Dear human embodiment of a yeast infection,
Coming home after a long day at work to a party that isn’t yours is rarely ideal, and this particular Friday evening was no exception. I arrived home from my shift selling mediocre vegan food to find my house filled with strangers. I’d had enough interacting with strangers for one evening, so I promptly shut myself in my bedroom, ready to enjoy a wild night of folding laundry.
Time passed and the party began to quiet down as people started to head to the bar. As I was folding my sweaters, I heard a knock on my door.
“Come in!” I called.
In walked my roommate, closing the door behind him. He was breathing heavily.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I’m so mad!” he said, voice quivering. “There’s these two guys that are still here, they’re waiting for their drug dealer or something, and one of them just started throwing the word ‘fag’ around.”
I should note that, at this point, if you are familiar with my roommate, you will hopefully understand why the casual use of homophobic slurs is personally offensive to him. And if not, hopefully you can use your deductive reasoning skills to figure it out.
I furrowed my brow in disgust, but unfortunately, the story wasn’t over.
“I asked him to stop, and he said, ‘Oh, my dad’s gay and he says it all the time, it’s fine!’ So obviously, I was like, um, no, and I kept arguing with him, and then he goes, ‘Look, the fag’s getting upset!’ So I had to leave before I got too angry.” Tears were welling in his eyes.
Horrified, I asked, “Do you want me to go out there and punch him in the face? Because I will.”
“No,” he said, tears starting to fall. “I want to be the bigger person.”
Even though all I really wanted to do was go out there and punch you in the face, I heeded my dear friend’s wishes. My heart broke for him, and I comforted him best I could until he’d calmed down. A few minutes later, he returned to his remaining guests, and I returned to my pile of clean clothes.
All seemed well for the next ten minutes or so. I was just arranging my newly folded shirts neatly on top of the jumbled mess that is my dresser when I heard my roommate shouting, “YOU ARE A STRAIGHT WHITE MALE! YOU WILL NEVER FACE OPPRESSION AND YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND!”
Sensing my time had come, I emerged from my cave and into the kitchen, where my roommate was arguing with your friend (henceforth referred to as Red Hat Guy, AKA RHG). “You can’t tell me my life hasn’t been hard,” Red Hat Guy was rebutting.
I marched straight up to RHG. “Nobody is saying that you haven’t faced hardship in your life. But none of those hardships have been a result of you being straight or white or male.”
“Okay, but if I were to go into Rogers right now and try to get a job, it would be hard for me to get a job because they’d be more likely to hire a woman,” RHG replied.
“That makes literally no sense,” I said. (Because it doesn’t. There is no evidence to back that up. Sounds to me like he tried to get a job at Rogers and they ended up hiring a woman instead of him, and he couldn’t handle the concept that maybe a woman was just, you know, more qualified for the job, regardless of gender. But I digress.) “And besides, not being able to get a job at Rogers is nothing. LGBT people go outside afraid of getting yelled at or beat up. Women get their asses grabbed every day-”
“Bullshit!” RHG interrupted. “When’s the last time you got your ass grabbed?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I shot back. “Once is one too many times. The point is, you’re never going to be threatened for being a straight white male.”
“Well, I’m feeling pretty attacked right now for being a straight white male.”
By this point, my roommate and I were laughing incredulously. “You know what?” I said, “Get the fuck out of my house.”
“Get the fuck out,” my roommate echoed.
“You people are crazy,” RHG said, shaking his head.
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR HOUSE,” we began to shout, clapping between each word for emphasis.
“Jesus Christ, calm the fuck down!”
At that moment, you stumbled back into the room. “Look, my dad says ‘fag’ all the time. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to say it too.”
“Oh, so you’re the guy with the gay dad,” I said, taking my best don’t-fuck-with-me stance.
“Yup,” he replied. “I got beat up all the time as a kid for having a gay dad, so you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Look, that really sucks and I’m sorry you had to go through that, but that was because of your dad, not you,” I explained. “It’s not your struggle to claim.”
“That’s fucking stupid,” you said, raising your voice. “What do you know?”
“Alright,” said my roommate, “I think it’s time for you guys to leave.”
“Nah man, that’s dumb. You guys are fucked,” you said.
