The Last Train out of Sydney

We are lucky to have the blogger from Fuck Politeness as a guest Hoyden this week.

Fuckpoliteness is a blog born out of frustration over society’s obsessive commitment to formal/semantic politeness – to the empty vision of ‘manners’ in which an insincere apology can cover the fact that the injury was intended, a linguistic ‘niceness’ which often hides darker currents of bigotry and violence. It is an attempt then to uncover the ugliness just under the surface of ‘polite society’ and to shout back that the bigotry it glosses over is unacceptable.

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Not so much a post as a quick complaint – catching the train last night to visit family I get to the top of the stairs, dragging an enormous suitcase, child in tow and get asked by a guy what station we’re at.

I’m a bit startled, thinking he’s missing his stop, but I answer and find a seat. I notice his friend when I sit down as we are separated by a few seats, and the aisle, but are facing each other and he’s looked at me. I immediately put my head down and I think about the reaction I’ve had to them. I have immediately gleaned that they are both drunk, possibly stoned (massively red eyes), tres blokey, absolutely enormous, “good looking” I suppose in that footballer type of way.

I don’t wanna make eye contact given my vast experience with drunken men on trains. Anyway, I dig out my book and I hear the first guy (not the one facing me) say “Stop staaarin maaaan”, but don’t really register or think anything of it. I look up at some point, and we make eye contact and I give the look – I’m sure women out there know the look, it’s well rehearsed – the ‘smile’ that is acknowledgement of eye contact, enough not to be rude, so as not to be challenging and provoke abuse, and not enough to encourage conversation.

I start thinking about my wariness and where it comes from (a good 20 years of awareness of danger, of random “drive-by” harassment in its various forms, but I wanna analyse whether my reaction is “fair” or not).

So I start thinking, Well, he’s totally enormous, like for real this guy could knock my teeth out without cracking a sweat. Then I think, well, that isn’t his *fault*, he can’t help being enormous. But you know, having been followed, having been hit, having read the rape stats and having had numerous unpleasant, though less physically violent interactions, I can’t “help” my radar going off, and I can’t “help” thinking of his size in this way.

I can hear the guys talking, and it’s all football and grog talk, but I decide I don’t mind the guy facing me, he shows some awareness of his surroundings etc and makes a few quips as to the other guys idiocy. Anyway, I’m deep in my book and I hear the first guy say “Stop starin man, you’re embarrassing yourself” and my eyes flick up and I make fleeting eye contact with the second guy who’s looking embarrassed and telling his friend to shut up.

I go back to my book, still not thinking much of it, when I hear the first guy (slurring and loud) say “Whaddya starin at HER for? She’s a [missed this word]. SHE don’t wanna suck no cock.”

Now, let me say I don’t know who the “she” he was talking about was. It was, by all indications, either me, or the girl sitting one seat ahead of me. I went back to my book as I was most certainly not wishing to make eye contact now. The second guy was really pissed with his friend and telling him to shut up as he was embarrassing him. It kept going for a while.

I don’t know who it was they were referring to, but it hardly matters does it? I mean “she don’t wanna suck no cock”??? WHERE do I start? Well, you know, I certainly don’t wanna “suck” yours you moronic arrogant jerk, in fact I wish it was detachable by velcro so I could toss the damned thing out the window. But “what” was it that either I or the other girl “was” that meant definitively that we didn’t wanna “suck no cock”? A lesbian? A mother? A brunette? An adult?

And WOW – imagine, if you can, what joys might lay in store for the “type” of girl, judged as wanting to “suck cock”. What stimulating and witty conversation she would have been treated to. What slow, drawn out, delightfully playful seduction. What romance and laughter.

It’s really bizarre to me, that it is this kind of blanket judgment as well, like you either like to “suck cock” and therefore will do it anytime, anywhere, on command, indiscriminately or you just don’t. I kinda wanted to point out that even for those who do actually enjoy fellatio, it isn’t like liking chocolates, that you don’t see one whilst strolling around and go Oooh, might just pop that in my mouth because it *is* a “cock”.

