laughed and said he has to watch himself on that sort of thing, that he can get grabby when he hugs women. And then he sailed on to how much that part of town had changed, how he’d been born four blocks away, etc. Laura and our friend continued to engage and I was polite, but I mostly shut down, replaying the Halperin-harassment bits over to make sure he had really said (and not said) what I thought he said (and didn’t say). I knew I should say something but another part of my brain was trying to sort out whether he was straight and single and might be a nice boyfriend for our friend. What’s with that? It’s horrible to admit this but my good girl, give-him-the-benefit-of-the-doubt training hit me upside the head. I didn’t even try to swing at the ball and instead gave him an unearned run. I don’t even know him, don’t owe him anything. I’m writing all this out because I don’t want it to happen again. I want to have the wherewithal to step up to the plate and at least hit a single the next time I encounter an imperfectly nice, sexist guy.

May we all be safe to push back.
May we all be happy to stand up for ourselves.
May we be healthy enough to form words into sentences when we need to.
May we find ways together to make inroads on oppression of all kinds.

Tracy Simpson

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