Last night I sat at a bar (my local) initially feeling quite at home with people I had known for over 20 years. As the evening progressed and alcohol consumed, I saw Joan of Arc at the end of the bar tilting a martini back while gazing with sad eyes at the Yankee’s game on the television. She glanced my way, raised her glass and gulped the clear liquid, spilling a few drops on her chainmail. She dabbed the substance with a white cloth bearing a red cross, wiped her eyes with the same material and vanished. I rubbed my eyes quietly cursing myself for drinking something other than scotch.
Sometimes I think I am so backwards and eccentric that I should never leave the house. Sometimes I think that human beings are so moronic that I must be on Candid Camera.
I find some forms of conversation so ignorant and morally corrupt that I have to get away from the center of it physically before I explode. I try to stay calm, witty and even jolly but my gut tells me that certain words said aloud are so powerful that they can hurt bodily. I can actually hear someone’s soul screaming in pain as if on a medieval torture device. Have we evolved to the point where we no longer need to physically torture each other because we can do it with words instead? I think so.
Then I return to the thought that I am too sensitive for human consumption. I have no business socializing with anyone but the elderly or the 4 legged. Am I so wrong to believe in the fundamental goodness of people? Are people so jaded that they haven’t a clue about how sad or bombastic they seem? My philosophical education may be limited but my spiritual one is not. Sitting next to a human in denial of deep emotional distress is tough, having them use that pain as a weapon is dangerous.
I wasn’t going to write about this event because I felt I should sit on all the psychic voodoo I experienced but in the light of day, with nobody but myself willing to take note of the disturbance I figure I might as well get it out of my system. Nobody seems to care anyway. So, later in the evening I turned to the handsome man sitting next to me. This guy is (was) no dumb-dumb, and I’ve known him for a very long time. Sure he has a wounded heart but I trusted his intellect and sensitive nature to turn the conversation around (ignoring the fact that he started it in the first place). This was not to be. I dug my nails into my hand in trying to keep my mouth shut at the sexist words spilling over the bar but I couldn’t hold my tongue once another man at the other end of the bar began to chime in agreement.
The topic had zoomed into everyone agreeing that women are statistically attracted to men with money and power, that it has always been so, and that it would never change. I can’t get on board with generalizing about human beings, I never can. Even if this stupefying topic is true, I prefer to discuss the exception to the rule. I prefer to talk about people who change the world for the better, not stereotype women back into a whalebone corset. And hey, I’m no feminist remember?
(Let me add that at one point I was speaking to a 28-year-old Greek man (boy) from Athens who said he didn’t care about the ancients. He actually said, “Who cares about Socrates, Pythagoras, or Callicrates? Who cares about the past? It is stupid.” I understood what he was getting at in that he feels his culture relies too heavily on the past -but seriously dude? I should have bolted right then and there but I didn’t, I just had to wait for the “statistical” assessment of women and men. I wonder what Joseph Campbell‘s take would have been…)
Eventually I stood up and said, “I can’t do this, I’m out.” Then walked out the door.
Once outside I took off my sandals and ran home, literally. I had to physically get away from the toxicity floating all around me. I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life, and having hiked barefoot earlier in the day, it wasn’t easy. There was no soft earth to carry me – just cold, hard concrete acting like defibrillator paddle’s on my feet.
I have a wicked sense of humor. I can be overly sarcastic and have had moments of deep cynicism in my life but I absolutely refuse to give into it body and soul. I will fight to remain optimistic, statistics and stereotypes be damned.
Richard rosetti said:
A friend of mine said “I’ll never meet a renaissance man at a bar.” ain’t that the truth.
Well it wasn’t my intention to look for one at the Pearl. Just thought I was amongst men more opened minded…LIKE YOU. But they broke the mold with you didn’t they?
Scott Lombard said:
So, here is my take on the “money” aspect… remember, until just a few short years ago, and I might add in many places still in our modern day world (ones the liberals like to call shining examples of how America SHOULD BE”… women are chattel. Chattel is a beautiful word… and to take a woman, the burden of a family, off the hands of an every so loving family, this chattel deposit came with a dowry. The morons at the end of the bar, probably forgot this, or have been brainwashed into the concept that marriage and “attraction” is actually about the fairytale story of true love. Actually, that concept only exists for a very few, a very few, in a very select minority… that even give Women the right to speak, much less drink in a bar with men. The notion that worldwide, Women even have a choice of who the are going to be with is absurd. Chattel does not decide where it goes, men do.
Now, in LA… where the world is a bad episode of friends… shallow, false, and plastic… the world is played by a whole different set of rules… most of the men are pussified by the likes of Demi Moore, or the other cougars… they believe that they don’t have a chance at the “hottie” at the end of the bar, because they are not rich or powerful… but, chances are they never tried to speak with her, they don’t have anything to say that is interesting, or they have to make excuses as to why they can’t score.
Here is my advise to them… stay poor, and pick up a guitar, sing a song to that hottie and they will get laid for sure… money or not.
I was told by one of the offenders that it was a topic which “transcended gender” and that it was a “fact”. To me it should have been perhaps an entry way to a deeper, more profound conversation, not one that stopped with the statement. There is so much fear involved that I believe you to be correct…again. Sadly, it is also true that in most of the world women are still treated as a commodity: should be seen and not heard. Personally and as a woman I felt under attack, drowning in a sea of ignorance, selfishness and cruelty. The topic is NOT one just thrown out at a bar – at least one that does not get a fight in return. I tried to explore the argument, was ignored, felt the walls closing in on me, and saw no assistance in sight…so I bolted.
I might add that the previous topic was about dating well beneath your age. As some of you know, I have a great deal of experience in this area (having dated a man at least 20 years older when I was a teenager.) I can honestly say that for the most part it does not work. Yes there are exceptions. But the elder of the couple has to have a sturdy moral compass and usually this is not the case. I was told I was wrong. I wonder how this man would feel if he found me in his 18 year old sons bed? (I should point out to my readers who do not know me, that that scenario would never occur.)
S. Trevor Swenson said:
Thank you for your comment on my piece “Stay Positive, People Hate That.”
I enjoyed this piece and I think anyone worth knowing goes through the kind of reflections you are going through. I lived in LA briefly in the late 80s, but didn’t care for it. It would be interestng to note the differences on malcontents and curmudgeons in NYC and LA. Keep on writing and keep on keeping on.
My conversations in New York haven’t been much better as of late. Although I will say that usually they are far more stimulating. I hate bashing Los Angeles because it is where I’m from, and where my Mom is from, but it sure has changed in the last 20 years. Chivalry is so dead it’s as if it never existed. I guess big city living takes it’s toll and initially Los Angeles (for me) wasn’t a big city. Of course Botox could have something to do with the dumbing down issue.
Scott Lombard said:
I would love to see revenge served on a well chilled platter. Oh, the look on his face… Priceless!