Holiday catch up Part 3… Mating season at The Menagerie

Happy New Year equality lovers!

I took a bit of a break from blogging over the Festive period for some total R&R and resolved to think only as hard as was required to maintain a quiet existence between my sofa, the park and the warm interiors of the homes of friends and family. However, as every woman will know, even the simplest of existences is gendered thanks to the pervasive sexism that has infected everything we see and do. So despite my best efforts to be oblivious here are some things that happened over Christmas that made me think like a feminist (Part 3 of 3):

3. Me and my man went dancing.

Boxing night is a fun night to go out for a drink and a dance in Belfast and Stu and I decided to venture to The Menagerie for some stonking tunes at Belfast Music Club (a great little night which I highly recommend.) I’ve quite a penchant for the beats when they’re right and used to spend lots of nights going out to see DJ mates play, regularly ending up on the dance floor with or without dancing buddies. So when we found the Boxing night queue to be hideous at the bar Stu was happy to wait in line for drinks and I was happy to throw our coats in the corner and get to it. Within minutes however it was like batting off flies. All kinds of weird drunk little men and boys would hover and nod and wink and then lean in to yell something completely unintelligible in my ear and wait for a response. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not the prize offering that night having not even bothered to change out of the lumberjack shirt and jeans I’d been wearing since Christmas Eve. There was even a hot girl next to me in a lace trimmed corset dancing like she thought she was in a strip club, complete with hair lifts every 30 seconds or so, but the big difference between me and her was that she was in close proximity to a cock at all times. Her boyfriend’s. It became apparent to me that the only criteria necessary for inviting harassment from all directions in a bar in Belfast is being alone.

Every woman I’ve talked to about this has some experience of the mating male moving in on the lone female, oblivious to her attempts to avoid eye-contact and seemingly immune to all the desperate negative energy being wished in his direction. I used to do the whole polite conversation thing but more recently I’ve figured, I’m too old to have to be polite to anyone who looks like I might have been their prefect when they were in first year. So on this occasion I typed “This is going nowhere. Go away” on the text editor on my phone, turned it around and smiled as nicely as I could. For me, there’s something in all this predatory stuff that is about the problem of male entitlement, an issue I’ve been thinking about a lot as major barrier to equality and something I’ll write more on later in the week. Betcha can’t wait.


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