My middle son is married and my daughter is no longer a teenager. Wow. It doesn't seem possible. Time flies, etc..

I'm sitting on the train home, trying to read my book. I'm tired, real tired. I skipped out on Spanish class, I just want to sleep and I have work tomorrow, early. She sat down next to me, too close, and started rummaging through her purse. I tried to ignore her, buried myself deeper in my book.

She fished a harmonica out of her purse, and started playing, quietly at first, then loud enough to be heard over the howling of the train over the tracks. I couldn't focus on my book anymore, but couldn't decide if I even wanted to. I pulled my hood down and stole a glance to my right. She sat there, red hair, black dress, playing the harmonica. Our eyes met. My eyes went back to the pages of my book. Generally, it's best not to make eye contact with strange people on the train. I could see a pack of Parliaments in her purse, in the pocket that was sitting too close to my leg.

By now, the whole train had gone silent, except for the whistling of the harmonica. We came out from underground, and the noise from the tracks nearly disappeared. The entire train watched her, transfixed, while trying not to make it obvious that they were watching. I looked out at the foggy outline of cranes in West Oakland, and abandoned any pretenses of reading my book. She stopped playing the harmonica, and began rummaging through her purse again. Tubes of lipstick tumbled out, and one rolled into my leg.

"Sorry," she said, "I'm trying to organize my purse."

I looked at her.

"It's okay," I said.

She was kinda cute.

"Does organizing your purse always involve playing the harmonica?"

"No, I just found it, I haven't seen it in forever. Usually, I'm too shy to play in front of people, but I just felt like playing it now, you know? I play the cello too, and I can play that in front of people, but not the harmonica. Are you coming home from work or what?"

"Nah, class."

"Oh okay. What are you studying?" she asked.

"Poly sci, I want to go to law school."

"I don't understand why you'd want to work for the judicial system, all they do is screw people over. I've gotten screwed over with a lot of stupid shit, and everybody I know has too. They're all corrupt."

"Maybe that's why I want to be a criminal defense attorney, maybe. Help people out."

"They're all corrupt, I don't know why you would want to do that."

I asked her what she did.

"Massage therapy. Although I don't know what I'm gonna do, I'm going home to paint my floors and then my hands will be all stained and I don't want to show back up at work with messy looking hands..."

"This is my stop," I told her, "What's your number?"

I fished a pen out of my bag, and tried to write it down on my hand. The pen ran out of ink halfway through. She told me some kind of mneumonic involving gravy, which I repeated, then tried to walk out the door. The door had already closed.

"You have to press it open," she told me.

I tried, the train started moving.

"Well," I said, "I guess I'm stuck on here for one more stop."

I found a piece of paper in my backpack and wrote down her number with a different pen.

She chatted and chatted, seemingly unable to be quiet. I listened, bemused. I stood up when I got to the station, told her it was nice meeting her. She told me to call her, I said I'd try.

Ten seconds later, she came running up behind me. "I almost forgot, this is my stop too, I probably wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't gotten off here."

I smiled, and told her bye once again.

I think I'll call. It takes a certain kind of crazy to play a harmonica on the train.

I backed into a priest last night…

Commence priest jokes…

Get your mind outta the gutter…

You ‘effin perverts!

It was with my car…

Cease and desist priest jokes…

Going about five miles an hour…

My car is fine….

So is his…

I think…

It was dark…

He said he’d let me know…

Sometime today…

If there was any damage…

I don’t think it was my fault…

We were both to blame…

Either way…

I’ll probably be making a small donation…

To the church…

Or the body shop

After all…

Better safe than sorry

Guilt is a funny thing…

OK, I got all worked up on October 8, 2007 about a misogynist advertisement that turned out to be a hoax anyway. It was pretty offensive, and I wrote about it. After doing so, I received a message from one of the writers here at E2 (I'm assuming it was a man who sent me the message, though I could be wrong) that read:

(redacted name) says re October 8, 2007: I spent 5-10 minutes beginning and backspacing over a message to you, I can't compress all of the myriad things I think are wrong with this writeup into this tiny little blab box. Suffice to say, if this is your idea of "really hateful stuff" I'm super-happy with how well your life is going.

And after I asked him to please explicate his frothing hatred of my post:

(redacted name) says re October 8, 2007: I enjoy dissecting ads also. Beyond that, I feel it is a critical thinkng skill critical to modern life, everyone should dissect ads. That said, I'd not have been able to summon the vitriol you were able to summon. To me the biggest offenders are the most subtle, the ones in you girly magazines you mention. This one is so blatant, so targeted... it's too stupid to be subtle. At the best it deserves the treatment given it by the blog you reference. They don't seem particularly upset, more bemused. The ad probably won't work, the only desired effect it is having is you and those bloggers and whoever else, talking about it.

And then:

(redacted name) says re October 8, 2007: Seriously, outrage? despicable? beyond the pale? It's a joke about geeks and sex, hardly the objectification of women that Clairol or Maybellene is guilty of.

I generally choose to be amused by stuff that explicitly objectifies women, because I realize that most of it springs directly from the hormone-addled brains of 16-24-year-old college students who spend most of their free time planning "Pimps & Hos" parties.

But seriously, folks, come on.

Not a single one of these objects could have been designed or implemented by anyone under the age of frat boys who snicker at songs like "Titties and Beer".

None of them. Not the urinal designed to look like a woman's red-lipsticked mouth. Not the toilet shaped like a dominatrix's headless torso so that you can piss and shit directly into your "Whip me, Mistress, and call me Susan" fantasies. Not the fiberglass casts of women's red-fishnet-and-stiletto-clad lower torsos bent doggy-style over sinks so that you can wash your hands while dominating an imaginary dismembered whore. And certainly not the urinal shaped like an upside-down woman's legs, helpfully spread so that you can piss into the hole where her vagina should be.

Seriously? Yep.

Maybe I should just laugh. Maybe it's just too stupid to be subtle and is therefore funny!

Or maybe it's sick. As in deeply, serial-killer-with-mommy-issues-level disturbed. As in, "I enjoy beating off to necroporn." As in, "Women are really much better without heads or with mouths that are open only as a receptacle for my bodily fluids."

From the blog that gathered these lovely images:

If you ever come across someone who questions why there's (still) a need for feminism, someone who suggests that sexism no longer exists or someone who asserts that it's time for a humanist movement to eclipse the feminist movement, just point them to this post. We've got women's disembodied parts being used as toilets in restaurants, on airplanes, in public fucking spaces, as if there's nothing wrong with it, and mounted disembodied breasts being sold as a gag gift as if there's nothing wrong with it. (It's a gag all right. I'm gagging right now.)

As I've said before: Telling a girl since birth that she is equal matters little if she travels within a culture that consistently sends signals to the contrary.

So by all means, go ahead and spend another 5-10 minutes beginning and backspacing over a message to me about how spoiled and silly a "girl" I am to be nauseated by this.

I dare you.

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