A small story:

I drifted into the office because I could hear Consort laughing and I heard a girlish voice. I assumed he was talking to Kid.

He was watching @AOC on the floor of the House, calling @RepTedYoho to account for his actions. Consort cheered.

I watched.
When she finished, Consort all but leapt to his feet, pumping his fist in triumph.

"Things are changing!" he shouted.

"Isn't it pretty to think so," I said, because I am mildly anhedonic and also female.

"She held him to account," he insisted, "This was historic."
"You know what the New York Times decided was historic about it?" I said, "That a young woman used naughty words in her office."


"Well, that's bullshit," he said.

"Yes," I agreed.
He continued, "But the fact remains, she confronted a dinosaur and made it harder for the next dinosaur to behave like that."

I thought about just nodding.

I breathed.

"Do you know," I said, "how often someone calls me a 'Fucking bitch'?"
"I...don't know."

"About every two days," I said, without having to think about it, because I know.

"You mean, in the world?"

"Not right now," I clarified, "Because I'm going nowhere. But on social media? Sure. And I promise you, most of those men are under 40."
"Any female human," I continued, "Has learned through painful experience that about 90% of the 'You fucking bitch'-es thrown their way are just assholes blowing off steam, but about 10% might be willing to escalate this."
"Even if you've heard it 25 times that month, that week, that shift, there's going to be a moment of assessment of risk. There will be a little shot of adrenaline. This starts when you're about 10 and I have no idea when it ends," I finished.
I thought about smiling and making a joke to lighten the mood.

I decided not to.

"Honey," I said, "I love you to death but I have to be honest; I am so fucking tired of men. I'm tired of having to filter every single decision I make through my safety."
"I'm tired of having my sentences cut off by men. I'm tired of hearing I'm up for 'the' job on a writing staff when we all know that means 'the woman.' And, honestly, I'm tired of needing to babysit men's moods to the extent that this had to start with me saying I love you."
Consort sat for a second, probably making very certain he wasn't cutting me off mid-sentence.

"That must suck," he said.

"You do not know and you will not know," I said, evenly, "But there isn't a woman alive who isn't wasting a good chunk of her brain on this bullshit."
"Yoho called her 'crazy' because that's what they do, what they've always done, they call us crazy to deny what we're saying. I wish I could believe it was nearly over," I said, "But I want you to remember that guy who shouted at our daughter."
When Kid was 14, she was walking down a quiet street.
A man drove past, slowed down and said something so violent, so terrifying that she ran the better part of a mile back to our house.

"He did it because he was a garbage person," I said, "But he also did it because he could."
"The thing you won't understand," I finished, "Is that, as a man, these guys aren't doing this bullshit in front of you. When men think predators are always predators, they fail to understand how a 'good guy' can also have a dark side. No woman fails to understand that."
Consort and I looked at Ocasio-Cortez's face, frozen at the place where he had stopped her speech - the speech the New York Times had framed as a way to amplify her brand.

"I'm...sorry," he said.

My first impulse to say "It's okay."

"Thank you," I chose instead.
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