And so, we revived our “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE” chant. As we clapped our hands in your face, you just stood there, leaning casually against our kitchen table. “Okay, fine, I’m trying to leave,” you insisted, “but I can’t find my jacket! I’m looking for my jacket!”
“No, you’re not,” I retorted. “You’re just standing there. Go find your fucking jacket and get out.”
You ambled away and returned with your jacket a minute later.
“Okay, now you can get the fuck out of my house.”
“Hold on,” you said, sidling around to the other side of the table, where another (female) party guest was perched, clearly stunned by the drama that had unfolded around her. “I just need to get this hot girl’s number first.” This, of course, meant that I was not hot.
“Oh, um, sorry, I have a boyfriend,” she said, clearly uncomfortable.
“It doesn’t matter,” you replied, brandishing your phone. “Just give it to me anyway.”
I’d already decided you were one of the worst people I’d ever met, so I had no problem telling you off even more. I commanded, “Actually, it does fucking matter, she said no. So get the fuck out.”
Apparently, this caused some switch to flip in your brain, because your emotional maturity then regressed to that of a 7-year-old. In a high-pitched, mimicking voice, cocking your head and flapping your hands in a way that I assume was meant to be derogatorily “feminine”, you repeated, “‘It does fucking matter, she said no! Get the fuck out!’ That’s what you sound like, you sound like a fucking cunt!”
“Do you think I give a single shit what you think about me?” I retorted, laughing. Shockingly, that was the first time anyone had ever called me a cunt to my face; frankly, it just amused me.
“‘Do you think I give a single shit what you think about me?‘” you shot back in your ridiculous “girl” voice.
We restarted our GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE chant, herding you towards the door. You continued to argue with us, as if we were somehow the unreasonable ones. “You are literally a piece of shit,” I shouted.
Looking over your shoulder, you called back, “Oh yeah? Well you’re ugly!”
Because that was a total #sickburn2k17, I immediately broke down in tears. I have spent every day since wearing a paper bag over my head, mourning the fact that you, a complete stranger who resembles Scumbag Steve, called me ugly.
Just kidding! Definitely just really wanted to kick you in the balls at this point, but unfortunately, you were facing away from me, so I settled for hammering you on the back of the head with my fist. Almost out the door, you turned around and thew what remained of your drink in my face. I recoiled in utter shock, and the door clicked behind you. Thus ended my personal interaction with you, the worst person I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.
I…just…where to begin? Where do I start sorting through this absolute dumpster fire?
Firstly, let’s talk about the whole “fag” situation. Hate speech and slurs are a tricky topic for many people to understand; truth be told, when my roommate encountered Red Hat Guy in the bathroom of the bar later that night, RHG tried to argue that words are just words, even trying to confirm with a random black dude who happened to be around that he’d be allowed to say the n-word if they were friends (to which the black guy shook his head and said “whatever, dude,” presumably having had enough white nonsense for one day).
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is nice in theory and all, but surely you wouldn’t argue that someone going around saying “Heil Hitler” is just saying words. Those words imply things. “Heil Hitler” insinuates “I think Jewish people are vermin and sub-human and deserved to be executed by the millions.” “Fag” is a word that denotes hate and violence towards the queer community. You cannot simply divorce a word from its social context just because you feel like it.
Furthermore, having a gay dad does not entitle you to reclaim homophobic slurs. If your dad is comfortable with it, then that’s great for him, but your dad is not the President of the Gays with the power to dictate all homosexual opinions worldwide. That word still holds a lot of weight for many people and reminds them of all the hate they’ve had to endure just for daring to be themselves. Contrary to what you told my roommate during your subsequent bar encounter, you didn’t contribute anything to LGBTQ+ acceptance by getting beat up at school. I don’t even think any actual gay people would argue that any bullying they endured in any way paved the way for future LGBTQ+ youth, at least not in and of itself, much in the same way that me getting aggressively catcalled and followed on the street does absolutely nothing to help the next woman who happens to pass that particular alleyway. Every time some asshole decided to feed you a knuckle sandwich, that sandwich was meant to be passed on to your father. Was it wrong? Absolutely. But you were collateral damage in the battle, not a conscripted member on the front lines of this violent, ages-old war. They were attacking homosexuality, not you, personally. LGTBQ+ struggles are not yours to appropriate.
