An Unexpected Apology
This was going to be a microaggression. And then, unexpectedly, it wasn’t any more.
My husband plays board games with a few friends every week at a cafe. Last week, I had dinner with him beforehand and was still there when one of the other players, let’s call him Joe, arrived. Joe is in his 50’s, a geek, and a socially awkward gamer. He’s nice and amiable and fun to game with, but every once in awhile, his internalized sexism slips out in comments and jokes, and it can be awkward.
On this particular occasion, Joe made a quip about my husband tying me down and making me learn the rules of a game so I could play with their group. I laughed it off at the time, but it stuck with me for several days. I usually try to call Joe out on things like that, but the circumstances that day didn’t give me an opening.
Anyway, I’d just about forgotten the comment - things like that just melt into the background static of being a woman in a sexist culture - when I got an email from Joe apologizing for it. He’d been thinking about it and had realized that it had been creepy, and he was trying to be better about crap like that.
There is always more to learn and more deprogramming to be done, for all of us, but it’s nice to see someone take that first step, independent of any prompting. It gives me hope that we can all keep learning, and that one day, the cumulative effect of all that learning will result in a world where no one is ever made to feel unsafe due to thoughtless words.