So sometimes I run into bits of culture and have to ask the question: Is it worth it?

cut for length )
There's a lot they don't tell you about being a woman.

There's a lot they don't tell you about having this genital configuration, too, and I nearly confused those two, which makes me ashamed. My excuse i that I'm quite, quite, drunk, having had three pints of booze plus about ten vodka's. My typing is crap too, but thanks to spellcheck and editing you can't tell.

Anyway, to get back to the thing There's a lot of euphemism. I was told, for example, that I would have to be "more careful" as a woman. Nobody said "you're going to have to pay attention to possible rapists all the damn time". Nor did they say "and when you spot them you're going to be faced with some interestingly tricky decisions vis-a-vis your own personal safety balanced against the general good".

For example, tonight I was on my way home from The Corporation, which as you might be aware is a rock club. I'd left the place and was passing the Devonshire Cat (a pub not far from it) when a man I didn't know approached on an intercept course. I looked at him and he veered to pass behind me.
So far so innocent, but there was something odd about his body language. Ten or twenty yards after the intercept site I had a glance back, and realised he wasn't where he ought to be if he was genuinely heading that way. Another surreptitious (considering I'm drunk) glance confirmed that he was pacing me about twenty yards to the left, on devonshire green in among the trees.
Just so we're clear - this was no reason to panic. It was well lit, there were people around, and I thought he probably wasn't capable of beating me in a fight (partly because, hey, booze. Somehow I'm extra confident!).
But that's not the issue. By walking along the well-lit path I avoided the possible problem, so yay. But the possible problem remains in play, as a possible problem for every woman who comes after me. I didn't fix anything, I just stopped him from being my problem. Or to put it another way, I transferred him to someone else.
Part of me thinks I have had enough difficulty in life. But part of me thinks that leaving him in play for someone else to deal with is the shitty selfish asshole move. And there's the thing - nobody told me that being a woman would involve this sort of decision. Dealing with potential rapists? Yes, that was something that came up. Deciding whether to avoid the potential rapist and leave him active or to take matter into my own hands and put myself at increased risk (on a night when I'm drunk, and tired, and have already had someone cause some trouble in the club*)... that didn't get mentioned.

It's a whole new world. And it's one that would be better, if we talked to men about it.

*He was pointlessly aggressive over nothing. I laughed it off.
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Saturday, August 4th, 2012



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