About a year ago or so, before Harvey Weinstein, and Louis C.K., and Charlie Rose, and that Today show douche Matt Lauer–who was seeking a $30M golden parachute for, in part, getting fired for showing his penis at work–I was in my therapist’s office grousing about something or other, and all of a sudden, I was like, “You know what it is? It’s just shitty guy shit. Just random, they don’t realize they’re doing it, shitty fucking guy shit.”
She laughed and was like, “You should do something with that.”
So yeah, that was almost a year ago.
Now that all this shitty guy shit and #metoo stuff is coming into the fray, I’ve put off putting anything down. But it keeps coming to mind. Wow, some of that shit really happened to me. And how fucked up was that? Very. Very fucked up.
Perhaps most of all, re-living that stuff in writing is painful as shit. As so many women know, once you bring it up again, you open yourself up to all kinds of criticism, scrutiny, and even, stunningly enough, new fresh, wonderful, personal attacks piggybacking on the old ones.
It pains me to say that I’m not surprised that most of my female friends and colleagues have endured some sort of physical or emotional trauma or assault in their lives. What’s more painful is just how acceptable it has been for men to act like that, get away with it, and often live incredibly rewarding lives while tearing down those around them in spite of their shitty guy shit.
The worst part? I know that most of these guys would claim to be “good guys.” Good fathers, husbands, employers or employees. No self-awareness whatsoever. How nice, how very fucking nice for you all to keep on, keepin’ on.
This is just a list, plain and simple, of the personal shitty guy shit I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Oh, and I’ve omitted the regular shitty guy shit that includes: Lying, cheating, stealing, and freeloading. To make this list you have to have been violent, abusive, or a total creeper. So gnaw on that for a little while.
1. My first high school boyfriend smacked me across the face when I told him I didn’t want to get back together — after he dumped me to basically fuck around with one of my best friends.
2. Same boyfriend also: Slammed me into a set of lockers at school in front of a lot of kids (no one did anything); and also pushed me down at a party. My head landed a few inches away from a rock or tree stump, I don’t remember. I just remember I’m very lucky it didn’t split my head open.
3. In college at University of Iowa, Iowa City, I noticed the same car following me on my route as I was running one Friday afternoon. At the end of my run, the guy pulls up in front of me. He has his pants open and is jacking off.
4. Same guy follows me again 2 weeks later. Also jacking off.
5. Also college: Random dude in apartment across the way is pacing in his apartment, muttering obscenities. It’s summer and our windows are open, and my blinds are slightly open. I’m back from work and want to change clothes so I shut my blinds. He says, “That’s right, go ahead and shut your blinds, you fucking cunt.” I am terrified to call the cops because this psycho obviously knows where I live.
6. My roommate, when I relate this story to her, laughs and says, “Oh, yeah, he did that to me, too.”
7. I am getting a ride home at 2 a.m. from a concert with a work friend (I am sober), when a large roving pack of drunk college boys are walking past my apartment. They start swarming around her car, and she and her friend are thoroughly freaked out. Instead of going around the block and waiting for them to leave, they scream “get out” and kick me out of the car in the pack.
Two guys stay behind. They are wasted and trying to convince me to come to the afterparty. I am terrified and trying not to piss them off, politely declining, saying I have work first thing in the morning (true) and to go ahead without me. One guy is huge, about 6’5″ and 250 pounds. They keep badgering me to come with them to the party, edging me closer to my apartment complex’s brick wall.
The big dude snaps, gets in my face, and yells at me, “You fucking bitch. I’m going to kick the shit out of you.” He continues to get closer and yell in my face, about how he is going to “kill me,” and “fucking beat me to death,” and I think, “This is it. This is how I’m going to die,” and imagine him pushing my head into the brick wall.
The other guy says something, and he stops yelling at me and looks at the other dude. I take off fucking running for my life and dive underneath a nearby car to hide. The two drunk dudes continue to argue in front of my building and search for me for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they finally give up and wander off.
I finally get into my apartment, and am too terrified to turn on the lights, and basically crawl on the floor to bed, where, of course, I do not sleep. The next morning, when my colleague asks how I “made it through that group of drunk dudes to my apartment,” I tell her to go fuck herself.
8. I’m happily walking home from class one day, while a carload of random frat boys catcall somebody, and when I look at them, they yell, “Not you, you ugly fucking bitch.”
This was all in Iowa, BTW.
9. In Las Vegas, as an entertainment reporter, I am constantly asked when I’m going to get a boob job.
10. I am also asked, inevitably when in line at airports headed back to Vegas, by regular Midwestern Joe’s in khakis with their golf clubs, if I’m headed to Vegas to strip.
11. In Vegas, while running one night with my hair up, I hear two pre-teen boys up the street start talking about me, “Is that a girl or is that a fag?” one says, total hate in his voice. “That’s a fag!” says the other one. “Let’s beat him up!” I take off running faster than I can ever remember because I know if they catch me they will either beat me up or worse. I tell my friend, a public defender, this story later that night. “Future clients,” he says.
12. In Vegas, also while running, I had more slurs hurled at me from moving cars than I care to remember. Also, quarters (which hurt from a moving car), and once, part of a Subway sandwich.
13. In Chicago, one boyfriend often gets drunk and berates me, calling me “ugly, fat, and stupid” on a regular basis. One especially lovely New Year’s Eve, he gets wasted and starts yelling at me for hours, and makes me sleep on the floor.
14. Also Chicago, there is a man assaulting women in the near North neighborhoods. After work, in daylight, walking back to my apartment from the bus stop, I get the weird feeling that someone is following me and closing in. I turn around and just fucking glare at him. The guy following me looks exactly like the police sketch. He and I give each other looks, like we know what’s up. And I just keep glaring at him, like, “Look, you can try motherfucker, but it won’t be easy,” until he crosses the street.
Whether it was him or not, I do not care. I am not willing to “spare someone’s feelings” at my own expense. I wait for him to disappear before I, again absolutely fucking terrified, go into my building because I don’t want him to know where I live.
15. Also Chicago, while walking to bodega to get milk, I accidentally witness a drug transaction in our back alley. The dealers, two dudes in a car, glare at me and slowly follow me in their car to the bodega and sit outside while I am in there for 10 excruciating minutes. Finally, they leave. I walk back to my apartment utterly terrified to go out for milk in the middle of the day.
16. I have no shitty man shit incidents to report from New York City. It was, oddly enough, the safest place I’ve ever lived.
17. Seattle: When I write pro-women, pro-equal rights articles for a popular tech news site, women and minorities are often called out in the comments by tech bros for being a bunch of fucking crybabies who get special treatment at work. Oh, and we’re also taking their jobs.
Are you tired yet?