Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm not dirty; I'm just shedding my uterine lining

Making my monthly purchase of menstruation-catching supplies just now, I had a bit of a charged incident with my otherwise ultra-friendly Bangladeshi bodega man. I reached out to take my change and he said, "Sorry, I cannot touch. My religion." Now, I'm all for mutual respect and tolerance of difference, and I'm probably the last person to bash on someone for having religious beliefs of any stripe (even if I find them antiquated and sexist, which in this case I do), but I'm sorry, if you can't touch other people, MAYBE CASHIERING IS NOT THE PROFESSION FOR YOU. Morever, not only as a customer but as a human being, I object to being made to feel inferior and dirty due to something over which I have no control - namely, my being in possession of a vagina. Theological uptightness over women's bodies is something unfortunately well-enshrined in our social and political systems today, but I still find it shocking when I am reminded - explicitly or implicitly - that I should be ashamed for something my body has been doing as a biological expression of normal physical maturation and health since I was 12 years old.

I promise this will probably be the only post about periods, but maybe it shouldn't be. Why relegate something so common and indeed natural to the realm of secrets?

Speaking of bizarre male interactions, I was approached by a bro in the library today asking me not for a cigarette but for conversation about pointless shit that did not need to be conversed about. Some may call this flirting. I call it "Why are you talking to me can't you see I'm reading about the plight of the Chinese worker" or, alternatively, "This is a library have you been in one before or do you just play lacrosse." This incident was highly unusual given my tendency - which dates back to my early Horace Mann days - to completely frighten the type. It could be my volleyball calves or maybe my black nationalist sympathies, but I find that I have the unique power to at once mystify, frighten, and emasculate any man in a polo shirt. (Recordamos la cita del año pasado con Gallaboy, quien me preguntó "So, uh, when did you get turned on to this angry feminism stuff?" ) Anyway, the bro was forced to retreat after I (unintentionally, I swear! sometimes it just comes out!) shot my I-can't-believe-you-exist face following his comment about freshmen girls being "scaredy cats about walking home alone at night." Yeah, maybe they're scared because THEY COULD GET ATTACKED BY DOUCHEBAGS LIKE YOU.

We have a lot to do, ms. hooks. Chapter 5: Men - Comrades in Struggle.

[Photo ripped from]

1 comment:

  1. This is a gem of a post. I have many things to say about these two incidents, but will save my observations for our pow-wow this week. -Gaby