I know this is a story that doesn’t really “go” anywhere – but I think there is value in the telling of these anecdotes…I think when we don’t ‘tell’ our stories of this casual insulting sexism, it is easy to forget how frequent it is, and how frustrating and demoralising…it also gives a space in which it is safe to ‘talk back’. It is so frustrating to have to meekly accept the humiliation if you feel that to object could lead to violence or aggression.



Categories: gender & feminism, violence

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13 replies

  1. How does the old saying go? Something like – Men are frightened that women will laugh at them. Women are frightened that men will kill them.

  2. I kinda wanted to point out that even for those who do actually enjoy fellatio, it isn’t like liking chocolates, that you don’t see one whilst strolling around and go Oooh, might just pop that in my mouth because it *is* a “cock”.

    Okay, this made me laugh. Thanks. But sorry about the assholes. I miss having public transportation accessible to me, but I don’t miss this kind of shit that goes along with it.
    Caras last blog post..For the Yoko Fans

  3. Great piece. The chocolate line did make me think of that classic “man stroke woman” sketch on the subject though 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/embed/KlceEsEgtXE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
    another outspoken females last blog post..another reason to be a pacifist

  4. Giving credit where it’s due, at least what “she” wanted was taken into account…
    Time was I would have made a remark about any desire to “suck cock” going unfulfilled with that guy. I wouldn’t do it now for all the reasons you just mentioned. Not that I ever got myself into trouble that way. Is it getting more dangerous or am I just more scared? I suspect the latter, although I am not denying the danger.

  5. So the feedback is awesome given that my own blog is pretty small scale…BUT…the mens movement fellas are onto me. Today I realised someone had linked to me from an ‘anti misandry forum’ (Anti Misandry Dot Com – The Cure for Feminist Indoctrination). They’d copied and pasted a post I’d written: “Velcro attached penises – The Way of the Future” (following on from the thought contained in this post that I wished the munthead on the train had one attached by velcro so I could toss it out the window)…anyway…I have now been declared a ‘deranged feminist’. I’m rather proud.

  6. Congrats on your ‘deranged feminist’ labeling! 🙂

  7. Well you can understand their point when we complain about images of women chopped into bits and then have fantasies of doing the same to them.

  8. Heh, Deus ex Macintosh.
    This is a perfect discription of the mental tightrope we have to walk:

    I look up at some point, and we make eye contact and I give the look – I’m sure women out there know the look, it’s well rehearsed – the ’smile’ that is acknowledgement of eye contact, enough not to be rude, so as not to be challenging and provoke abuse, and not enough to encourage conversation.

  9. The written word is a tricky thing…I can’t tell if you’re teasing there Deus or if you’re being serious…I mean either is fine really… but the post in question was a clearly tongue in cheek ‘imagine if’ kind of post.
    I was clear that I was not advocating mutilation, or dismemberment linked to sexual gratification or anything which is any way equivalent to the sorts of violent misogyny to which women’s bodies are subject. So yeah, I’m interested in hearing how it might be construed that way, and have spent the day pondering if it could/should…but yeah…I dunno, from my perspective, the tone was clear in seperating it completely from any of the misogynist violence that is the subject of feminist critique…though I’m up for hearing the counter-argument.

  10. I think being attached with velcro is a bit different to being chopped to pieces. Although I wasn’t there, I’d imagine that if his penis was attached with velcro, he’s the type of guy who’d have it out waving it around in his hand, handy (sorry for the pun) for FP to grab and toss out the window. A little different to the Bobbit. However, I can understand your unease at the idea of someone reaching into his trousers and detaching the velcro attached penis – that is a whole different thing.

  11. Yeah, I guess I didn’t think through the ‘cons’of them being detachable…ugh.

  12. Sorry fuckpoliteness, I don’t know which smilies are empowered on here or I’d be more clear. As a woman I understand your point completely as I’ve been in exactly the same situation, just meant to make the point that dismembering (regardless of original intent) can look the same regardless of which gender it’s being done to. Having followed up an earlier post mention of OzCon Mark, Conseratives seem awfully literal-minded.

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