Lindy West of The Guardian took it upon herself to lecture men on how to spend their time talking to (a.k.a. “pestering”) women.
If mirrors could reflect thoughts, Lindy’s image would look like a Jackson Pollock seizure-fucked Michael J. Fox on a table saw.
I was writing in a quiet corner of a Starbucks on Monday when a young blonde woman with a book took a nearby seat. She hadn’t even been there five minutes when a man, probably 20 years her elder and clearly a stranger, grabbed the chair next to her and started talking. About absolutely nothing. Dude literally opened with, “Mondays. The worst, right!?” It somehow got less interesting from there.
Cliché, I’ll give you that. But strangers, being strangers, tend to resort to small talk until they learn more about their conversation partner.
It didn’t matter to him that this woman’s response was tepid at best, or that she was busy reading – an act that explicitly says: “I am choosing not to be in this universe right now.”
And what, Lindy, are the actions that consent to existence in this universe?
Strangers are always minding their business and doing something with their time. It is impossible not to interrupt a stranger.
If she was talking to a friend, you’d be upset that he interrupted their conversation. If she was scribbling a reminder note to herself on a napkin, you’d be upset that he derailed her train of thought.
But even if she was sitting stiller than a statue frozen in a glacier, staring straight ahead, and doing absolutely fucking nothing until someone talks to her, you’d get upset that he was interjecting his company into her clearly estranged or meditative daily experience.
What will it take, Lindy? Should women hold up a sign that reads, “I enthusiastically consent to conversation with a man”? Should women only approach men from now on?
Guide us, O Mother Goddess.
The guy was friendly, gregarious, poised (as if he’d been through these motions before) and even though he didn’t say a single sentence with any substance whatsoever, his delivery was studiously, unimpeachably innocent. He couldn’t be violating anyone’s boundaries – he was being “nice”! What’s next – are the feminazis going to outlaw smiles!?
Wouldn’t surprise me at this point.
The woman sat through it, subdued but polite. So he took and took and took, as much as he could get away with. Eventually, she left.
Wait, so you’re telling me that she sat there like a posed cadaver, defeated, with her book drooping away from her weakening thumbs in response to friendly small talk? Even the most boring people I know back off when they detect a total lack of engagement.
You basically said this guy wasn’t totally boring. How did the woman leave? Did she just shoot up and march out without a word? Did she say, “Oh, sorry. Gotta do something?” You give about as much context as a jammed Pez dispenser gives candy.
How do we know the woman was uncomfortable? All we have is your word on that.
I was sitting there thinking about how women’s time is treated like a public commodity (yes, I am available for wedding toasts and bar mitzvahs) …
As opposed to a private commodity, when a man’s girlfriend walks in and tells him about all the stupid family gatherings she put on his calendar that he WILL go to if he loves her.
Excuse the tangent. I forgot that there are more horrible things going on, like men talking to women.
But am I the only one wondering why Lindy is not talking about why men did not approach her? Seriously. Lindy is the kind of person who would open right up with a story of a man rudely interrupting her “men suck” acid trip, but that story is nowhere in the article.
Did a strange man approach you, Lindy? If not, is it possible that men didn’t want to interrupt your writing? Is it possible that you’re being a presumptuous clown ass?
… when, coincidentally, another young blonde woman came and sat down in the same chair. And then a completely different annoying old dude plunked himself down and launched into – I am not joking – a 30-minute, condescending lecture about the history of sampling in popular music. It happened all over again. He wanted her attention, so he took it. Because there’s no law against talking to a pretty woman. And, again, she sat through it.
Anyone willing to sit listening for 30 minutes is either interested in the topic or so socially weak that they cannot assert themselves. I’ll assume that you and the other women are assertive, but I hope you are not then going to give me bullshit about women’s time being stolen.
Why is it that interrupting someone in a quiet moment, wilfully oblivious to their verbal and physical cues, is considered friendly, but rebuffing such an interruption is considered rude? Interrupting is objectively worse than not wanting to be interrupted. We only get one life.
Stop. You basically rendered impossible all communication between strangers, and therefore potential friends and lovers.
Rewind. Have you actually asked these women if they were uncomfortable? Have you considered that friendships start with strangers? Have you noticed that your article contains no mention of you being interrupted, even though you conveyed in your article that you were writing?
Pause. You’re entering a realm of pure speculation where reason doesn’t exist.
Eject! Turn back now!
Wasting someone’s time is the subtlest form of murder.
… Or keep playing, but I gotta tell you, this show sucks.
[The] New York Post ran a pathetically slobbering profile of one Brian Robinson, a self-proclaimed (and self-published) “railway Romeo.” […] Attention, Brian; Starbucks blowhards numbers one and two; men in general. Here is a thing you need to internalise: just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean you should do it.
