Monday, September 05, 2011

table manners for feminists

i am in favor of enhancing common social interactions with an air of graciousness so when i went to a dinner party recently, i brought a pink box of goodies from a bakery in my neighborhood as a show of appreciation for the invitation. our elegant hostess embodied a certain aloha spirit i found very endearing right away. her home was welcoming, and the food was abundant and delicious. a few nights after the dinner party, i sent a card expressing my sincere gratitude for being included in what was basically a lovely time.

but the pink box and the timely thank you card do not negate the fact that i went to her house for a dinner party and i called her husband a pig at their dinner table.

early on in the evening, as we sipped margaritas and snacked on artisanal marin county cheeses, our host was called upon by his wife to change the diaper of their precious little baby girl. when his wife was safely out of ear shot, my host smiled amiably and declared that he did not mind changing diapers because then he knew that at least one pussy in the house was clean.*

this amiable diaper-changer is a successful real estate type person in northern california who makes l.e.e.d. certified buildings, and has done extensive volunteer work with sustainable housing issues in third world countries. but just because he is an environmentalist and fair housing advocate does not inherently make him a feminist—and this was truly an illuminating moment of understanding for me. unfortunately, as the thought occurred in my brain, it also concurrently came rolling out of my big intoxicated mouth.  

i did not call him a pig in response to the clean pussy comment. i called my host a pig sometime later at dinner when he authoritatively and drunkenly slammed his fist on the table and declared that his wife would not have a natural delivery for the birth of their second child, which was her preference, but a scheduled c-section.  he found the labor and delivery process of their first baby terrifying; his wife suffered a brief period of paralysis in one leg after the baby was born. even if she is his wife, it is her body.

it is never advisable to name call, but copious amounts of tequila were involved at this point, so whatever filters i might have under normal circumstances were quite diminished. and to be clear reader, i wasn’t calling him a name so much as verbalizing a realization. please note that when i called my host a pig at his dinner table, it was not in an accusatory or unpleasant tone.  the delivery of the statement was at once revelatory and celebratory. it was an authentic light-bulb-moment and an amused declaration.  in fact, i am not really quite sure what to call someone who makes intimations about the cleanliness of his wife’s vagina in mixed company, and am willing to admit that pig may have in fact been the wrong characterization altogether.

regardless of the tequila and my tone, the comment was very rude. i would like to apologize to my host for calling him a pig at his dinner table. i can see how my behavior might reinforce notions some folks might have about feminists as humorless party poopers.** i would also like to apologize to my sisters in the struggle as well for making a bad showing, as it were, and assure you all that i will reconsider my relationship with tequila in mixed company.

it does seem fitting that we had carnitas.

 *reader, that is a direct quote....
** i thought the glory hole joke he made during dessert was actually really funny.