I really don’t understand why some people just want to use slurs so much. Like most of us, I was self-admittedly un-PC earlier in life. I threw around “fag” and “retard” and “gay” like nobody’s business when I was 13, because 13-year-olds are certifiably the worst people on the planet. But then I grew up and learned that those words were hurtful, so I just…stopped saying them. I replaced them with other words that serve the same purpose without making large groups of people uncomfortable, and life went on.
I will concede and say that, if you just really, REALLY have to go around spouting homophobic slurs in your everyday life, we can’t exactly follow you around and stop you. But you were at a party at a stranger’s home, and the owners of the home asked you not to say it. I really, truthfully do not understand the logic of insisting otherwise. Conservatives are always razzing liberals for getting offended too easily and our desire for “safe spaces”, because the real world is harsh and all that (paying no mind to the fact that they are usually the ones making it harsh); which, fine, we can’t force the world to bend to our every whim. Although I will say that you seemed more like the sensitive snowflake here, since you just couldn’t stand the idea that a girl might just not be interested in you. But anyway, this was our fucking house. Are you saying that we don’t even deserve to feel safe in our own homes? Because that, sir, is fifty shades of fucked up.
The other layer to this whole situation is that you are clearly a raging misogynist. That girl whose number you so desperately wanted? She later told me how you’d been following her around all night, despite her resistance, hitting on her and groping her, which is pretty ironic considering your friend’s insistence that I was bullshitting my claim that women have need to fear sexual harassment on a daily basis. The fact that you continued your pursuit despite her firmly telling you “no” is explicit evidence of your entitlement and your flagrant disregard for women’s agency.
And then, when I had the audacity to stand up to you, you immediately resorted to mocking me and calling me a cunt and ugly. This speaks to the societal trend in which women are constantly undermined by insulting their appearance or writing them off as bitches. I can guarantee that if you speak to any woman ever, they will have at least one story about rejecting a dude or being less than polite to a dude or disagreeing with a dude, and that dude responding by calling her fat and/or ugly and/or a bitch/cunt. Just ask everyone’s best friend, the 45th President of the United States:
During what was probably one of the most important public appearances of his whole life up to that point, ol’ Cheeto McDorito-face chose to interrupt and dismiss his female opponent with a tasteless insult, rather than a) letting her finish and/or b) providing a worthwhile rebuttal.
This whole “insult and dismiss those who disagree with him” approach is obviously a favourite tactic of Trump and his ilk; in response to the Women’s Marches earlier this year, which saw record-breaking numbers of women and allies take to the streets in protest of Trump’s election, a Texas judge took to Facebook to express his astonishment that Trump had gotten “a million fat women out walking.” Trump has responded to multiple sexual assault accusations by saying that the women were apparently too ugly for him to want to touch them. Countless women of various professions are brushed off with petty insults daily. Basically, it’s a thing. You’re not being original or uniquely hurtful. We’ve all kind of steeled ourselves to it at this point. Shockingly, I have managed to find the will to live despite your claims that I am ugly and a cunt.
Because I generally surround myself with progressive people who aren’t human manifestations of annoying genital afflictions, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and pretend that people like you only exist as an abstract concept, and not as people who likely regularly pass me on the street. You were born and raised in Toronto by a gay father; one would tend to assume that you’re, you know, not a piece of trash. Sadly, you and Red Hat Guy gave me a much-needed reminder that society is still light-years away from a utopia of acceptance.
In hindsight, I’m mostly annoyed that I didn’t have any better comebacks; my strongest arguments are always made in writing, when I have the time to thoughtfully compose and edit my thoughts, rather than those thoughts getting flooded with adrenaline. So, I will say what I wish I’d said to you that night: You, sir, are a fucking loser. You are a sad waste of space. You are going to go nowhere in life and you will likely die alone. And, while I’m speaking retroactively, I will tell you that to this day, my greatest regret is that I did not kick you in the balls. And mark my words, if I ever see you again, I will kick you in the balls so hard that they disappear up into your body and out of your mouth.
Also, I hope you get hit by a bus.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Pink-Haired Feminist Bitch