December 29, 2007

The five-percent nation of numerical disadvantage.

Last night I found myself suddenly contemplating the question: what exactly do you say when, across a bar table from you, a member of your party tells his sister to "shut up, slut"?

I had accepted an invitation to hear some music and have a drink with my co-worker, who is adorable, bubbly, happy, outgoing, popular, and about twenty-nine times cooler than me by most people's reckoning. Her roommate's friend, or maybe her roommate's friend's friend, was playing at the White Eagle, and her cajoling and the fact that it was five minutes from my house convinced me to tag along. So it was me, my co-worker, and a respectable crowd of her friends of whom I'd met one before.

The women were stylish and cheery and drunk and, every one of them, graciously tolerant of the fact that the two men in the group were acting the perfect, stereotypical, petulant uncivilized man-child. The women chatted and drank and made New Year's plans, and the men threw food and grunted that the music was "gay". They squinted uncomprehendingly at a tasty happy-hour hummus plate and announced (as if it were of tremendous import) that they weren't touching it. They pretended to simultaneously hump my co-worker's roommate, and, yes, they addressed her as "slut". Twice, actually, and she herself responded with the resigned stoicism of the longtime bullshit recipient. The first time, my co-worker tried to rally with an indignant retort, but it got lost in translation between her alcoholic haze and theirs and the conversation simply moved on.

By the second time I had acquired an ally in the form of my co-worker's classmate, who was interesting and friendly and not totally smashed, and I was talking to her and trying to ignore the boors across the table. Because of the time it took the remark to penetrate my tuning-out efforts, and because I had already been established as that one uptight dork who doesn't think much of the group nor they of her, and because my general astonishment didn't allow me to think of any responses more likely to succeed or less likely to start a fight than, say, "do not ever fucking do that again", I more or less did nothing. I directed a generally appalled look at the woman next to me, who returned it, and we kind of... let it go.

The point I am considering today is that now, sober, removed from the awkward vibe of the evening as a whole, I still cannot think of a single response. Nothing witty, concise, forceful, and/or persuasive is coming to mind. Really, it's all blank. So, you know, purely hypothetically because we know nobody else in the world acts like this and the situation just couldn't ever happen again... what would you say?

Maybe I'll ask these fine folks.

(Edit: fucking hell. Cementhorizon's comment engine is apparently down again. Please save your outrage, if indeed you have some, until this nonsense is resolved.)

Posted by dianna at December 29, 2007 04:10 PM