Mac’s wife, Molly, has two Dunkin’ Donuts near her. One is much easier to get to than the other. But she goes to the one that is further away. Why?
Because the guys who spend time at the nearest Dunks won’t leave her alone. They talk her ear off. And she doesn’t feel comfortable just telling them “I don’t want to talk today.” So instead of going to the nearby Dunks, she walks another block and a half out of her way. Except when Mac is with her. They leave her alone when he goes with her.
When Molly told me about this situation, I said, “You could do an entire semester of feminist theory dissecting that.” She asked me elaborate and I blinked and stammered. “It’s too complicated for right now,” I said, as we were getting the kids’ shoes on them after practice. I felt badly, but you try explaining complicated sociological issues while a bunch of kids howl around you.
I admit that this blog was started, at least in part, because I’ve been thinking about answering her. It’s taken me over a year to try to tease apart and explain all these issues in my head. They are interlinked and dependent upon one another so it’s going to take more than one post. Here’s the list of what I’ve come up with:
1. Why these guys insist on talking to Molly.
2. Why they don’t respect her cues that she wants to be left alone.
3. Why she feels like she needs to use “soft-no” cues.
3a. Why “not all men” is a totally invalid counterargument for point #3
4. The intangible costs of going out of her way to the other Dunks.
5. Why she is not harassed when Mac’s with her and why this is a problem
So, tomorrow I’ll do part 1: Emotional capital, pretty girls, and being polite.