men in bars
this from cadiz is terrifying. and it could happen to anyone. i know that i've nodded off a few times while driving. found myself closing my eyes. i'm so lucky that something like this has never happened to me. (and don't even get me started on how, in high school, i used to drive into the city for operas and full on change into dresses and strap on heels and put on makeup while driving on 290 west. jesus.
i was sitting at the bar at marea, getting my fusilli fix, when the man next to me started chatting with me. he was from majorca, some finance minister or something. we were talking about his island and travel in general. i'm always meeting strangers. he mentioned his wife and children, so (presumably) i wouldn't have to worry about him thinking that anything romantic would happen. about halfway through dinner he asked how old i was. then he asked if i was married. i said no. and just like that, the tone of the conversation shifted. "oh, such a shame! you need to get on that because you're getting old and need to worry about having children."
um, excuse me?
"oh, actually, i don't have to rush. i'm not interested in having children."
the look of utter shock, SHOCK registered on his face. then it softened, "oh, you'll change your mind."
"no. no, i don't think i will."
"yes, you will"
"no, i won't"
"you just don't know it yet."
"i resent you acting like you know more about my body and my life ambitions than i do."
"you're young, that's all"
"but not so young that i don't need to worry about my eggs dying, apparently."
it went on and on like this. i just reminded him that he knew nothing about me and that he could think whatever he wanted but that he was wrong. a few times he acquiesed and leaned back and in a way that was so placative and condescending he'd put his hands up in a surrender pose and say, "you're right! you're right!" and i'd say, "i know." but then he'd say, "but in 1000 years, the world will be changed by my progeny, not yours." i responded, "i'm okay with that." "but you need to continue your lineage" "i need to do no such thing."
this is a fancy restaurant. people talk in hushed tones. but i found my voice rising to the point where, having asked for my check before i'd even finished my $22 glass of sauvignon blanc, saying something to the effect of, "you're serbian and you're a man, so i get that you think you're right all the time. but this is not about you, not everything is all about you and what you want and what you think."
to a stranger. at a bar. i've known many serbian men in my lifetime and they've all been of that mold. infuriating to argue with, completely condescending. i started to write him off as just a cultural oddity. but it was frustrating all the same. there's nothing like a man, treating a woman like a silly little uninformed thing, for disagreeing with him. And here I am, racial profiling out of anger.
he kept saying, "i'm only saying this to you because i'll never see you again." and i kept thinking, "well, that's just as good a reason to NOT say this to me." and i also thought about how small this world is and that he'd sealed our fate such that i'll absolutely run into him again. maybe it'll be on a future trip to greece. maybe i'll be right back where we started, at the bar at marea.
god knows that if i see him, i'll hide.