I don’t want to cause alarm, but it turns out that despite years of battling for equality, there are some people in the UK who have completely missed the memo about women being independent, equal human beings.
I was in the pub on Friday with some friends, and one of my favourite boys. We danced, drank, flirted, and occasionally snogged each other like teenagers with a bucket of cider in a park.
After a couple of hours, a kind gentleman from the bar decided that the situation had reached tipping point. He could no longer stand by and watch the horror of the unfolding scene – what I can only describe as ‘some people having some fun that caused no harm whatsoever to those around them.’
With a slightly drunken leer, and eyes sparkling like those of someone who is about to make a truly knicker-wetting joke, he marched up and spoke to one of the boys I was with:
“You should control your woman.”
There was a distinct absence of laughter. ‘Control your woman’? Anyone would have thought that I was robbing the pub, or having a violent altercation with one of the other customers. But no – it turns out I was just dancing with someone who a passing stranger had identified as Not My Boyfriend. And he obviously felt that the boy he had mistakenly identified as My Boyfriend required help in handling what he perceived to be a crisis situation.
I can only begin to imagine what was going on in the mind of this gold-plated cretin. What is this woman doing – dancing? With a man? What if she gets pregnant? What will happen next? After all, dancing has been known to lead to so much more – women expecting oral sex, for example, or owning their own passports, perhaps even trying to have jobs with equal pay or something equally unconscionable.
omg it was just a joke lol
Perhaps I’m overreacting here – he was just trying to make a joke. He was a reasonably friendly dude and by the looks of it he mainly wanted to start conversation with a friendly-looking bunch of drunk strangers. I didn’t overreact and follow my immediate instinct – to piss into his pint glass then cackle like a terrifying harpy, but nevertheless I felt angry and uncomfortable.
Not only has someone told me that I am effectively ‘out of control’ for having the kind of fun that would happily be shown before the watershed, but he’s also implied that some other people see me with boys and infer ownership.
So instead of actually confront him about it, I thought I’d tackle it in the traditional nerd way, by retreating to the internet to have a bit of a rant. Because although this guy was joking, jokes like these are far, far too common for my liking.
“Blimey, she’s a fiesty one.”
“Looks like she wears the trousers in your house.”
“I’m surprised he lets you do this kind of stuff.”
One of the reasons I don’t have a boyfriend is that I don’t want any unrealistic expectations placed on me. I don’t want to have to remember birthdays, leave parties early, go to things I won’t enjoy, or not occasionally rub my crotch on people in the pub. In telling the boy to ‘control’ me, this guy reinforced everything I hate about relationships, and the expectations placed on you within them.
He also, even more hatefully, implied that once you have entered into a relationship with a boy, that boy has not only a right but a duty to control you. God forbid men should let their guard down in a public situation – the scorn of sexist pub men will be brought to bear on you if they witness your girlfriend dancing with another dude.
So in conclusion: no, I don’t want to let it go. Despite the no doubt side-splitting hilarity of this throwaway sexism, I’d urge sexist men to avoid ‘controlling their women’ – instead, why not learn to control your fucking self?