Big talk from a woman wasting hard-drive space with speculation.
“Whatever I can get away with” is an inherently antisocial standard of behaviour.
Lindy has done every thing she complained about. She’s writes many words that say nothing at the expense of my time and is discouraging social behavior (which is obviously anti-social) because she can.
Please reflect on the profound irony before contemplating the dumber things to come.
It strips your partner of agency and precludes any possibility of genuine intimacy.
It’s statements like that that make me realize that I am a college student working 65+ hours a week for less than $15,000 a year while some fuck-knuckle gets paid to hallucinate at Starbucks.
Why would you want to have sex with someone who is just “letting you” instead of eagerly reciprocating?
God, she just keeps going, but apparently The Guardian never stopped to ask, “Lindy, have you interviewed the people in Starbucks?” Based on Lindy’s article, not everyone left.
I previously bitched about KSU feminist students attacking KSU Men even though they were within walking distance, but Lindy is in the same fucking room, and she still won’t engage people to learn more.
Are feminists and social justice warriors really this lazy, or are they so socially stunted that they have to compensate for their severe mental defects with a never-ending hero fantasy?
Why would you want to be tolerated when you could be desired? Who’s OK with having sex that’s only distinguishable from rape on a technicality? (Ooh, I know that one. It’s rapists.)
How the hell did we get to rape?! Slow down! Your petulance is reaching critical mass!
That’s why California’s new “yes means yes” law is so exciting – not because of its legal ramifications so much as its ideological ones. Shifting the way we conceptualise our interactions from “I should fulfil as many of my own desires as I possibly can without getting in trouble” to “I should go out of my way to make sure the people around me feel comfortable and respected” has repercussions far beyond the romantic realm.
We need a term for when a writer frames the discussion in a way where all the implied assumptions form an unspoken Gish Gallop. Boogeyman blitzkrieg? Poltergeist premises?
While you mull that over, sit back and appreciate what Lindy has done here: she flew off into a neverland of subtle forms of murder, the appropriation of women’s time, rape, and intrusive legislation all from looking at two guys talking to women in Starbucks.
I’m envisioning Lindy sitting in a corner booth, far from the sunlight, wearing a black beret and a scarf. She glares, nostrils flared, over the thick rims of her glasses and the top edge of her Mac toward a conversation. Having no experience with men herself, Lindy takes a sip from her white chocolate mocha (with pecans in it, for some reason) to calm her nerves. She then concocts a story about what the men and women must be feeling and what they intend to do.
But does she verify these claims by standing up, walking 10 paces, and asking questions?
Of course not. Lindy’s the polite one who would never take up someone’s time like that!
Now that Lindy is isolated from talking to strangers and therefore meeting new people ever again, she turns to a soulless editorial process that looks the other way while she accuses men of being anti-social and then takes an Olympic leap of reasoning to murder and rape that would make the Mad Hatter do a spit-take.
Michael Mark Cohen has a cleverly articulated essay on Gawker this week in which he declares “douchebag” the only effective signifier for a particular brand of toxic, entitled white male. […] Douchebag supremacy is built on a long history of getting away with as much as possible. […]
What the hell is douchebag supremacy, and why are you pretending that if it existed, humanity would tolerate it? And why are you citing Gawker? If you care about job security, this is a really bad time to do that.
[…] a woman once threatened him with mace to get him to stop talking to her. That’s how much it takes to stymie a douchebag’s entitlement. He seemed to find it amusing. Typical female overreaction. But the truth is, he almost got a face full of poison. He almost didn’t get away with it. And, some day, he won’t.
Lindy, stop your retaliation fantasies for just a second and listen to a man’s honest opinion for once in your miserable life.
Your paranoid, impish shrieks about clandestine malice are so shoddy and misdirected that you inadvertently wrote the screenplay for the next seven Paranormal Activity films. When you type words, the keyboard contracts Ebola and Jesus resurrects just to stick his head in a car compactor. Your article is a journalistic abortion. You are the anti-brain, sucking hope and reason out of the room and leaving interesting people to choke and die in the vacuum of utopian social justice memes.
Don’t take my dislike for everything you stand for to be bullying or harassment because it’s neither. I simply reject your bigoted worldview, and I think you should be ashamed for willfully ignoring common sense in the name of your dumb ideology.
If I happen to see you in a Starbucks, relax, I won’t talk to you. I’ll talk to a woman reading a book instead. Reading indicates to me that she takes in information instead of spewing bile into her laptop in a dark corner, which is a good first impression for a potential new friend.
Have a wonderful day. Try not to mace the next guy asking you for directions to the nearest gas station.