And It Must Be Said

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Battle of the Sexes

At this lovely college where I work I took part in a time-honored tradition – the day before V-day Battle of the Sexes Game.

Here’s how it works: Boys on one side, girls on the other. Questions are posed to the male gender regarding makeup, sewing, cooking, etc. Questions are posed to the females regarding cars, sports and fishing.

Girls win game #1, easy. Boys are angry. Insert pouty, mean, gorilla faces here. Eyes bulge, mouths are running. They are angry.

Boys win game #2. Insert clip of gorillas beating their chests, roaring to the ceiling. Victorious. Ahh, feel the beat of the testosterone drumline.

Girls win game #3. As we are playing best 2 out of 3, girls win hands down. Lots of little “Yeah! Good job! We won! Hurrah!” and toe touches. (Ok not really, we are sophisticated women and just gave handshakes.)

And then it happened. The point in the game where the “smack talking” and the sore-losing and the running of the mouth spoils my fun.

Boy yells out “Oh yeah? Well…well… 3 years we’ll be graduated and we’ll be doing the same job and too bad for you I’ll be making more money than you just because I’m a MAN! So HA.”

I know I shouldn’t have gotten so irritated. I really shouldn’t have. But the whole “Uh! He’s right and that’s so wrong and its so excruciatingly irksome to me and I can’t hand le it and Uh!” got to me. Sigh. He is a young, young college male and he has so, so much to learn. Still.

I can’t remember the exact wording I used in my response, but I do know that it was kind, smooth, and dry – like you’d expect anything less from me, right? It was something along the lines of “Right. Well, if you hadn’t have given us the right to vote in the first place, think of all the gender, race, name anyotheroppressedgroupyouknowofhere takeovers you could be plotting!”

I felt a little like I was on that scene in You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan talks about having the exact right thing to say and saying it….but then feeling terrible. Because a lot of people laughed and I shoved this resident back into his place and made my point but sent a wounding arrow in the process.

So here’s what I want to know. How do YOU respond to inane comments like that? Comments perhaps meant in jest, but that are a matter of principle for you. I feel like I’ve encountered it a lot recently. And please understand I am not trying to be the policewoman of the politically correct speech world – trust me, I say enough idiotic things myself. But I’m talking about ridiculous racial slurs, gender-effacing comments – things like that. Anyone found that formula to give grace and justice at the same time?