I had a man at work a few days ago give me a compliment that was almost fine. It was weird, but it was fine. Then it led into my favorite wtf conversation I've ever had about social inequality. Which, wow, that sounds terrible, I wouldn't read that. But you should. Otherwise why the balls did you come here?
He calls himself Big Bill--because apparently that's what all of his ex-girlfriends have called him. Lol, casual big-dick joke. He's in his sixties, maybe his seventies. So addendum: Lol, casual-almost-a-century-old-but-also-big-dick joke. He told me that I was the prettiest bartender he'd ever seen. That was nice. Then he told me this:
"If I was a hundred years younger, I'd ask you out on a date. And we'd have a good time, too."
If he had stopped at him asking me out on a date, it would have been sweet. Strange, because what do you say to a stranger who says that to you, but sweet. What got me was the second part of that, when he said that we'd have a great time. What part would be great, the part where he's asking me out? I'm sure that'd be fun for him. Unless I say no, which didn't seem to be an option in his mind. I almost said something about it, about how he'd be lucky if I said yes, but I just gave him his Bud Light and went about my business.
His friend, a bit older than he was, made a comment about how different things are today than they were in the 50s. He talked about how dating was different, how the ways that kids have fun today is different, and how things are not as good as they used to be.
"I wouldn't say that," I said.
"No, it's true!" he said. "Things were much better in the fifties!"
"Oh, yeah?" I asked.
"Trust me," he said, "you would have loved living in the fifties, it was way better."
"Yeah, for you!" I laughed. "You're a white man. It was probably fucking great for you."
His answer was awesome.
"What, are you black or Indian or something?" he asked. "Why would it have sucked for you?"
I was so not expecting that response that I had none to give. All I could do was laugh some more, because that was the most balls-out clueless thing to say. I was not alive in the fifties, obviously. I was barely alive in the eighties. But the internet provides some insight as to the status of women back in this supposed golden age, and we all know that the internet never lies.
My parents were born in the fifties (don't tell my mom I told you), and my mom makes coffee for my dad every morning for work because he has to get up at the asscrack of dawn and she doesn't work anymore. What a tender gesture of love; my dad recognizes this and does not complain about whatever brand of coffee she chooses to buy because coffee is coffee at 5:30 am.
If this were still the 1950s? Well...
But no, being a woman was totally great in the fifties. Just ask these guys:
"You don't know what you're talking about," Big Bill said. "You weren't there."
"No," I conceded, "but if I was, I'd probably be married with six kids by now."
"Well, how old are you?"
"Twenty-five next month."
Neither man disagreed.
"Yeah," I said, "I do not want kids anytime soon."
Oh, boy. That statement was a big hit.
"You don't want kids?" Big Bill's friend asked. "I don't believe that."
"Maybe someday, but who knows."
"Are you married?"
I laughed. "God, no."
Big Bill's friend told me about his daughter, who had never wanted kids and always said she wouldn't have them, even though she was married. Then she accidentally got pregnant, and, "Oh, boy, the light of her life those kids."
"Good for her," I said. "But not for me, at least not right now."
"You don't know what you're talking about."
There's a lot of obvious bullshit that goes with him saying that, but I told him, "I know that I'm a twenty-five-year-old part-time bartender living with my parents and a fortune's worth of college debt."
Apparently, unpreparedness for motherhood does not mean that I am unprepared to be a mother.
"You'll change your mind," Big Bill said.
"Well, till then," I said, "no fucking thank you."
They laughed, and I was able to escape to a different side of the bar where guys weren't telling me how women's history is all pointy bras and sunshine, and how I need to have kids to be happy. I realize that that kind of thinking is damaging to society...when it's in someone who is going to be alive during the next several elections. I don't think I'll have that problem here. So I was comforted by the fact that they were not saying these things out of malicious intent, just home-bred ignorance. They were just speaking their minds, not attacking me.
And their tips. I was also comforted by their tips.